April 21, 2005, 12:00 AM

National Geographic boosts lists size with tools from CheetahMail

The size of National Geographic’s 13 e-mail lists – including an event and offer alert from its online store -- are up anywhere from 13% to 115% since it implemented services from the e-mail provider last August. Click-through rates are up, too.

National Geographic has seen the size of its e-mail lists climb anywhere from 13% to as high as 115% for its 13 e-mail lists since implementing the e-mail marketing services of CheetahMail last August. National Geographic switched from another e-mail services provider in an effort to get a higher level of reporting on e-mail performance, clean up its lists, and make its e-mail program a ore streamlined process, says a spokeswoman.

National Geographic`s lists include weekly, monthly or twice-monthly newsletters on topics such as photography as well as an event and offer alert from its online store. Because it uses e-mail as a way to build customer and subscriber relationships, National Geographic also uses it market local events it sponsors. Based on the zip code they supply, visitors who opt-in to receive get e-mail on local events sponsored by the organization; one recent e-mail program invited recipients to see National Geographic explorers in local appearances, for example.

List-cleaning measures implemented by CheetahMail included a clearer opt-in process to receive newsletters – information collected voluntarily on NG.com, at its customer service call center, and at its online store. List size has grown in part because of tools the e-mail services provider has put into product managers’ hands that supply better reporting, which allows them to see who is subscribing, who’s unsubscribing, open, click-through and bounce rates, according to the spokeswoman. That information has provided them with better guidance on how to manage e-mail communication and e-mail messaging for better results, such as indicating whether to consider testing another e-mail subject line or offer, for example.

Another recent improvement to National Geogrpahic’s e-mail program has been in developing HTML for the few newsletters that still weren’t using it. Open rates across its e-mail lists are 28% to 30%, about steady with when it implemented CheetahMail’s program in August, but the lists have grown steadily, and click through rates, now in the range of 22% to 25%, also are up since last year, the spokeswoman says. Because of the content its e-mails provide and the care it has taken to clean up its lists, the unsubscribe rate across the board is low; only about 3%.

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