My Adbase Marketing Campaign: Early Results

In January, I wrote about my decision to try e-mail marketing with Adbase, which bills itself as “North America’s largest and most advanced database of creative buyers.” In this post, I thought I would share how my first e-mails performed.

After I built my mailing lists (as described in my last post), my next step was to create e-mails that were targeted for my lists. It’s a fairly straightforward process; you can design them from scratch in text or HTML, or use one of the provided e-mail templates. I chose the latter option.

Regional and National Campaigns

I simply inserted my logo and two images into a template, along with a line of copy directing people to my Web site. After proofing the content and sending several tests to myself, I distributed two different e-mails — one for contacts in my geographic region (North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.) and the other to contacts across the rest of the country.

In my regional e-mail (view it here), I showcased two specialities — food and lifestyle photography. In my national e-mail (view it here), I focused on one speciality, food. I sent my regional e-mail to 280 contacts and my national e-mail to 1,069 contacts.

Before I move on to the performance of my e-mails, I should define two important terms: e-mail open rate, and click-through rate.

E-mail open rate is determined by the number of people who opened your e-mail as a percentage of total e-mails received. Click-through rate is the percentage of people who opened your e-mail and then clicked on the link to browse your Web site.

Initial Results

OK, so how did I do — and what have I learned?

My regional e-mail performed better than my national e-mail. The former achieved a 24 percent open rate and a 6 percent click-through rate, compared to a 17 percent open rate and 3 percent click-through rate for the latter.

I attribute this difference to a combination of the different list sizes and content. I think more recipients opened the regional e-mail because the content — covering two specialities rather than one — appealed to a broader range of contacts. And I think the regional e-mail had a higher click-through rate because, once they opened the e-mail, they could see I was a local photographer.

Thus far, no one has contacted me as a result of these initial e-mails. While it would have been nice for my Adbase campaign to pay off with the first distribution, I wasn’t expecting this after just one round of e-mails. I anticipate it will take a combination of e-mails, cold calls, print mailers and other promotion to begin converting contacts into clients.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

10 Responses to “My Adbase Marketing Campaign: Early Results”

  1. How much did you spend on this ? what was the revenue?

  2. I did all that last year, and got a good percentage of both open and click rates, but no calls. So, I narrowed down the opens, and started emailing them directly, I got a high number of responses. I have even called them, and I am shooting one next week.
    Bottom line, direct contact always wins.

  3. @Paul M, I am on an annual plan with 6000 emails for $99 a month.
    @Scott T, I agree with you, and I think that you have to look at Adbase's emailer and database as one small tool in the promotions toolbox. The emailer and database helps with more than just mass emails, and generates data from the clicks and opens that you can then use to follow up with direct emails, calls, mail pieces, etc.

  4. Thanks for posting your experience so far. I've been researching Adbase and Agency Access. So far, I'm leaning towards Adbase. They seem to have a lot a tools that will make my life easier. I don't do photography or traditional illustration. I do storyboards and want to start marketing to ad agencies more proactively. If anyone has had experience working with Adbase or Agency Access to get storyboard work or knows anyone who has I'd love to hear about it.

  5. My experience is similar. I did 2 mailings in Feb, both around 4000. One for editorial and other for advertising clients. One 17 percent open rate and 6 percent click-through rate, other 24/3.

    I have made a couple of stock sales and been contacted by several other clients. I am now putting together a second set of mailings that will be more directed, probably around 1000 each.

    Time will tell.

  6. As someone who receives these spam emails from photographers, I would like to point out one misleading statistic, my email software requires me (and everyone at my company) to click on the email (thus opening it) to mark it as Junk. So when it says it was opened, it may have been opened to be sent to the Junk folder. I don't have to open them to delete them.

  7. STOP using adbase - it's a SPAM service. I don't want the multiple daily emails, never did, never signed up for them. Yes I can unsubscribe from every single individual email that is sent - but why should I have to? Have tried calling and emailing adbase but, surrise, they don't answer. So I can't get out of their database. So I keep getting the spam...So please think about all the people you're pissing-off when you use a spam service like adbase. I'd NEVER use your services just on principle that you were annoying enough to consider them legit.

  8. Hi Everyone,

    Agency Access made the announcement yesterday that it has acquired ADBASE and FoundFolios. Thought you might find that an interesting turn of events. Their combined databases will offer the most comprehensive lists and marketing services for photographers and illustrators.

    Here's the full announcement( and a short video from Agency Access' founder, Keith Gentile:


  9. Lauren,

    You came with the announcement that Agency and Adbase combined on Sept.8th. It's now the middle of November, and the Adbase site has done nothing since August 22nd.
    They are great at taking my money, but very poor at giving the buyer what they paid for. And won't credit my account from the money they charged me for last month. (paid for 6 months)

    Lauren, you probably work for Adbase so your ad is a joke. Should change the name to Subtractbase.

  10. Hi Dylan,

    I'm so sorry to hear that you're having trouble with your Adbase account. I was brought in to help with the PR for the acquisition; I don't work for either company, I'm a PR consultant.

    I would highly recommend that you contact Agency Access regarding your issues, since they now own Adbase. I've heard only good things about their customer support and know that they want this transition to be smooth.

    You can call Agency Access at 800-704-9817 - this is the main number posted at the top of their website, Best of luck.


Leave a Reply