• Build, Manage And Grow Powerful Mailing Lists

    The mailing list is an extremely important component of all Email marketing initiatives. There are several ways to get one Ė rent one, buy one or subcontract the entire email marketing function to a services provider. Any of these methods are at best a short term solution and at its worst a morale buster on account of poor list quality leading to poor results.

    All serious Email marketers invest time, effort and money in building high quality lists. The results of any email marketing campaign is as good as your list. Compiling, maintaining and consistently building a business relevant mailing list is worth every dollar that goes into it.

    Characteristics of a Powerful Email List:

    1. All the contacts in the list have opted-in to receive email communications from you.
    2. Your contact list also has the first name, last name and preferably a telephone and address apart from the email address. Stay miles away from any list that offers only email idís. Additional information such as age, occupation and other profiling variables will help you target your messages better.
    3. The profile of contacts in the list are there in your list because of their interest in your business (product/services). They are either your customers or your prospects.
    4. The email idís are current, and have been tested recently
    5. The contacts have not blocked you as spam
    6. Your list has been built over time, and has grown over time.

    Building that Powerful Mailing List

    Building a list is an ongoing activity. It only has a start point. Never a end-point. There are several ways to build, maintain and grow one. Consider what works best for you and implement it. Letís take a look at some of the options, methods and processes:

    Rent or Buy a List

    Itís very tempting to get the first campaign out the door at the earliest. This compels us to look for ready lists. Rented or bought lists are largely ineffective and a waste of money. There are however some exceptions. If your customers are other businesses, you could look at procuring/renting a mailing list from another non-competitor business that sells to the same customers. For example, if your business is Computers, you could consider renting subscriber lists from publishers of computer magazines. Their lists will be current and relevant to your business.

    Build your own list

    Nothing beats building your own list. You can mail to the list as many times as you wish and not have to pay for it each time. You can remove ids that have bounced, update new email idís of customers, analyze responses to campaigns, segment the list into different categories and target different campaigns to each and so on. Nothing else gives you the same flexibility, list effectiveness and freedom as owning your list.

    Use your customer database

    Your customer database is a good starting point. Excepting that you need to ensure your communications to customers clearly recognize them as existing customers. Customers like to be recognized and pampered. And every communication to them is an opportunity to do so. Ensure that you treat customers as a separate entity for any Email Marketing campaign.

    Use your website

    If you have a website calling for visitors to register (for information, as guests, subscribing to mailing lists, sales inquiries) - this is another location from which to gather data for your mailing list.

    Use your sales team

    If you have a field sales team, each of them would have visiting cards of people they have met at different organizations. This information may or may not be there in your CRM depending on your Sales Information System and the diligence of the sales team in keeping the CRM updated. Set up a process for collecting the visiting cards on a periodic basis, scan them and add them to your email list. Remember to slot them into relevant categories such as: Prospects, Customer and User, decision maker, influencer, etc.

    Take the help of your colleagues

    You can ask colleagues from other departments to help you. Each of them will have contact information that could be relevant to you.

    Have a CRM/ERP?

    If you have a CRM/ERP in your organization - the software for sure will yield an excellent email list. You will get more relevant data from the CRM module than whatís in the ERP modules. The ERP module may get you details of CFOís and Financial officers in client organizations. Finance plays a critical role in most purchase decisions, and your CRM module may or may not have contact information of the finance folks.

    Collate from published sources

    If your target customers are likely to have their contacts published in various web resources, you could commission an agency to compile the contact information for you. This could be from the website of the organizations (for example: schools and colleges publish contact information of their faculty, staff and administration), printed directories, Association website, and a whole range of other web resources that may yield current and relevant data.

    Effective email marketing calls for ongoing efforts towards building mailing list, and keeping it clean (remove invalid email ids, update unsubscribe requests etc)

    Managing the List

    Businesses that have a full fledged marketing organization and consider Email marketing a important marketing tool will have someone designated to build and manage the lists. In the absence of a reliable employee that this can be designated to, it would be a good option to outsource this function to a professional Email marketing outfit. Whomever you outsource to, consider long-term business relationships before parting with the list.

    If you or the Email marketing outfit is planning on using one of the many hosted Email marketing applications, insist that you have your own account (ideally open it yourself) and ensure that you always have the login details for this account.

    Mailing list security

    A mailing list is a very valuable asset for any organization. However it is often delegated to the custody of junior members of the organization without necessary safeguards such as a NDA. While most people have integrity and are honest, there is no reason for an organization to test them. Anyone handling the list or having access to it should be of known high integrity and accountability. They should also subject to specific non-disclosure agreement in regard to the custody of the list. If you should outsource your list management to an external organization make sure that they have a good reputation and you have a non-disclosure agreements in place.

    Keeping the list updated

    An outdated list is of practically no use. You must keep it updated.

    1. Adding new contacts on a regular basis : build mechanisms that all new contact information generated within the organization is properly classified (Customer VS Prospect VS Blind OR categorized by product/industry segment).

    2. Build mechanisms for capturing change in email ids (Client employees moving to new organizations).

    3. Remove bounced email ids after each email campaign (this is automatic when you are using Email marketing software - but manual intervention is required if you are maintaining multiple lists and one contact is likely to be a member of more than one list).

    4. Maintain information of email communications to each contact - you don't want to send too many communications to the same contact, and over time, you may also be able to derive some information on the impact of your email campaigns on different groups of contacts.

    Make your email marketing campaigns successful

    This is a broad and robust framework. Take what works for you and discard that which may be impractical. Make sure that you have a powerful email list at all times. Your email marketing success depends on your list.

    Author: Prasad A S
    Author Notes: Prasad A S is a Management Graduate from IIM Ahmedabad, India. He is the CEO of Stride Business Consulting and has over 25 years of industry experience in marketing and sales leadership roles. His company: Stride Business Consulting offers professional Email marketing services, SEO services and Online Advertising services. For more details visit: www.stridebusiness.com
    Comments 46 Comments
    1. mkinfotec's Avatar
      mkinfotec -
      very interesting topic... good work keep it going
    1. nuw3bmasta's Avatar
      nuw3bmasta -
      Some very good tips. Email marketing is a great way to grow your business.
    1. CoachFactory's Avatar
      CoachFactory -
      Some very good tips. Email marketing is a great way to grow your business
    1. bhavani's Avatar
      bhavani -
      Thanks this was very helpful.
    1. ravisoni6262's Avatar
      ravisoni6262 -
      good work it is quite usefull...
    1. Serj's Avatar
      Serj -
      I am surprised that you still think email marketing is a viable option... most of subscribers see email as SPAM, even is they specifically subscribed to it... that's not even considering that a bunch of our emails are blocked by server SPAM filters... we must move on to something that delivers a message people actually read such as Facebook, maybe Twitter...
    1. JIHE's Avatar
      JIHE -
      Thanks for your remind. Now the competition is more and more intense, so we must grasp a few skills to be strong.
    1. wanglyy's Avatar
      wanglyy -
      Thank you for share very good knowledges. Your blog is greatI am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject. Bookmarked this page, will come back for more. You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched everywhere and just couldn’t find. What a perfect site. Like this website your website is one of my new favs.I like this information given and it has given me some sort of commitment to succeed for some reason, so keep up the good work
    1. SEOdigg's Avatar
      SEOdigg -
      now a days people use mailing lists for spamming and they have a huge amount of list with a lot of emails..
    1. SEOdigg's Avatar
      SEOdigg -
      Where to have these type of mailing lists..?
    1. magoenmadrid's Avatar
      magoenmadrid -
      Thank you for the information
    1. jnndovedy's Avatar
      jnndovedy -
      It's hard to build a good mailing list - and the only way to do it legally is if you get people to sign up voluntarily. Otherwise, most people use a data-scrapped list and get barely any juice from it.
    1. blackpanther's Avatar
      blackpanther -
      Thanks for this useful article. In this article I found very now ways to build mailing list, let us try. But don't you think that now people don't like marketing email in their inbox.
    1. topbattery's Avatar
      topbattery -
      Thank you very much for your share, I am a novice, is of great help to me
    1. lzrllr60's Avatar
      lzrllr60 -
      Thank you for the useful tips.
    1. babyangles's Avatar
      babyangles -
      Thank you for the useful tips.
    1. amily123456's Avatar
      amily123456 -
      Thanks for this useful article. In this article I found very now ways to build mailing list, let us try. But don't you think that now people don't like marketing email in their inbox.
    1. guardianelectronics's Avatar
      guardianelectronics -
      Very good post. Thanks for the information.
    1. interanson's Avatar
      interanson -
      Still have much to learn.
    1. kellyburby1's Avatar
      kellyburby1 -
      thanks for sharing such an informative post .
    Comments Leave Comment

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