Buying Email Data: Do’s and Don’ts
As a general rule, it is always better to use email data that you have gathered yourself through the tried and trusted method of newsletter sign ups. The quality of the email data of self-gathered lists is always better than that on purchased email lists.
There are, however, certain sets of circumstances where you won’t have an email list at all, for instance, when going to market as a new brand or with a new product. How do you contact your intended customer base with your introductory offers if you have no means of contacting them? This is where careful purchasing of an email contact list comes to the rescue.
This blog post will provide you with some handy do’s and don’ts for when you are ready to start your email marketing campaign.
Do: Use your market research to guide your list choices
Whether you’re supplying your product or service to fellow businesses (B2B) or to consumers (B2C) you should have done some comprehensive market research into the demographics of your intended customers.
We spoke to UK Business Lists about market research, who told us: “Careful research will pay off when you come to purchase your email data. Most sellers of email lists can supply emails that meet certain criteria or in other words, email addresses of people likely to be interested in your product or service.”
Basic criteria could include things like: age, sex, nationality, region or location. More complicated criteria might be: marital status, job title, business, company directors etc.
Obviously there are costs associated with adding criteria to your purchase of email addresses (the list provider will have to filter the email addresses multiple times to meet your criteria) but it’s certainly worthwhile. It follows that the better match your email audience is to your email message; the more interactions you will get from it.
Do Not: Buy the largest list you can afford and blanket-bomb it with email.
It might be tempting, and possibly cheaper, to buy a huge email list that hasn’t been filtered to meet the demographics of your target audience, but this practice can be extremely harmful.
If you are a new brand or are launching a new product the last thing you want to do is to create any negative publicity. Firing off emails to un-sorted lists is one sure-fire way to make a lot of people angry. The very least you can expect for doing this is a slew of angry emails back calling you a spammer (or worse). You could also end up creating negative publicity on social media channels when angry email recipients vent their frustration.
Further to this, and perhaps most seriously, you can do real harm to the reputation of your domain. You could end up getting your domain flagged for spamming. This means that subsequent emails automatically get deleted by firewalls or filed away in junk folders and never seen again. This could happen even if you put the time in to properly target your subsequent emails.
Do: Use analytics to track open rates, click through rates and conversions
There’s little point in doing any form of marketing activity if you can’t measure how effective it is and the same applies to marketing emails. Fortunately, most bulk emailing platforms like Mail Chimp or Campaign Monitor and any one of the myriad of others will have some form of email analytics that allow you to track the effectiveness of your emails.
The features you’ll get will depend on how much you pay for your service – don’t expect too much in the free options of software if you are on a shoestring budget. At the very least you should be able to track the amount of emails delivered and opened.
More sophisticated, commercial email software may offer data on the specific links clicked in an email by each recipient, the number of conversions (such as requesting a call back) and much more.
This data is all important. Not only can you judge how effective your emailing activity is, but you’ll also be able to further fine tune further email campaigns. After a few emails and a little experimentation, you can establish whether it’s better for email interaction to send messages in the morning, afternoon or evening etc.
Don’t: Ignore the statistics and keep on blindly sending emails.
As you can see from the above, there are a great many insights that can be gained from the data generated by each emails send. The information is powerful stuff – use it to your advantage.
Do: Plan your email content.
By building a content plan for each email you can tell your brand’s story more effectively. For example, it might be useful for an accountancy business to email their client list shortly before annual tax and VAT returns are due, not only helpfully reminding your reader that this needs to be done but also offering to assist business with the complexities of their tax return.
Don’t: Email for the sake of it.
If you don’t have anything new to say, don’t send an email that’s just contrived. You don’t have to produce a new email per week or even more regularly. Mix it up a little.
We hope this blog post has been helpful on your way to setting up your email marketing campaign. If you’ve recently started email marketing and have some tips that you think should be included here, please leave us a comment on the blog.