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Email Marketing Is Not Dead, Part 2: Building a List

November 8th, 2011 ::
This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series email marketing

Email Marketing Part 2

Even in this social media-crazy world we live in, email is still relevant.  There is one big reason: Email is really the only way to get in front of your current and prospective clients on a regular basis.

No matter how much you and your audience use social media, your messages on those platforms can easily get lost.  Will they see your tweet, read their status update in their Facebook news feed, or get your latest blog post in whatever eReader program they use to keep their reading organized?  The great thing about an email boils down to this: Your prospects and custoemrs will have to at least glance at the subject line before deciding whether to read or delete it.

In this three-part series on email marketing, we are looking at putting together a strategy (that was part 1) and creating content (part 3) that will engage your target market.  In this post, we are looking at how to build a list.  Some of the information in this series is courtesy of the HubSpot eBook 7 Steps to Jump Start Your Email Marketing Strategy.

Here are three tips on building your list, and one on maintaining it:

Do Not Buy a List

I have always strongly cautioned my clients against buying lists.  You don’t know how the information is collected or even how good it is til you send your first few emails.  But worse, the people on the list have not opted in to receive your messages, and you could be viewed as an annoyance, or worse, a spammer, thus sullying your brand’s reputation.

Pull Leads from Directories

It is OK to pull leads from lead directories like LinkedIn, JigSaw, Lead411 and others.  Put together a short email to send to these people, including a friendly introduction and an invite to join your enewsletter list, a link to a white paper, guide, tips and tricks list, eBook or other valuable content.  Be sure to stress how your company, products, and services can benefit them.

Collect Business Cards

Wherever you are, collect contact information – and the easiest way to do this is via business cards.  You could be at a conference, tradeshow, networking event, industry event or association event.  If someone gives you their business card, it is OK to add them to your contact list; if they wanted nothing to do with you, they would not give you their business card in the first place.

Choose a CRM App

To keep your list organized, choose a customer relationship management (CRM) application that fits your needs. There are a lot of options out there: Batchbook, Xobni, Zoho, Gist.  Play around with them to see which works best for you.

Segmented lists are super helpful, because all of your contacts do not need to get all of your messages – current and prospective clients have different needs, as well as those in different geographic areas, industries, with different business sizes, etc.

Keep your list as clean and updated as possible.  When someone changes titles or companies, note that.  When someone unsubscribes, remove them from your CRM.  When someone becomes a client, note that.

Next up in this series: Creating Content.

Image courtesy of creative design agency Arrae

Series NavigationEmail Marketing is Not Dead, Part 1: Putting Together a Strategy
The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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Posted in Email Marketing, Marketing | 9 Comments »

  • http://www.WaxingUnLyrical.com Shonali Burke

    Monika, I disagree on the business cards bit. If I give my card to people it’s because I’m ok with them having my professional contact information (which they could easily pull online, but that’s another story). It does not mean that I’m opting in to any of their email lists; in fact, the lists that irritate me the most are those that come from people who I may have met at conferences, etc., and who have made no other effort to connect with me, but all of a sudden, I’m on their list. It’s one thing to follow up with a courteous note ASKING if I’d like to be added to their e-newsletter, etc.; it’s completely different to suddenly find you’re on such a list. To me, that is spam, and I’ve heard many other people express frustration with this approach.

  • http://www.blurbpoint.com/link-building-services.php Link Building Services

    I do not agree with one point of removing the person from the list who has unsubscribes as this can be the negative point of our lead to one place. Instead of removing try to know the reason why get unsubscription and after knowing the reason try to turn it to subscribe with us again. And as this small achievement can be the biggest one day.

  • Witheredherb

    I agree with Shonali and most email marketing software (constant contact, mail chimp, etc) have very strict rules about how you build your list and adding business card information is borderline on such policies.

  • Dhswee

    Is there any official regulation around creating an email list from past customer contacts who haven’t officially opted in yet or is it more a matter of etiquette?

  • http://www.emaillist.net EmailMrktr22

    In response to “Do not buy a list”…. there are plenty of sites on the internet that provide email lists and there are few from that list of sites that give you accurate and effective data…. There is a company that assured me they clean and update their lists once a month and I couldn’t be happier with my results… As long as the service provider can assure you a clean list and opt-in customers then I don’t see a problem with purchasing your lists as long as you are smart and do your research.

    • http://twitter.com/MikeMaySay Mike May

      The problem with buying a list has nothing to do with whether or not the list is “clean” – it’s whether or not the people on it know they have opted in to receive offers from third parties. Even if they have, it doesn’t mean they meant to or remembered, and it doesn’t mean they won’t mark a message from an unknown sender as SPAM. The concern should not be running afoul of the law; it’s that a sender reputation will be damaged from too many SPAM complaints, even if the mail was sent within compliance of CAN-SPAM. That makes it harder for the sender to reach all of its’ subscribers inboxes, including the ones who have opted in specifically or are even the sender’s customers.

  • http://www.ntouchmarketing.com Houston SEO Company

    Many people still use their opt in list for to many services. I run into it on a regular basis where people are trading lists, and sending you emails even after I have unsubscribed. This turns into a problem when you get people that become frustrated and just stop reading emails all together. Your email list is a precious part of your business and I wish more businesses understood that and respected that.

  • http://www.rapidpage.ca Rapidpage Email Marketing

    I agree that the email marketing is  not dead. I have earned the clients through this way. And I know that many companies are doing so. Thanks this article, absolutely it give us the tips on how do email marketing succesfully.Thanks!

    Nicholas Hughes

  • Anonymous

    Don’t forget Insight.ly as a CRM to test out.  If you’re using Google Apps for your biz email platform, you should know it’s the #1 CRM app for Google Apps right now.