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Monday, November 06, 2006

Don't Commit Spam Suicide with Email Marketing

So you're at the realms of launching a major campaign and you're realizing that your current email subscriber list is outdated and under-developed. You're confident this campaign is going to be a huge hit - that is if you can just get an audience to check it out. So how do you find and captivate a new audience? The decision of purchasing email lists is a process that gets abused too often. The truth of the matter is that your purchasing decision can really hinder your credibility and push you to spamicide (a status where you or your company is now associated with spam). Sure you can easily go online and buy a list of email addresses from a handful of vendors and move on with things, but do you really know where these vendors are getting these emails from and are they ethically responsible? Let's break it down - if the company you are buying the email addresses from is focused on selling email addresses, then take your que and leave. Once you've taken your ethical leap away from the spam vendors, here's how you build your list.
  1. Determine your target audience - I mean really figure out a group you need to focus on.
  2. Determine the established third parties associated with the target audience - focus on magazines, publications, websites, or companies of interest.
  3. Rent their lists - many third parties will be will be open to negotiating a deal in renting their lists. These companies will most likely verify your credibility before signing off.

Truth be told, some publications, companies, or related online businesses rent their email lists out for a price. Is this ethical? Most of the time - yes. This works because the people on these lists have already agreed to receive newsletters (or offers from third party partners) that have been approved by the company. I've been involved in email promotions where I've rented email lists and have had surprisingly decent results. The bottom line is that it is more ethical and technically "kosher". Overall, I firmly believe you will have better results and you'll be able to sleep knowing everything's right.

Few things to note: On many occasions you usually aren't allowed to send the email out directly. Don't worry, this is actually a good thing. You will need to provide them with your templated email in which they will then wrap their branding around the outside which states something along the lines of "This offer is being presented to you on behalf of ". Think of it as being introduced to somebody rather than introducing yourself. Your initial acceptance will be much more conventional and received.


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