Developing quality email lists

One of the most important success factors in your email marketing program is the quality and maintenance of your email list.  Remember that it is better to have smaller but relevant list of target audience than a large database that treats your email as junk.

Whether your business is conducted entirely online or you have a mix of online and offline offering, the best time to build your email list is when the prospect is engaged with you in some dialog.

1] Website Registration:
When customers are searching for information and visit your website that’s the best time to request for their email address.

  • Make sure that the option to register for email is clearly visible on all your important pages and forms
  • Having a one click email subscription will make it that much easier. No one wants to fill out detailed forms with complex fields. To begin with I recommend asking for just the first name and email address.
  • Why should the visitor sign up for your email?  Talk about your benefits, about how the newsletter it will be interesting for your consumer. Focus. Keep it short.  If you can show a sample email, that’s excellent.  This removes barriers,  shows you care, and the visitors get to know what they will be receiving.
  • Measure.  If you have undertaken project of overhauling your email list, measure and understand why your customers are registering; from which page; did they come from a search engine and land on your site? If so what were the terms they were looking for? This should give a clue to the content the visitors want to read.

2] Online Affiliates:
Many organizations especially online publishers send out emails on behalf of their partners for a cost.  Tie up with publishers that have target audience that maps your customer base.  Send out a “feeler” email to this audience.  Run such feeler campaigns for a defined time and again don’t forget to measure and understand what worked and what did not.

3] Mobile:
Try a few text /SMS campaigns with the help of reputed vendors of such services. Request the customer’s email address in return for some benefit.  Perhaps you could enter them into a lucky draw or give them a discount for the next purchase.

4] Offline stores:
If you have offices / stores that see walk-in customers, do you have feedback forms where you can request for their emails?

5] Customer Service requests:
It is far more profitable to retain a repeat customer than acquire a new one.  Gather data from your customer service requests.

These are just some of the ways that you can start to generate your email lists. If you use a CRM system or are tracking the data in any other simpler format, try and include an “email-source” field. This will help understand your email list growth better.


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