Newsletter marketing often gets started because someone realizes that the existing customer base is an excellent market for add-on sales. In this case, email list building is not hard because customers have a vested interest in sharing their email addresses. But what if you don?t know who your customers are? What if you are a retailer who wants to try internet marketing, but don?t have an email list? How are you going to build one?
Hunt for the email contacts
Most companies are always looking for ways to build their email lists. Large companies are trying to get email addresses for their existing customers and prospects, while small or startup companies are just trying to create any list at all! Let's talk about some of the ways you can use your interactions and marketing efforts in the real-world to help build your email marketing lists.
To buy or not to buy?
Where are you going to get the names and email addresses? Going forward, one answer is you will ask for the names and email addresses from in-store customers and visitors to your website. This is not hard to do. Customers like your products now, and they will surely want to know about the products you add in the future. But building a list of names and email addresses from in-store customers takes time, and if you want to get started with an online newsletter campaign right now, you have no choice but to buy a email list. The question is where is the best place to get one?
Bad and Good Email Lists
If you have been on the internet for any length of time, you have undoubtedly gotten numerous email offers for email lists sandwiched in among ads for Viagra, a life?s experience PhD and other spam. Some of these spammer email advertisements offer list rental rates ? e.g. $450 for 1,000,000 names ? which are hard to turn down. But our advice to you is, avoid spammer email lists like the plague. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Ultra-low list rates usually means ultra-low list quality and a low quality list means your list server will be getting loads of ?bounce backs,? the email equivalent of ?Return to sender. Addressee unknown.? in snail mail. The safe and effective alternative to the spammer email list is an ?opt-in? email list from a legitimate email list vendor. Okay, but you may ask, ?how do I know that they are legit?? Well, some ways to be sure that you are dealing with legitimate email list vendors are: 1. They don?t spam you. 2. They have an address and a telephone number. 3. Their telephones are answered by people and not by a machine. 4. They have legitimate and verifiable email list resources.
Legitimate email list vendors get their lists from the publishers of magazines and newspapers and from e-commerce websites. The people on the email lists are subscribers and customers, and the term ?op-in? means they have given their permission to receive email about certain products or services. There are many benefits to opt-in email lists, among them: 1. The email addresses have been acquired legally, and the email list vendor can prove it. 2. The email addresses are real and stable and that means fewer bounce backs. 3. Even if you forget to, the list vendor will put a ?wrapper? on your email advertisement or newsletter (a) that reminds recipients that they have agreed to receive email on this topic and (b) that offers them a mechanism for removing their name from the list. This means that no one will accuse you of being a spammer. 4. The email list vendors often have other legitimately acquired information about the subscribers or customers on the list, information that will enable them to sort the list and select a sub-list that will address your precise market.
Opportunities to make a contact
From your local chamber of commerce, to specialized industry groups, the meetings of many organizations are great opportunities to make contact with new people. You are exchanging business cards with interested prospects or possible referral sources, so make sure that you send appropriate email communications to these people. Start with a personal email recapping your conversation with them, and letting them know that you will be adding them to your monthly email list. Don't just start sending a barrage of email to every person that you come in contact with, however. Make sure that the person indicated some interest in what you have to offer first, or your contact will become quickly unwanted.
Whether you have a booth, are one of the presenters, or are simply attending a trade show, you have an excellent potential opportunity similar to networking events, but at a much greater scale. Organizing the follow-ups to people you actually spoke to yourself, and then adding the person to your personal list is a given. The general information requests gathered by associates at your booth can be handled in a similar way. Lastly, you may have organized a giveaway or contest to gather more leads at the show. These people are frequently less interested in what you have to say, and more interested in whatever they might be getting or winning. As a result, it may require secondary contact to obtain the permission to add them to your regular communications. In general, hitting contest winners with a "hard sell" is not usually effective.
Using the telephone to get email addresses can be a time-consuming process, but isn't it time you gave your customers and prospects a call anyhow. In this case the call will both continue to kindle the relationship, as well as helping you establish an email based communication point. This will more than justify the cost of making the call. Inbound calls can be routed to a special voice mail box ("Dial 5 to receive more information via email") so you can receive subscriptions from people even when they are not near a computer, or after business hours. Contacting people using the phone will likely result in a certain number of people asking to be "immediately taken off your list". However, remember that this is not a bad thing! Ultimately, the focal point of your marketing should be concentrated on only those people that want to be marketed to. The rest of your marketing efforts are just to determine who the correct people are.