I wanted to write this post to clarify something that I speak with a lot of people about. When you are just getting started with email marketing, it is common to think that you are supposed to buy an email list from someone and begin sending out newsletters full of promotions and offers. I have to say that this is a poor way to promote your brand and can damage your profitability in the long term.
Let me tell you a little secret…
… cold lists simply do not work. And anyone who tells you otherwise probably doesn’t have the best interest of your brand at heart – or your core objective of your return on investment fixed firmly in their mind.
The most important reason not to use purchased email lists for your newsletter campaigns is that you are likely to make a bad first impression for your brand.
Giving your prospects the wrong impression
Yes, of course you can buy targeted lists, which enhances the likelihood of a prospect finding your product or service attractive, but ask yourself this, do YOU open emails that you haven’t asked for? The first task on my list each morning is to sift through my emails and delete or mark as spam those where the sender isn’t familiar and unsubscribe to those I just don’t want anymore.
Also consider that the more well-targeted the email list you buy is, the more crippling a bad first impression can be to your brand. You’re most certainly giving some of your best potential clients the wrong impression by sending them what they will perceive to be an unsolicited email. And before you know it, your company is spamming!
When was the last time you purchased anything that had been pitched to you in this way?
Would you speak to a stranger you passed in the street?
I always ask my clients, “would you speak to a stranger who passed you in the street?” You might give them a smile or even a nod but you most probably wouldn’t strike up a conversation and have the ability to sell something to them that they hadn’t been introduced, considered or even want?
People are much more receptive to marketing emails when they have actually agreed to receive them. This is called, permission based email marketing. And when your message is well-received, it will not only result in sales, but also indirect sales through referrals for your beautifully designed campaigns.
Building up your subscriber base legitimately may seem monotonous, but I can assure you that your conversion rates and sub consequently your ROI from email marketing will be much higher.
Build a list of profitable email contacts
The first place to start collecting data is from your sales made within the last 2 years. Then build up your profitable email list organically using a mixture of the following:
1. Subscription form on your website with single or confirmed opt in. This also ensures you are compliant with all the anti-spam laws.
2. Collect data at trade shows or events of those parties interested in your service or product.
3. Offline forms, surveys and competitions. Be sure to include a box for people to subscribe to your newsletter bulletin.
4. Cold calls, sales and promotional staff should all promote your newsletter.
5. … make sure you give every contact the opportunity to opt-in.
Offering incentives to your potential audience will also help positively persuade members to sign-up. Try running contests, offer free gifts or vouchers to attract new subscribers. All you have to do then is ensure your campaigns look beautiful, optimise well, have engaging content to keep them subscribed and convert them into loyal customers.
Top tip: Avoid address book dumping. Dumping your entire address book into your email subscriber list isn’t ideal. You’re bound to have a handful of email addresses from a bunch of other things from your day-to-day work schedule including suppliers, personal contacts and more! Remember these are not your customers and the probability of them being interested in your company’s products or services will be slim. If you don’t sit down and really weed through your address book and remove these other email addresses, you’ll inevitably get reported for spamming and loose a few extra pounds in the process – at least they’ll certainly unsubscribe.
Permission based email marketing is easy, you probably have a fair amount of marketable data that you didn’t already know you had! At InsideOut we deliver a Full Service Email Marketing solution that provides you with everything you need to create content rich emails that your clients will love.
Get in touch to learn more.