by Ben Koenig
The foundation for great email marketing campaigns begins with the list. Consequently, the methods you use to create, grow, and maintain your list will have a significant effect on the overall performance of your email marketing initiatives. Today we’ll help guide you through the process of developing and nurturing your list.
Should I buy a list?
Well, no. You shouldn’t. People are often tempted to purchase a list because it’s less time consuming and gives the expectation of instant gratification. Purchased lists have some considerable disadvantages:
- Unsolicited Addresses: You could be labeled as a spammer for sending unsolicited emails, because the contacts on the purchased list have not agreed to receive marketing materials from you specifically
- Dead Emails: Even though the company may guarantee otherwise, some of the emails may be inactive.
- Outside Your Target: Since these purchased contacts have probably never had any interaction with your business, their level of interest is likely not as high as contacts you have gathered directly. Therefore your efforts to reach them are not as qualified as contacts you collect yourself.
- Costly: Typically $100-$400 per thousand records.
We highly recommend that you create your own list. To aid in your list creations, here are 10 tips that will help you create, grow, and maintain a large list of relevant email addresses.
1. Current Customers and Prospective Customers
- Start by creating a list of email addresses in your Outlook contacts, sales records and business cards you’ve collected recently
- Send an email to your new list that explains the benefits and incentives they will receive by subscribing
- See Tip #4 and Tip #5 for examples of valuable benefits and effective incentives.
- Ask them to direct their friends, family, and colleagues to your sign up page
- They still need to opt-in so include a link to your sign up page
- Learn how to use a Swiftpage emarketing Survey Form to collect subscriptions
2. Subscription (opt-in) form
- Include an opt-in or sign-up form in your email signature, social network profiles, webinar & download registrations, and on every page of your website to collect new email addresses
- The messaging around your form should talk about the benefits of signing up.
- Good example: “Get useful tips that will save you time and money!”
- Make it easy to fill out. Only ask for their name & email address. You can always collect more information later.
- Learn how to create a sign-up form with Swiftpage emarketing List Builder Surveys and how to import the results of a List Builder Survey to the List Manager
3. Offline Sources
- Ask for an email address when you’re demoing at a tradeshow, making a sale, or talking to a customer on the phone
- Give them the option to sign up in person or online by providing the URL to your sign up page on your flyers, newspapers, business cards, etc.
Growing Your List
4. Offer an Incentive to Sign Up
- On-going incentive: Loyalty program, exclusive discounts, useful tips
- On-the-spot incentive: Free PDF, Whitepaper, eBook, One-time discount, etc.
- Promotional incentive: “Subscribe to our newsletter and enter to win XYZ!”
5. Provide beneficial content
"64% of US and UK internet users want marketers to demonstrate knowledge of the types of products or services they like in email marketing messages." e-Dialog ‘Manifesto for E-mail Marketers: Consumer Demand Relevance’
- Subscribers are more likely to read your email if it contains valuable content
- Provide current, recently released, or lesser known information
- Offer tips that address the particular needs of subscribers
6. Encourage subscribers to forward your emails
- Word of mouth is a powerful viral technique
- Swiftpage emarketing provides a Forward to a Friend option in the footer
7. Use social media to encourage sign-ups
- Enabling social sharing in your email footer makes it easy for the recipient to share your email on their social networks
8. Create a newsletter archive page
- Making your previous newsletters available on your website to entice visitors to subscribe for future emails
- Use Swiftpage emarketing to create a landing page for each newsletter and then simply provide the URLs assigned to each landing page on your archive page
Maintaining your List
9. Prune the bounces
- Every time you do an email blast some will get bounced back due to invalid email addresses, typos, full inboxes, or out-of-office responders
- View the bounce reports and verify if the address is correct (except for vacationers) and move all of the non-existent ones to your Do Not Mail list
- Pruning will lower your bounce rate and improve your open and click rates
10. Initiate a re-engagement campaign
- Generate a list of subscribers that haven’t opened your emails in over a year
- Send an email to the inactive subscribers encouraging them to become active again
- Examples of re-engagement tactics include:
- Include time-based offers, “Last chance for XYZ”
- Subscription confirmation, “Please confirm your subscription to continue receiving XYZ”
- Profile update requests, “Please update your profile to receive more relevant content and offers”
Your list is the heart of your email marketing campaign and it should be treated as such. Create, grow, and maintain a successful and sustainable list by implementing the proper techniques to ensure your list is based off of trust and creates real value for your business.