If you want to send out emails to ‘prospects’ it can be very frustrating if you have a list that you’ve compiled over a few years but find that the email providers won’t let you use it. Companies such as Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor and Aweber are popular because they are cheap/free to use and offer an easy way to send out professional looking emails. However, they have a reputation to protect, and do not want to be associated with ‘spam’. No matter how carefully crafted your email is, if it is going to people who have been ‘collected’ over a few years, or generic job titles such as ‘info@xyz’ or ‘admin@xyz’ they will be flagged and you will not be allowed to use them.
General rules are:
- Subscribers should have opted in i.e. agreed to be emailed
- Addresses should not be more than 2 years old
- Purchased or inherited lists are forbidden
- Names collected ‘offline’ e.g. through business card collection should have proof that they have agreed to be emailed
Although it seems tough, it’s for a reason. None of us like to receive unwanted/irrelevant emails, and it’s much better to have a small but good quality list than a large random one.
So how can you build your list?
The answer is, slowly but surely! Here are some ideas:
- Keep adding fresh email addresses. Your email database ages as people move company or switch email address
- Create a sign up form on your website with a taster of what they will receive when they sign up
- Offer useful information, not just veiled sales material
- Make the benefits of signing up clear – why should they give you their email address?
- Have a very useful download on your website that requires them to provide their email address
- Collect email addresses offline e.g. events, but be sure to send them an opt-in email rather than simply adding them to your database
- Use your social media channels to promote signing up to your list
- Ask for minimal information to keep it simple – name and email address should be enough to start with
- Ask your regular email contacts to forward or share your communications