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Email Marketing Lists: 3 Important Questions

Jan 26, 2008
Email marketing is comprised of two major parts: the email itself and the email marketing list (also known as the contact list). This list is the very core of every email marketing campaign, as well as the reason why you are email marketing at all. Without this list of people, all who should have given you permission to email them, you have no reason whatsoever to indulge in email marketing to promote your business, goods or services. Here are three questions most email marketers must ask when they're just starting out:

Where can I get my email list?

Before I go into where you can get your list, it's better to discuss where you shouldn't get your list first. Buying, renting or scraping email addresses off the Internet are all terrible ideas. Why? Because those people haven't given you permission to email them. The quickest way to lampoon your email marketing campaign is to obtain a list that includes wrong email addresses and people who haven't given you permission. This results in spam complaints that will ultimately ruin your email marketing reputation.

There are many creative, effective ways to build an email list. Your first shot is putting a ListBuilder (also known as a sign-up box) on every single page of your Website. Site visitors can use this box to enter info and subscribe your email or newsletter. You can also build subscriptions by providing email address cards at your shop, tradeshows and other venues. If you are creative and ambitious about growing a permission-based email list, you can do these things and you'll see your list grow.

What should I do with that list once I have it?

Your next step is to segment your list, if possible. Try and divide up the names and email addresses on that list by product likes and dislikes, geographical location and other data. By doing this, you're dividing your list up and making it more targeted. Sending an email that canvasses everyone on your list may work, but you'll most likely have better luck sending different emails that promote the products certain customers have already show they're interested in.

How do I choose an email marketing service?

If you're not sure where to start, go online and find which service you like best. The best email marketing services have sophisticated list management systems that not only let you segment your list and upload it to the system, but store your lists online and access them 24/7. The advantage of a Web-based email marketing suite is that you can pay a low monthly fee to use the service and you can access it anywhere in the world, as long as you have Internet access. The best email marketing services also include reporting suites that can tell, in real time, just how successful your email marketing campaigns are with recipients.

As an email marketer, remember that email marketing requires lots of patience, planning and creativity. However, if you build a great list and manage it accordingly, you'll gain more sales and respect from your email or newsletter recipients.
About the Author
Gary San is a best practices activist and advocate for Benchmark Email ( http://www.benchmarkemail.com/email-marketing.aspx ), a leading Web and permission-based email marketing service.
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