Many businesses have not gotten around to building their email list. It is a daunting task for most people. In many cases, the data is all over the place: in a CRM, a spreadsheet, Outlook, Gmail or business cards sitting in a drawer. Your email marketing platform may be the only place where you can easily see the data in one place. Some of our bigger clients use tools like Salesforce, which sounds amazing – right? They spend all of their time entering the data, but then do nothing with it! The longer it sits in the tool unused, the staler the information gets. One of our clients sent us a Salesforce list of 5,000 customers. Turns out that a thousand of them, 20%, were bad and thus undeliverable.
If you send newsletters to your list on a regular basis you will be able to discover the “bounced” email addresses so much sooner and take the appropriate action. Give them a call and see if the email address has changed or if there is a new person in that position. Sending out a campaign is a great way to stress test your list.
What Do I Do If I Don’t Have An Active List?
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Building Your List From Scratch
You need to start somewhere. Your initial list may not be that big; that is ok. Don’t wait until you have 1,000 people on your list to make it worthwhile to send to. If you have 50 or 100 people, send to those people. Don’t worry about the people that you don’t have. Focus on the people that you have. In fact, it is good to test your campaigns on a smaller list. Better to make a mistake to 50 people than 5,000.
Never Send SPAM
It is never worth risking sending SPAM. Never send broadcast emails to bought or rented lists. Don’t scrape email addresses from websites or use lists provided by associations that you are a member of. Even if they give you a list, it is for reference only. This does not give you permission to send these members email.
How Good Is Your List?
We don’t know until we send out the first newsletter. After the first campaign has been sent, you will be able the see the people that opened your newsletter, the people that did not open it, the bounces, and the unsubscribes. This will give you a roadmap for future campaigns.
Add a Call To Action
Just saying “Subscribe To Our Newsletter” may not be enough. Give them a compelling reason to get your amazing newsletter filled with useful tips.
Engage With Your Customers
Big brother is watching everything that is going on. Google, Microsoft, Comcast, Yahoo – they like to see people engaging with your newsletter. Try to get people to reply to your newsletter or click on a link.
Test, Test, Test
You don’t know what is going to work until you start testing. Test different subject links, number of stories, lots of images and no images.
Don’t take any shortcuts. Grow you list naturally and organically. Provide value to your customers; you don’t always have to be selling. Be helpful. Engage on a regular basis.