I turned to one solution - Vertical Response, that I was familiar with, and yes, they have a free trial. I know there are others - eROI, Contant Contact, and so forth. What follows is a step-by-step through the process we undertook to launch the campaign, and just how easy it was - save for gathering the list of people to actually send it to, more on solutions for that later.
So, here we go - promoting the website launch.
(Continued after the Jump)
Ok, so then, what's with all the companies selling lists? Do you really need to use them? Are they worth it? In a word - YES!
Consider this - Adbase (information here) has multiple versions for artists, from Editorial, to Regional, to Standard, to Premium. And, if you click here, you can request a free trial to give them a spin. We are working on a review of their services, as comprehensive as this one. AgencyAccess has a free trial too, to check that offer out, click here.
One of the things that struck me in preparing lists from scratch, was how much labor was involved, and that was just collecting and concatenating the information, and that information is static, and does not include any of the time maintaining your list. Let's say an annual subscription to AdBase of AgencyAccess is $700. At first blush, that sounds like a large amount of money - in fact, it probably sounds like a deal-breaker, but it shouldn't be. Back when we wrote about Mastheads.org, (Getting Clients - a few options, 7/7/08) there was plenty of suggestions at the value of their $24 offering. Nelson Nunes, founder of AdBase wrote about them at the time:
Mastheads.org is good if you are only interested in getting a few names off of a select number of mastheads. If you need to create or update a mailing list for direct marketing purposes, you would still have a considerable amount of work to do. That is, you would still have to analyze the masthead to determine which contacts are of interest to you (i.e. involved in selecting a photographer), enter all the information into a database and double check every piece of information to make sure you didn't make any entry mistakes. The first time you do this, you would also have to check that the address provided in the masthead is the correct address for the contacts of interest to you as generally the contact information provided is for the advertising sales department.And that brings up a much more critical point - the cost of list maintenance. I spent hours and hours, and hours putting my own list together, and even then, how could I be sure that "Liz Smith" and ClientCompany is "email@example.com", or is she "firstname.lastname@example.org"? and do I want to be the one doing all that work for just one list, not to mention all the work to check and re-check who is now at what company? Nope, I don't. Nunes points out, specific to pulling information from just editorial mastheads:
This might make sense if you are a photographer that works in a very specific niche and only targets a handful of magazines. Even then, the value of Mastheads.org is not clear as you would likely want to subscribe to those magazines to keep on top of what photography is being used. For any photographer doing more general work, the amount of effort required to keep a mailing list up-to-date using mastheads, whether from Mastheads.org or directly out of magazines, will quickly add up to much more than the cost of a subscription with a service like ADBASE.
For example, say you can scan through a masthead every 5 minutes (which is aggressive if you include double checking and breaks -- it's pretty tedious work), that's 12 per hour on average. If you have a list of 600 magazines, that will take about 50 hours. Even if you have an assistant working for only $10 per hour, that's more than the cost of subscribing to a full-year Editorial Edition from ADBASE that also includes book publishers. Now that's for only one update. If you plan to send out additional mailings throughout the year, you will have to update the list again costing your more time and money.But, this isn't about Mastheads (read the previous piece for more information on them), it's about proving the value in preparing and maintaining the list. If you consider a list is $700 a year, that's about $60 a month so that you always have a ready and up-to-date list of e-mails, and then there's a nominal charge per 1,000 e-mails as well. And, these are qualified e-mails too.
So, it seemed to me, after the extensive amount of time I spent preparing just 1,100 e-mails, that using a pay service with tens of thousands, where they've done all the hard work of validating e-mails, and organizing them, might just be a far far more effective and efficient (and time-saving) way to go. To that end, as I noted above, we're working on an extensive review of adBase, and hopefully AgencyAccess too.
~ Marketing 201: AdBase - A Timesaving and Valuable Tool, 11/5/08
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