Growing your e-mail list externally

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Not long ago, marketers had two options if they wanted to grow their e-mail marketing list: buy someone else’s list or implement their own organic growth tactics. Neither was a perfect option: Buying a list can present quality issues, and developing a list internally can be time-consuming.

Now, marketers have various external list growth opportunities. For example, Jupitermedia Corp. this week announced a solution called ProspectLink, a service designed for IT marketers looking to attract qualified IT buyers and expand their prospect lists.

The program lets IT marketers sponsor eBooks that are used to attract subscribers. When a subscriber signs up to read the book, which is delivered in .PDF format, they are also agreeing to let the sponsor—in this case security, storage, networking and software development companies—contact them via e-mail.

Another popular list growth and maintenance option is eAppend, which is offered by many e-mail service providers, including CheetahMail, an Experian company.

“We believe in a more organic approach to list growth,” said Ashley Johnston, director, marketing communications for CheetahMail. “E-append programs and ECOA [e-mail change of address] are better options for re-engaging customers as well as building a more solid and better performing customer file. Maximizing all customer touch points—and doing it well—to acquire names is something every marketer should be focused on.”

You can create your own opt-in program—or hire someone to do it for you—by following these suggestions:

  1. Know your audience. What would help them most in their everyday business life? Realize that answer might be different depending on who you reach in a company, Johnston said. “Your audience is comprised of individuals, so you may need to offer different things to different people.”
  2. Place details about your offer everywhere—on your home page, on inside pages, in ads on third-party sites. “Maximize every touch point,” Johnston said. “If you have loyalty programs that send out direct mail, offer people a little check box so they can include their e-mail. Bring offers into call centers. Make sure you ask if it’s OK to send information to them via e-mail.”
  3. Always remind e-mail recipients where their relationship started. “You could say, ‘As the sponsor of X, we’d also like to offer you this,’” Johnston said. “Anytime you can remind someone how a relationship was first forged, it’s a good thing.”
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