News

Opt-in e-mail getting rave reviews

2003-06-11
Toronto Life finds strategy pays off with more clients, extra ad revenue.

By Andre Mayer,

Excerpts from The Globe and Mail, Wednesday, June 11, 2003

“Direct e-mail marketing is probably the most cost-effective way to bring qualified consumers and qualified prospects to your Web site,”
When Toronto Life launched a more interactive version of it Web site in late 2000, it knew that it could rely, to a certain extent, on the magazine’s brand recognition to appeal to Web users. But the site’s managers also knew they had to show more initiative to increase the size of their audience and establish a cohort of advertising clients.

Toronto Life designed an opt-in e-mail campaign, offering visitors incentives to sign up for regular, direct mailings supported by ads, If a visitor entered a contest on the site, for example, they would be asked whether they wanted to receive a weekly e-mail newsletter.

Last spring, the number of Torontolife.com e-mail subscriptions hovered around 16,000; now the site boasts close to 23,000.
The site’s success with permission e-mail – as distinct from unsolicited commercial e-mail, or spam – is just one example of how this approach is generating substantial ad revenue for web publishers.
“We probably see more revenue come from the newsletter than we do from the actual site,” Mr. Turner (advertising, marketing and promotions co-ordinate for Torontolife.com) says. “It’s a perfect opportunity for advertisers, because it’s such a targeted market.”

“Direct e-mail marketing is probably the most cost-effective way to bring qualified consumers and qualified prospects to your Web site,” Mr. Turner says.

CHUM Ltd., which owns and operates MuchMusic as well as news stations including CITY-TV in Toronto and Vancouver, has found great use in opt-in e-mailing. In 1999, MuchMusic began sending out month e-newsletter – filled with music news – to fans. With a subscriber base of between 50,000 and 60,000 people, mainly teens, the Web site recently changed its offerings by giving users the chance to subscribe to a daily e-mail, a weekly email and an e-mail that announces new contests.

CHUM also uses permission-based e-mailing to reach news junkies. At Puse24.com, users can subscribe to breaking news or previews of the six o’clock news broadcast. More than 10,000 people subscribe to Puse24.com updates. “We say a huge spike in traffic when we launched the news bulletins”, Ms. Hale (managing director of CHUM Television Interactive) says.

“We’ve established a strong presence on-line, and we’ve continued to expand how we communicate with our audience in different ways,” Ms. Hale says. “E-mail was a different way to reach out to them. It sits in their inbox instead of them having to come seek us out on-line.”