Get Extra Mileage Out of Your Email Lists with Email Mapping

By William Henry, content marketing manager at Feathr

Email marketing is a go-to outreach strategy for association marketers, especially those seeking to build relationships with members and sponsors. But with average email open rates trending downward—with current estimates at 21.3 percent across all industries—many are looking to squeeze additional value out of their hard-earned email lists.

One way to put your lists to good use is through email mapping campaigns, also called CRM retargeting campaigns. These campaigns allow you to show display ads to individuals on an email list—even if they’ve never visited your website.

It sounds like magic, but the technology is straightforward once you break it down. You may already know that every device connected to the internet is assigned a sequence of numbers known as an Internet Protocol (IP) address. These addresses are used to identify devices and help them communicate with each other over the web.

Using backend algorithms and pre-existing, third-party web cookies, today’s top digital marketing platforms can match email addresses with IP addresses, allowing marketers to serve ads to the owners of those IP addresses as they browse the web.

Note that email marketing campaigns are fundamentally different than email mapping campaigns, though the two can be layered effectively. Chris Hillman, associate director of product communication at Feathr, articulated the difference in a recent Feathr blog:

“Your prospects see email marketing campaigns in their inboxes, and they see email mapping campaigns on websites they browse.”

Base Your Strategy on Desired Results

Email mapping is a highly accurate and personalized method of targeting leads that helps you get more out of your email lists. Since email mapping uses first-party lists of email addresses, you know who your audience is and can reach them with ads they may like to see.

To get started, all you need is a list of addresses and a modern marketing platform. Feathr recommends uploading at least 2,500 unique email addresses in case the match rate for your list ends up in a relatively low range. On average, platforms like Feathr can typically convert 40 percent to 60 percent of any email list into targetable cookies, giving marketers a starting audience of 1,000 individuals.

The type of email list you choose depends on your desired outcome. Some associations use lists of past conference attendees or lapsed members to re-engage individuals that have left or haven’t interacted with the association in a while. Email mapping campaigns are also effective when trying to recruit new members or capture the attention of sponsors, as long as you have a healthy list of prospect addresses.

Campaign length is another consideration. It can take some time for your digital marketing platform to match your email audience to IP addresses, so plan ahead to ensure you start receiving impressions in time for them to be effective. If your campaign has precise dates, be sure not to run the campaign past your end date—doing so would unnecessarily cut into your budget.

If your email mapping effort is designed to garner attention over a flexible time period, Feathr recommends running the campaign for a month to ensure your message is heard.

“Studies show that it takes 17-20 impressions per month for a marketing message to ‘stick,’” according to Feathr. “Consider running awareness and engagement campaigns for one month, with enough budget to serve that many impressions to your target audience.”

If you are running an extended campaign, consider producing two or more sets of creatives with similar but distinct messaging and design. This strategy helps ensure users won’t ignore an ad they’ve seen before, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Finally, for the best results, be sure to vet your marketing platform for its ability to streamline workflows. Some platforms include email mapping tools that make it easier to upload, manage, and collect valuable insights about your email audience. Custom templates and rulesets make getting your message to the right people at the right time a breeze. And built-in data analytics help you increase deliverability and engagement.

All of these features make it easier to do your job—and, most importantly, they amplify your impact.

Feathr—a marketing platform that helps associations serve up highly-targeted ads based on interests and behaviors. For more information on how Feathr helps more than 1,200 associations increase awareness, grow membership, promote events, and create new revenue, visit

(Handout photo)

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