Email Campaign Auto-Responses, One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure

What do you do with the thousands of Out of Office OOO auto-responses you receive right after you send out an email marketing campaign? Am I the only one that thinks there's a treasure trove of contact information and sales intelligence sitting idle in those 'Out of office', 'No longer with the company', and 'Change of email address' messages?

We were inspired to build an email mining service that automatically extracts contact information and sales intelligence from those emails.  For years, we sifted and sorted through email responses and typed the contact info in spreadsheets manually.

5 things you'll gain from mining email marketing auto-responses:
1.  Keep your database fresh. It's estimated that 25% of a marketing database turns over every year. If you're not adding new contacts, you're going to quickly own a stale database that doesn't produce results. If you send out 50,000 emails a month and 5% of them are auto-response messages, you're getting 2,500 emails back. If 50% contain at least one new contact, you have 1,250 new contacts. Now multiply that over 12 months. That's 15,000 new contacts per year! These contacts are accurate and up-to-date.

2.  Pare down your database. When you receive an auto-response email indicating that someone left the company, there are two important steps to take: 1) Opt them out and update the CRM and 2) Capture the contact info of the replacement. Use the 'no longer works here' emails to update your email marketing databases and CRM. Keep track of who replaced whom in strategic target accounts.

3.  Follow your orbits. Smart marketers and sales reps take note when they receive the 'no longer works here' email notifications and they connect with that person on LinkedIn and Twitter. When their customer contact lands at a new company, Voila! you've got a hot new sales lead. This is a great way to identify new target accounts.

4.  Clean up opt-outs. Many times users don't click on the unsubscribe button and they reply directly with "opt out" in the subject line or in the email body. It's critical for your company's reputation to quickly opt them out. If you continue to send email messages to this person, not only do you risk harming your brand and reputation but you put your company at great risk. You can't afford to let any of these messages slip through the cracks.

5.  Build a bridge. Close the chasm between sales and marketing by feeding sales with high quality sales leads and accurate contact info. Marketing sends out targeted emails to customers and qualified prospects. They field responses with requests for more information and referrals. Marketing has hundreds of auto-responses with lists of people to contact in their absence. What if marketing could hand sales new contacts that could help accelerate a sale?

Marketing can deliver significant value back to the business and to sales by capturing contact info and sales intelligence buried in email auto-responses. Manually copying and pasting this intelligence back into the CRM, marketing automation and email service provider databases is painfully time consuming. Does someone on your marketing team have the unenviable responsibility of doing this job? Have you ever considered automating it? I appreciate your comments.


For more information on Email Mining for marketing and sales, please download our Guide to Extracting Value from B2B Emails