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Janet Roberts

A Rich-Media Lesson from Christina Aguilera
By Janet Roberts

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Yes, you read that right. No, this isn't another April Fool's Day Ezine-Tip. Christina Aguilera, the barely-clothed pop singer, can teach you a thing or two about rich media and email effectiveness.

That is, the people who managed her recent email-marketing campaign to promote her newest CD, "Stripped," passed along a few lessons they learned from that campaign, which netted a 40-percent pass- along rate but a conversion rate of 0.5 percent.

With rich media's effectiveness being confirmed in recent studies, such as the one DoubleClick released this week, more email marketers and publishers might be willing to consider using it.

As with any new technique, though, rich media might be able to boost a campaign, but you still have to get the fundamentals right.

The Background:
In October, Aguilera's label, BMG, emailed a rich-media email message to the 313,000 addresses of people who signed up for her mailing list. The message included a video clip of Christina singing "Dirty," a song on the new CD, and a request to buy the new CD online before it went on sale in stores on Oct. 29. The campaign cost about $10,000.

The Format:
BMG, which used the rich-media promotion style for its biggest names, says the following format is the most effective: Place the video clip at the top. Put a forward feature in the middle -- for the Aguilera campaign, anyone who forwarded the email entered a contest to win a signed poster. Put the call to action -- the request to buy the CD -- at the end.

The Results:
At first glance, the campaign looks like a big success. Of the 313,000 who were sent the message, 30,972 opened it, and 20,000 played the clip. About 40 percent of those who opened the message forwarded it on to someone else, and 2,581 of those recipients opted in to the mailing list. (The company didn't say how many times the clip was played in forwarded emails, how many addresses bounced or how many recipients unsubscribed.)

A BMG marketing executive crowed about the open, pass-along and opt-in results in a recent story on DIRECT Newsline, an email newsletter covering print and online direct marketing. But, a few paragraphs later, he also bemoaned the low conversion rate -- the number of people who bought the CD based on the email -- of 0.5 percent, when their other rich-media campaigns returned rates of 1 percent to 3 percent.

He blamed the low rate on the list quality. The label didn't email the list all that often; so, it had a lot of bad addresses or people who weren't interested anymore.

In other words, "Dirty" wasn't just a song title.

Having a clean list is a fundamental part of email publishing. The video clip might have pulled in a few extra sales, but boosting the list quality by regular cleaning could make the conversion rate really pop.

P.S.: What April Fool's Day Ezine-Tip, you wonder? Here it is.

Ezine-Tips for January 30, 2003

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