In theory, purchased email lists are a marketers dream. They’re typically compiled of relevant business organizations, and allow marketers to easily segment their contact database by industry, company name, job title, company size, and geographical location – just to name a few. On top of that, purchased email lists commonly include phone numbers and email addresses; making it insanely easy for marketers to run an effective email marketing campaign.
So, what’s the catch?
Well, for starters – it’s technically illegal. In the United States, CAN-SPAM legislation includes fairly stringent regulations around the proper and improper way to collect email addresses. Additionally, Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation, which went into effect July 2014, requires organizations to obtain consent before sending commercial emails to Canadian consumers.
3 simple (and free) ways to grow your contact database
Legalities aside, there’s a wide range of strategies and tactics that organizations can leverage to grow their contact database, and subsequently their email list, without purchasing email marketing lists. Here’s a look at my top three:
Create multiple email subscription typesBy now, we marketers have learned that one-size-fits-all email marketing strategies no longer work. In order to be effective in today’s marketplace personalized and targeted email marketing strategies are critical. However, list segmentations aren’t the only way to become more targeted.
By creating multiple email subscription types – like marketing, product updates, or company news – visitors are able to choose to when, and in what format, they’d like to hear from you. This is a win-win scenario; it allows you to keep existing contacts without inundating them with irrelevant marketing emails, it encourages new website visitors to sign up without feeling like their being sentenced to a lifetime of spam emails, and it enables you to continuously share valuable content with people that actually care.
Reinvigorate a stale email list with an opt-in campaignDo you have an old email list comprised of ‘decayed’ contacts? Leveraging an opt-in email marketing campaign is a great way to bring these unengaged contacts back to life, while also eliminating unqualified or uninterested contacts from your database. To do this, simply create and send an email to all unengaged contacts encouraging them to re-subscribe, but promising to remove them from all future communications. While this doesn’t necessarily always grow your database – it definitely helps you create a more refined and actionable list of contacts to pursue and nurture.
Exposure, exposure, exposureAll too often we come across organizations that wonder why their list of subscribers is so low, but what they don’t realize is how few subscription opportunities they actually provide to website visitors. A simple subscription form on your blog or on news and events page is great, but it’s definitely not going to get the amount of traffic you need to get the amount of subscribers you want.
Instead, you should be including a ‘sign up to receive…’ on every single form that you create. By exposing your website traffic to additional ways to opt-in to you email list, you’ll not only increase awareness for the various information channels your organization offers, but you drastically increase the amount visitors that choose to subscribe to all, or some, of your communications.
At the end of the day, it’s not going to benefit anyone if your organization continues to send emails to individuals that, quite frankly, don’t want to hear from you. Yes – there are definitely legal and integrity related issues that come into play with purchased email lists, but what’s the point of wasting your time and their patience if you don’t have to? By incorporating the aforementioned strategies, your organization will not only be able to organically grow its database, but you’ll also have a much more qualified and engaged database to nurture.
For more insight into email marketing best practices, and to learn more about the various ways to create a robust and qualified contact database, request an inbound assessment.