List building is among the most important aspects of email marketing, a never ending endeavor that helps to ensure that we always have an audience to market to. However, there is a right and a wrong way to go about this process. The right way: Build your list internally and organically through the recommended best practices of permission-based email marketing. The wrong way: Where do we even begin?
Friendly Email Exchange
Although texting, instant messaging and other methods have emerged, email is still one of the most common ways to communicate. With a simple email address in your possession, you can reach out to prospects, key decision makers, and potential supporters whenever you have something important to say. Having said that, it is important to understand that permission is the name of the game. Even when your communications are of a business-to-business nature, you just can’t assume that someone wants to receive your campaigns because they handed you a business card or contacted you to acquire more information. B2B email marketers may not be at the mercy of CAN-SPAM compliance, but they can tally up spam complaints all the same.
Making Assumption with Customers
Obviously, your existing customers make the best candidates for your email list. If they are satisfied customers that keep coming back, these people are very likely to subscribe. Unfortunately, a customer does not automatically translate to subscriber, which means it probably would not be a good idea to start sending them a newsletter or offers out of the blue. The good thing is that since you already have a relationship with your customers, you can simply come out and ask if they want to be on your list. Send along a nice personal message explaining the benefits of connecting with you via email, and include a link to the signup box on your website. Do a good job of highlighting the value and you should have a fairly easy time converting customers to email subscribers.
The Dreaded Purchased List
Building a list can be hard work. So hard, in fact, that someone who is just starting out may be tempted to break down and buy one. If you value the privilege that is email marketing, you will stay far away from this practice. Purchasing a list is a bad idea, and renting one isn’t any better. Taking the easy route may give you access to more potential customers, but the high potential for striking out, receiving an arsenal of complaints and ruining your reputation are hardly worth it.
Always Get Permission
Email marketers have to be very careful how they approach the list building process. It is pretty easy to take a bunch of names and email addresses, add them to your database and start firing away. This isn’t the way to go. Whether it is accidentally or with malicious intent, adding to your lists without getting permission first will have some rather serious consequences.