October 21, 2004, 12:00 AM

Maps.com returns to e-mail marketing after 3-year hiatus

Maps.com abandoned its e-mail marketing campaigns three years ago, after it realized that its domain name was more than sufficient to bring in customers. Now it’s bringing e-mail back to tell people about it’s expanded products and services, it says.

Maps.com abandoned its e-mail marketing campaigns three years ago, after it realized that its domain name was more than sufficient to bring in customers. Now it’s bringing e-mail back to its marketing strategy as it seeks to tell people about its expanded products and services, president John Serpa tells InternetRetailer.com.

“We ran our last e-mail campaign in 2001,” Serpa says. “We haven’t needed it and we haven’t had to spend marketing dollars banner ads. We’ve just focused on search engine optimization for natural search, but now we feel it’s time to revisit that.”

Maps.com faces competition from the likes of Mapquest.com and Yahoo, which in a recent Google search for “maps” placed first and second, respectively, in natural search, followed by Maps.com.

Maps.com, meanwhile, wants to tell consumers as well as businesses that its range of products and services go beyond those of its competition. Having started in pre-web days as Magellan Geographix, a provider of cartographic services, Maps.com retains its map-making business for sales to businesses and schools as well as to consumers.

While Mapquest.com lets users print out directions between two points at no charge, Maps.com enables its paying customers to print out a map route that shows the optimal way to travel to up to 18 different points, Serpa says. Maps.com users can also call up and print a map that will highlight the position of as many as 100 addresses.

When Maps.com last e-mailed its customers, it built up an e-mail address list by simply placing a sign-up form on its web page. Now, with 2 million visitors per month but in a more competitive market, it will place the e-mail sign-up offer on its home page along with the chance to sign up for a monthly raffle for a free globe or world wall map, Serpa says, adding that once users sign up for e-mail, they’re eligible to win each month.

E-mail recipients will also receive a newsletter that offers geography trivia games as well as information on Maps.com’s products and services, Serpa says.

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