B-to-B Insights: Build Your List
Many B-to-B marketers want to cut marketing costs by shifting more of their marketing communications budgets from direct mail and newsletters to e-mail marketing and e-newsletters. But if you want to ramp up your online marketing program, you should start building a large opt-in e-list of customers and prospects now.
Why? Because without a significant online "housefile" (list of opt-in subscribers), you only can reach prospects in your niche by renting other marketers' opt-in e-lists, which is hardly cost-effective: Each time you want to send another message to your industry, you have to rent the list again—at a cost that easily can reach into hundreds of dollars per 1,000 names.
So the best online strategy for B-to-B marketers is to build their own opt-in e-lists of subscribers. Doing so eliminates the cost of renting opt-in lists while preventing the spam complaints and lower response rates typical of non-opt-in purchased or rented lists.
When you own an opt-in e-list covering a sizeable percentage of your target market, you can communicate with your prospects and customers as often as you desire, or think is appropriate, at minimal cost. Being able to send an e-mail to your target market with a few mouse clicks makes you less dependent on costly direct mail, print newsletters and other paper promotions.
By using a double opt-in process that requires new subscribers to verify their identities before being added to your e-list, you help minimize spam complaints and bouncebacks. Owning a large opt-in e-list of target prospects also decreases marketing costs and improves lead flow and revenues.
So how do you build a large and profitable opt-in e-list of qualified B-to-B prospects in your field? Here are five ideas:
1. Dedicate a portion of your online marketing budget exclusively to list building. Most B-to-B marketers drive traffic either to their Web site homepages or landing pages relating to specific offers (e.g., free webinar registration or free white paper download). And a lot of the traffic they drive to these pages is existing customers and prospects who are already on their e-lists.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.