You know the saying: “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.” When it comes to your e-mail marketing lists, however, that sort of attitude just might get you blacklisted. Having a strong e-mail list with the right contacts is one of the most crucial parts of a successful e-mail campaign. This article has some helpful tips on building and maintaining a good e-mail contact list.
First things first: there is no shortcut for having a solid e-mail list with targeted prospects. Buying a list from a so-called “trustworthy” seller might work in some instances, but it may end up being a huge waste of money and could get you into a heap of trouble down the road (especially with business-to-consumer marketing). Those kinds of lists contain addresses of people who have either not opted-in to receive messages from your company, don’t know you or your business, and/or will likely mark your message as Spam. This can damage your reputation as an honest sender and can even get your company blacklisted.
A decent contact list can be built from many different sources such as clients (past and present), registered users from your website, and tradeshow contacts. When creating your list or sending e-mail messages…
- Include an “unsubscribe” and make the opt-out process as quick and simple as possible.
- Create your lists in a way that can be segmented. For instance, if you want to send your past clients a different type of e-mail than your current ones, make sure to have fields to designate each different group.
- Make sure your website users understand that by giving you their addresses, you will be sending them future messages and notifications via e-mail. But also give them the option to say, “No, I do not wish to receive e-mails.”
- Send snail mail pieces to drive people to your wesbite. Give your recipients a reason to give you their e-mail like “get our monthly update on what’s selling in your area” or “enter to win a gift card.”
- Include a “Subscribe a Friend” link on your e-mail newsletters.
- Include a link in your personal e-mail signature about signing up for special newsletters.
- Make sure your prospects can clearly understand how your newsletters will benefit them.
- Have an opt-in form on your site to collect addresses. Make it prominent with clear benefits and incentives.
- Send too many e-mails. This is a top reason for consumers to unsubscribe from a list or report the sender as a spammer.
- Put someone on your e-mail list just because they’ve handed you a business card. It may be better to first send them a short, personal e-mail message to explain your newsletter’s benefits, and ask them if they’d like to subscribe.
- It can take months or even years to have a really strong e-mail list. Even if you reach that point, you need to constantly evaluate your e-mail campaigns to see what’s working and what’s not. Otherwise your subscribers will drop off one by one.
- An incentive may be the only reason someone is willing to give you their e-mail contact information. That may be anything from pertinent information, updates and tips to free services, consultations and giveaways.
- Make sure the information you are sending matches what your subscribers expect. If they thought they would be getting information on homes in a certain location, but you’re sending them homes across town, they’ll probably unsubscribe before you know it.