Andrew Kordek

2 minute read


One priority that should reside towards the top of every email marketer’s mind is list growth. VPs and C-level execs love to tout the size of their lists, because bigger lists supposedly translate to bigger profits.

But bigger lists don’t always correlate to bigger profits, because not all lists are created equal.

So how do marketers determine if the level of effort and resources expended in email acquisition is paying off?

Do you know:

  1. Which acquisition source in your program has the best conversion and engagement rates? (NB: Definitions of “conversion” and “engagement” can vary by program.)
  2. What is the actual cost per email, by acquisition source?
  3. What is the revenue per email, by acquisition source?

If your answer to all three of these questions was anything but a resounding “yes,” then read on.

In 2009, I joined Groupon to head up their email marketing program. One area I spent a lot of time on was working with vendors who wanted to help the organization acquire email addresses. Groupon was spending millions of dollars each week in email acquisition but had no idea what they were really paying, or even if those email addresses were converting.

In short, they had no idea what was really working, because — in the eyes of most vendors — it was mainly a land grab. I was able to identify some of the worst vendors and kick them out, but it was a very manual and tedious process. The lesson we learned was that we were spending a lot of money for a lot of email addresses that were not converting like they should, and ended up being a complete waste of money.

I have and will continue to ask: If you don’t know the real cost of acquisition, and you don’t know how it’s performing, then why do it? The brutal reality is that you can’t fully shut down the acquisition train, but you certainly can invest in its success.

In its simplest form, the way to do this is to create a marketing data warehouse that integrates with your ESP, to not only tag and monitor each source from top of funnel thru conversion or inactivity, but also reveals insights about the whole process.

If this sounds simple, it’s not. It’s hard work, and it takes time.

However, at Trendline, this is the sort of stuff we do, and we can do it in short order for any type of organization looking to get the most out of their email acquisition budget. It requires minimal involvement from your IT department, and once we help you find the source that drives a good portion of your conversions, you can then turn that spigot on as much as you want.

Email acquisition without insights and clarity is like entering the ring with a professional boxer: anyone can do it, but you will likely get beat rather badly each time and not know what hit ya.


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About the Author(s)

Andrew Kordek

Andrew Kordek is a Co-Founder of Trendline Interactive.

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