Email List Management
Your company's email list is one of the most
valuable assets that you possess. But to build
a truly valuable list, you must compile your
own actual "opt-in" email lists; you
simply cannot come to rely entirely on "acquired"
lists. There are indeed high-quality lists of
opt-in addresses available for rent. Most of
the better ones are rather costly, because they
are very targeted, and have already been cleaned
of bad addresses. There are also very cheap,
low-quality lists of addresses available for
sale, many of which have already been over-used,
over-marketed, gone bad or been abandoned to
their spam-riddled fate. Both of these types
of "acquired" lists do actually have
one thing in common, however: neither one of
them is really your very best target for email
Your best targets for direct email are individuals
who have already met or contacted your organization.
Current prospects, customers, business partners
and even personal contacts are a good source
of email addresses. These targets have already
contacted you and are at least somewhat familiar
with your organization. If what you need are
introductions to new prospects, you will likely
be better off using other forms of marketing
other than your own direct email campaign.
One form of email marketing that does work
to get introductions to new customers is to
sponsor someone else's email newsletter, or
"ezine" as they are sometimes called.
Even though the recipient has never heard
of you or your organization, this kind of
marketing can work via email because the sender
and recipient do have an existing relationship,
and you are leveraging off of that for the
introduction. A good example of this is a
travel agency placing an advertisement with
an ezine that?¡¥s dedicated to adventure
travel. This is simply applying classic piggyback
marketing techniques to the new medium of
Email marketing is best at assisting with
the many follow-ups it usually takes to convert
a prospect into a customer. The only way such
a strategy can work is by building your own
email list. Here are a few best practices
for email list management that can help you
mine the gold that lies within your lists.
Take "Remove" requests off your
list right away. Not only is sending to someone
again after they have requested to be taken
off your list "anti-marketing" that
turns prospects off of offers they might receive
in other ways, but you also expose yourself
to potential legal problems in a number of
states. Either way, you lose, so it is very
important to comply with these requests promptly.
Have the correct recipient name and company
name. This especially applies for lists compiled
from trade shows or networking events where
you've collected business cards. There is
no bigger turn-off in the direct email marketing
space than a typo in YOUR NAME, and it reduces
the impact of your mailings considerably.
Add people to your email list right away
so that you do not forget to do so before
your next mailing. Getting the content for
your next mailing ready to go is enough work
up to the last minute, so procrastinating
on updating your list is especially unwise.
Always remove duplicates, especially in the
case where you are sending out to more than
one list. Receiving more than one of the same
messages to the same email address is a big
turn off to recipients. Note that you cannot
do anything about individuals who have used
different email addresses when signing up
for your list.
Segment your list in meaningful ways, and
then target different message based on this
information. For example, you might wish to
offer one special incentive for first-time
customers, which would be offered only to
the "Prospects" list, and another
different incentive for the existing "Customers"
Make sure you do not mis-target messages.
For example, don't say "As a special
discount for our loyal customers" in
a mailing also sent to people who have not
become a customer yet. A disconnect in the
language at the very least may seem "odd"
to readers, and at worst the right offer sent
to the wrong person may actually anger someone.
Existing customers who accidentally receive
that discount info meant only for new customers
may wonder why they were not offered that
specific discount as well.
Don't just remove all addresses that have
"bounces" (delivery failure notices)
the first time a message is returned as undeliverable.
Sometimes mailboxes are full or servers are
down, and although one mailing may not go
thru, the next one might. You may want to
wait for 3 or 4 bounces before concluding
that an address is no longer good.
Once you have determined that an address
is bad, remove it immediately from your list.
Knowing the actual number of good addresses
you have on your list will allow you to accurately
calculate the key statistics and effectiveness
of your campaigns. Many bad addresses will
throw off these calculations.
Offer an incentive for prospects to sign
up for your email list. A call to action is
necessary with some kind of benefit. Use free
promotions, valuable information, a discount
or something similar. Just give the prospect
that little extra reason to sign up for your
This may sound like a lot of work to do (and
it is!), however it?¡¥s worth it.
Managing your lists well is absolutely required
to realize the value that is contained within.
You can save lots of time and money by choosing
the right company to handle your email marketing.
You'll see as you nurture and grow your list,
your email members will become increasingly
loyal to you and your services. Bottom line,
don?¡¥t miss out on a revolutionary
new way to reach new markets, retain customers,
and beat the competition. By choosing the
right bulk emailing service to handle much
of the grunt work automatically, and by applying
a little discipline to your list procedures,
you can nurture your lists along until you
are ready to harvest their hidden bounty.