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Best Practices for Building Your Email List

November 4, 2011 By Wikus Engelbrecht
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The best email marketers use the power of words and images to draw a response from their subscribers. Their persuasive qualities lead to sales, registrations, downloads and a host of other positive actions that can make any email marketer’s heart jump. All of which is utterly meaningless if you don't have anyone to mail to.

The mailing list is the most important element in the success of an email campaign. If you can convert visits to your website into a lasting relationship via email, the chances of retaining a customer are much greater.

Considering all the emails that get sent daily (estimated at 294 billion by Radicati Group), it's become increasingly difficult to push through all the noise to get people to opt in to your mailing list. Even when you do get new subscribers, you'll also always have those that unsubscribe. If you're unlucky, those that subscribe and those that unsubscribe balance each other out. Your list simply doesn't grow.

Sure, it’s tempting to buy or rent a large list and blast out an e-newsletter to it as opposed to growing it yourself. But you might be doing more damage than you think. In order to retain subscribers, you need to engage those who want to hear from you (as in those who've opted in to your email program). A permission-based list built by yourself always yields the best results since you're providing content that's relevant and of interest to recipients. Due diligence must be given to key principles and practices that help build a responsive list of addresses.

List building starts with permission
You don't actually want the biggest possible list of email addresses. You want the biggest possible list of email addresses for people who have asked to hear from you. A main reason people report email as spam is because they never asked to receive messages from the mailer. Spam reports are a major factor used by webmail services and others to tag "bad" senders, potentially leading to outright blocking of all that sender's emails.

What constitutes effective permission?
A key to email marketing success is identifying the kind of emails consumers find valuable. Email marketers offering no value get no response (other than the unwanted kind, such as subscribers opting out or marking their emails as spam).


 

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