Some believe prospecting is not a best practice because there is no direct opt-in permission. Marketers who prospect have no direct relationship with the individuals they reach out to. Others think the quality of email lists is less than stellar. And, some feel it’s an expensive marketing proposition.
Well, all of that is pretty damning! But there are many reasons to consider email for customer acquisition and lead generation. It can and does work for many B-to-C and B-to-B marketers. Here are tips on how to make it work.
Do Your List Homework
One direct marketing mantra from John Francis Tighe is that there’s a three-legged stool for any campaign: the target, the offer and the creative (For more info on the concept of the three-legged stool in marketing, watch Peggy Hatch’s video). So, it’s really important to be laser-focused in selecting lists.
The journey starts with finding good list brokers. When choosing a reputable list broker, here are things to consider:
• You may already work with list companies on direct mail campaigns. That’s certainly a help because the broker already understands your business. Plus, you have a track record on what types of lists work. That’s a good start.
• In some cases, your direct mail broker may not be the right resource to turn to for an email campaign. You need a broker who is steeped in the world of email. Look for list companies who have an internal group that lives and breathes email. Ideally, there should be several people in the department who focus entirely on email.
• Another criterion I think is important is that the list company is a member of The Direct Marketing Association. The DMA has a code of ethics that all members must follow. This may tip the odds more in your favor.