Email Marketing 101: How To Build A Solid Contact List

One thing is certain: as an email marketer, your list is something to be cherished. But creating a good, permission-based list is not always easy, and there are many pitfalls. One wrong move and you can find yourself blacklisted. Here's what to look out for when building or using your list:

When starting from scratch:
Start with a strategy
Before you build your list, you have to think long and hard about a few important things. Who will be on that email marketing list? Will you use opt-in or double opt-in? Where will you get your email addresses? Map those things out first before you start building your email marketing list.
Come up with a system
The best thing you can do is plan out a multi-pronged way to get email addresses. Have a brick and mortar store? Ask people to sign up when they purchase something. Have a Website? Going to a convention? Gather email addresses there. Just remember one thing. Wherever you gather your email addresses, make sure you have some proof of permission from your customers.
Use a Signup Form
If you have a Website, you must have a Signup Form on every single page if you want to grab all the email addresses you can. You can set up this Signup Form to take more than email addresses, including names, birth dates, types of items the customer is interested in and more. With Benchmark, you can build a customized Signup Form. Once you place the Signup Form code on your site, every single person that signs up gets automatically added to your email list.
Working with an older list:
Re-validate older email addresses
Suppose you have a list, but you haven't used it in a while. What to do? Well, first off, you must re-validate the email addresses on that list because up to 30% of email addresses change every year. You can do this by sending a plain, text-based email with a confirmation link. Tell your customers you're reviving your email marketing newsletter and you need to know if they still want to be on your list. If they do, they can click on the link and they'll automatically be added to your email list.
Be dubious of inherited lists
If an old co-worker hands you a list and says you have permission to email everyone on that list, be skeptical. The main reason? It's quite possible that those email addresses were gathered through non opt-in methods. If you must use that list, try our Permission Pass System. It'll help you get confirmation from all the people on that list.
Never use a purchased or rented list
It seems so tempting. For some cash, you can have an entire list of email addresses without having to build the list yourself. However, remember one thing: good email marketing is about explicit permission. The people on that list have not given you explicit permission to email them. To complicate things further, many email service providers set up “honeypot” addresses to weed out spammers. A honeypot is an address posted online somewhere, but since it doesn't belong to a real person, the people who send to it are most likely “harvesting” email addresses from Websites. Once your email arrives in the inbox of the honeypot, the email or Internet service provider that set it up will see it. And then it's all over.


 

So here's our info in nutshell form. Build your own list and if you must use an inherited list, be cautious about doing so. Follow opt-in practices as well as these tips and you'll safeguard your email marketing campaigns against spam complaints and blacklists.

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