Build a Profitable Email List with These Dos and Don’ts by Marco Marini @clickmail

Build a Profitable Email List with These Dos and Don’ts by Marco Marini @clickmail

Build a Profitable Email List with These Dos and Don’ts

Your in-house email list plays a crucial role in the ongoing, sustainable success of your email marketing program. Obviously the more names on your list, the higher your email marketing ROI for each campaign, right? Wrong. The only names that matter are the quality ones because they are the ones who will respond, keeping both your email deliverability rate and your ROI higher.

In the numbers-driven email marketing industry, we sometimes lose sight of the importance of quality over quantity when building an in-house email list. We must remember the value of a list is more important than the size of a list. A smaller list that is more engaged and more profitable has far more value than a bigger list that’s disinterested.

It seems counter-intuitive to focus on quality, not quantity, but that’s where the ROI lies. To help you stay focused on the names that matter to your ROI, below are several dos of list building to keep handy, so even the most seasoned of email marketing teams can keep the focus where it belongs: on quality.

  • Be clear what they’ll get. An email address has value and, like anything else of value, it requires a fair exchange to get it. Think of your request for an email address as equivalent to a barter transaction. What do you have of value that you can offer that person in exchange for their email address? Special prices? Exclusive products? A newsletter?
  • Sell your email program. Do not assume they’ll subscribe simply because you asked them. Give really good reasons why people should sign up to receive your emails.
  • Ask people to sign up at every touch point:
  • In employee email signatures
  • On every website page
  • On your Facebook page
  • In your blogs
  • In every transactional email
  • At checkout (whether online, on the phone or in person)
  • On a flyer included with shipped orders
  • At tradeshows and events
  • On your direct mail pieces
  • Offer something of value as an incentive. For B2C, this might mean discounts or a coupon. For B2B, it might mean tip sheets, case studies or whitepapers.
  • Make your content rock. Do so and people will grow your email list for you as they share your content.

Now for the do nots. Admittedly these are common sense, but always worth a reminder lest we sometimes forget and start focusing on quantity over quality:

  • Don’t add everyone to your database. Just because they downloaded the whitepaper does not mean they want a daily email newsletter. Use opt-in email marketing best practices.
  • Don’t use sweepstakes. That will only get you lots of people who never want to hear from you again…especially if they don’t win.
  • Don’t use third-party or co-registration techniques.
  • Don’t buy lists. Ever.

Stick with these list building dos and don’ts for an in-house email list that’s small in size, big in impact. Because it’s the numbers in your bottom line that matter, not the numbers in your database.

Takeway: Choose quality over quantity when building your in-house email list and follow these tips for building that smaller yet more responsive list. A smaller list that’s interested has far more value than a bigger list that’s not! This post presents the do’s and don’t’s for building an email list that matters.


Meet the author:



ClickMail Marketing is a value-added reseller of Email Service Providers and email-related services. We offer the nation's largest selection of ESPs and stay vendor neutral so we can recommend the one that will best suit your needs. The ClickMail AdvantageSM offers top tier products with more flexibility and superior support; and ClickMail's eMarketing Services support your team and campaigns to achieve maximum ROI.

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