Most marketers will tell you that the most valuable marketing tool is “The List”. A list is a database of people and information about those people; they could be customers, leads, or random people who tangentially might be interested in a product.
Traditionally, this database included mailing addresses, but today’s database also includes the prospects’ email addresses. However, if you’re just getting started with email marketing, you may not have a bulk email list ready and waiting for you to send your message to.
There are a few strategies to developing your bulk email list. First, gather information from your existing customers and people who have expressed interest in your product or service. In the chart below from Marketing Sherpa, some of the most effective ways of gathering email addresses are presented.
Source: Marketing Sherpa
Alternatively, you could purchase or rent targeted email lists from marketing companies based on specific demographics; i.e. people who are likely to be interested in your products and services based on age, gender, location, interest in other companies in the industry, etc.
However, recipients of unsolicited email are far more likely to ignore messages that they didn’t opt-in to, and may mark those messages as spam. Therefore, the email contacts that you can obtain voluntarily are much more valuable, and these prospects are much more likely to respond to your message.
While on this topic, remember that when you do send out an email to your list, make sure to use a reputable email program or use a marketing service that will ensure that your message isn’t flagged as spam by internet service providers (ISPs).
Many ISPs will automatically flag senders that send mass numbers of emails in one group, and the last thing you want to do is get your valid messages blocked before the recipient gets the chance to see them.