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Two Email Marketing Engines
Jeff Pasternack

In last month's column we covered some general issues about email marketing and wrapped up with the idea that advertisements delivered over email would probably be more accepted if recipients were targeted by several characteristics, as opposed to just gender, zip code or that the recipient may be alive and part of the human race.

The process of email marketing falls along a continuum. At one end is the simple process of creating a group in your email program. At the other end is deploying a data mining application to analyze your customer interactions and develop targeted messaging to leverage vertical eyeballs…whoa! Sorry about that, slipped into the mode of the now-extinct dot-communist…but you get the idea.

Over the years I've played with a few different applications and if you've considered starting an email marketing campaign and weren't sure where to start, here are two newer services to check out: VerticalResponse ( and Gold Lasso's eLoop ( By way of full disclosure, I currently use both applications to distribute the online version of The TechnoPeasant Review and material for clients.

Both programs are similar in their general function, i.e. giving you the ability to upload a list of customers/prospects and send them email. The similarities end there and the decision to choose one over the other will be based on your marketing program's needs. As you'll see, there is no way to compare these two offerings; instead, consider this information as a primer to the different features offered by companies that provide email marketing applications and services.

Vertical Response (VR) is a nice, tidy application that lets you send email in both HTML and text. You can use any of their pre-built templates or your web designer can quickly design your own template. Along with being able to upload a list, you can also easily build a form to be used on your web site that will collect and deposit information directly into VR. After sending a couple of test emails to yourself to see how it looks, you select among the recipient lists you've created, schedule the email and launch the campaign. VR will de-dupe your list, cull out people who have unsubscribed or with bouncing email addresses and send out the email at the selected date/time.

After launching the campaign, you have access to a campaign-specific report. The report documents the number of emails sent and how many were opened or bounced. You can also see how many people unsubscribed from your lists and how many forwarded the email to a friend. Finally, the report also provides you with statistics related to how many people clicked on any of the links in your email. If you're email is a call to action, such as asking people to buy a product or visit a page to schedule an appointment, this information is very useful as you can measure the effectiveness of your message.

Gold Lasso's eLoop (GL) is a more sophisticated, feature-rich email marketing application. Instead of having to create your email in HTML, eLoop inserts a Microsoft Word toolbar into Internet Explorer, allowing a non-programmer to create attractive email as easily as if one were working in MS Word. To make a block of text bold, underlined and two font points larger, you don't have to type out <font size=+2><b><u>TechnoPeasant Review</u></b></font>; simply use the drop down selection menu for font size and click B for bold and U for underline.

Where eLoop really shines, however, is the business logic that drives the application. Unlike VR, which is a nice emailing application, eLoop is a powerful marketing tool that provides customers with a comprehensive approach to email marketing. Its one thing to know how many people opened an email and how many clicked on a particular link. It's a whole different matter to know who opened an email, who clicked on what link and to automatically send that person follow-up email based on what they clicked.

"We spent a lot of time integrating advanced marketing strategies into eLoop. Our clients use eLoop to enhance customer relationships and build new relationships with prospects," said Karen Kaufman, Gold Lasso's vice president of business development. "Clicking on a link in an email signifies interest. By customizing the marketing messages based on the clicks and automating the messaging process, our clients are much better able to use email as an effective means of communicating with customers and prospects," she concluded.

Kaufman pointed to one feature that allows you to search for recipients who clicked on a particular link and meet other criteria, such as geographic or having a similar title, and create a new campaign. "Advanced features like this are essential to integrating email marketing with offline marketing activities," said Kaufmann.

Kevin Taylor, director of business development for Alexandria, VA-based New Vision Communications, agreed. "We find that our clients who engage in targeted marketing and who refine their targeting based on actual behavior earn a greater return-on-investment than those who don't."

Companies just getting their feet wet with email marketing will find Vertical Response's pricing to be attractive; there is no setup fee and prices range from .0075 to .015 per email with price being determined by the quantity of email credits you buy. Gold Lasso is best suited for companies with more sophisticated marketing needs and some experience with email marketing. Their setup fee varies based on customer requirements and their price per email ranges from .02 to .05.

No matter what legislation is enacted by state and federal governments, email marketing belongs in every marketing plan. Your decision to go with a more feature-rich application over one that is more basic should be driven by your marketing strategy and your ability to target your audience. Of course, if you sell weight loss products, the Center for Disease Control says that more than 50 percent of Americans are overweight, so maybe sending out 200 million emails advertising that you have the best way to kiss those thunder thighs goodbye is the best way to market your product.

Jeff Pasternack is the president of Dynamic Consulting Group, a franchise partner of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and author of the TechnoPeasant Review.
If you have questions or comments about this column, please write to him at