The Deadliest Email Marketing Sin: Buying Lists

If you’re new to email marketing, you’re probably anticipating blasting out lots of emails to promote your business.  The first and most important component of any email is the contact or the recipient.  Who are you writing your message to and why should they care?

This is one of the most common questions we receive concerning email marketing:

“Do you buy lists of email contacts?”

No, we won’t buy or sell any email lists. 

Purchasing email lists and sending emails to contacts who have not opted to receive your emails is considered bad internet etiquette and ILLEGAL.

Before you can send any emails, you must have permission from every single one of your recipients. If your initial reaction to that statement was, “But what if…,” then stop what you’re doing, because you probably don’t have permission.

Email Marketing Means Asking For Permission!

So before you invest your time and money in an email-marketing program, start off by getting permission from your current customers. It’s easier than you think, and will result in fewer spam complaints, better deliverability, decreased legal liability, and—most importantly—better open and click results. 

People normally respond well to emails they asked for. If they didn’t ask for them, they might still respond – or they might not – or they might just report you as spam, which has numerous practical consequences and all of them are bad for your brand, your bottom line and your ability to do business over the Internet.  The less expected or wanted your email, the more likely you are to get labeled a spammer.

If you are labeled a spammer, a recipient could block your email address, ultimately preventing other messages you may try to send from the same IP address to be blocked as well.

So, why is this a big deal anyway?

The reason I bring up this topic is due to a recent television commercial (http://ispot.tv/a/7YfU) for www.ConstantContact.com, one of the world’s largest email marketing companies.  In my opinion, this commercial is misguiding because it doesn’t provide critical information for the target consumer to properly understand.

I think that the average small business owner would be led to believe that constantcontact.com actually provides you with the contacts to send your emails blasts to, delivers them easily without a question and makes email marketing a easy. Forbes slammed the company back in January; and exclaimed that although the company labels itself as intolerant of spam and claims they do not support “any form of co-registration or list collection gimmicks,” they consistently consent to shady list collection methodologies.

If we were given the opportunity to create a TV spot to advertise our email marketing services, we’d be sure to state that you need an existing list of your very own email contacts to send these emails to!

I’m sure you’re wondering, “What is the best way for my company to grow a list organically?”  Here are a few ideas to help get you started:

  • Sidebar Opt-in Box – This option is by far the most popular. A good option to use is AWeber where you have an option to let users subscribe directly from Facebook with one click (this converts at 51.6% better than if you didn’t use the Facebook option).
  • Lightbox – A lightbox is just a simple pop-up that lays over your website when a visitor arrives.  It could ask visitors for their email and contact information if they would like to receive your promotional content. An “x” in the top right corner makes it easy to close for viewers, but it typically boosts your conversion rate.
  • Hello Bar – Another way to promote your email newsletter subscription is to use the Hello Bar. Hello bar adds a stationary bar to the top of your website that promotes your websites most important content.  You can use this area to develop calls-to-action that will automatically sign up contacts requesting to receive your newsletters or emails.
  • Offer a Free Product – One of the best ways to generate sign-ups for an email newsletter is through the promotion of a free product. It could be a white paper, ebook, app, special deal or offer. Just ask for their email address in exchange for the product. Also, be sure to make it clear they will also be receiving the newsletter.
  • Landing Pages – Finally, you could devote an entire landing page to email newsletter subscription. Landing pages are pages you put on your website that customers can link to from your email. Landing pages allow you to keep your email copy to a minimum as well as funnel customers to a page with more targeted information, images, and even a purchase option so recipients can buy what you’re selling. 

If you would like to send emails to potential clients, leads or former customers, contact the marketing team at Executionists today to conduct a formal email marketing audit for your company.  We manage, organize and segment existing client lists, help you garner new subscriptions and craft custom email marketing content to promote your online business. 

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Posted: April 17, 2013