Launching Email Marketing: List Building or Acquistion


Upon program launch, every email marketer faces the decision as to how they will acquire or build an email list of recipients. A solid email marketing strategy includes a thoughtful creative strategy based on your target market, and an equally thought out list acquisition or building strategy.

Purchase a List
An email list investment has to be measured against forecasted return on the list. In other words, spending is worth it if the list quality is high, demand for your product is high. These lists are only considered expensive relative to the expected return. List brokers are better now at vetting lists so the risk of buying is not what it used to be. Testing  a list by buying small segments at first is recommended to mitigate your risk with a new list broker. The list search requires time and research, so choose carefully and talk to list holder references, get 3 bids, you know the drill.

Email send companies can be picky about non organically grown lists. So know your sender’s list policies before you decide your list route. The reason is with new list broker, “you never really know what you are going to get”. The addresses on many acquired lists can be old. Ask how the list was opted into to understand the list quality.

Make sure the seller has regular list scrubbing policies and an opportunity for getting your money back if the list quality is not what was promised.   A very conservative approach is to “resubscribe” invite to the subscribers to make double sure (thus “double opted in”) that they  want to hear from your company. This may shrink a list but a small and mighty list (mighty = high responding) is much better then an expensive to mail to large list that yields low results.

Build a List Organically
Another way is to build a list of loyal, opted in email recipients, one by one via your online campaigns like search marketing, web site sign ups, blogs and other social media efforts. Take advantage of the many traditional media opportunities to collect addresses,  like direct mail lead cards, trade show booth sign ups and retail location Point of Sale (POS) collection.

Get your customer service and sales teams on board to collect email addresses as feverishly as they collect postal mail addresses. You will need to evangelize the value of email addresses in some corporate environments where often physical addresses are still the sought after consumer data.

A Note about Deliverability
Deliverability is the measured value of emails that are actually delivered to an inbox. If you are spamming inboxes and your ISP is onto it, they can “blacklist” you or prevent your emails from reaching their members. You want ISPs to “like” your brand and deliver your emails to your customers that reside within their ISP.  A positive deliverability reputation is paramount to ongoing success in email marketing. Deliverability is risky game, even when you know exactly who you are mailing to. Consider that you have one chance to gain a good reputation with ISPs and if you blow that chance getting black listed is not fun and even always possible to recover from. Sometimes, waiting a few months to build your own organically grown list, instead of the dollars acquiring a list is a safer route.

Whichever route you travel, you are sure to enjoy great cross sell, branding and offer results with email marketing. For a free copy of our list qualifying questions, email us.

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