9 Ways to Grow a Responsive Email Marketing Database

  |  July 10, 2012   |  Comments

Overcome unsubscribes, spam complaints, and undeliverable email addresses with these tactics.

I have a hunch that every email marketing manager has an objective to grow their email marketing database this year. The challenge of such an endeavor is even more daunting when the database is constantly losing names due to unsubscribes, spam complaints, and undeliverable email addresses. Fortunately, there are some fairly straightforward tactics you can employ to overcome these obstacles.

To that end, here are nine things you can start doing today to meet your growth objectives.

  1. Use your website. Make email collection a priority by including prominent sign-up opportunities throughout your website. Remember that most visitors are on your site to browse and learn more about your company and products. No one should leave your site without leaving behind their email address.
  2. Capture email in the real world. If you have retail stores, your in-store staff should be trained to collect email address - in a friendly, non-creepy way, of course! Most retailers see higher lifetime value for customers who buy offline and online. So incentivize appropriately and capture the email address at the retail point of sale. This same principle carries to trade shows and other events. Remember, if you're asking for somebody to handwrite their email address, have them complete it twice!
  3. Capture email in the call center. Don't forget about your call center. Your customer may call in for customer service or look to complete a transaction via telephone. Train the call center with a short speech about the benefits of having their email address and get them to capture it right there on the spot.
  4. Refer-a-friend. Do you have a referral program? If not, this is a must-have. Referral programs not only grow your email marketing database, but also lead to immediate revenue and customer acquisition. Acquiring new subscribers through the social networks of your best customers is one of the best ways to build your list with quality individuals.
  5. Lead generation through publishers. Some publishers will include your email subscription offer as part of their registration process. Pontiflex, a cost-per-lead advertiser, has now taken the concept to mobile applications with great success. Start by finding a publisher with a readership that aligns closely with your customer base, and you'll increase your chances of success.
  6. Leverage your Facebook fan page. As an email marketer, you've probably been required to promote your company's Facebook fan page. It's a great idea, and it's time that your social media counterpart reciprocates with kindness. In addition to featuring your email registration prominently on your fan page, you can also ask them to periodically post an appeal to sign up, whether out of the goodness of their hearts or in return for some benefit: "Register to receive our emails and receive a coupon for 50%!"
  7. Reactivate your unengaged. So, this is not technically growing your list. However, I would argue that an inactive member on your list might as well not be on the list. Running reactivation campaigns should be part of the customer lifecycle strategy. Increasing engagement will also help with your overall deliverability.
  8. Invest in data hygiene. Collecting an undeliverable email address is so annoying. Make sure that you have proper hygiene rules to correct known errors such as two consecutive dots (i.e., tnathan@strongmail..com). Requiring subscribers to enter their email address twice can also help, but you'll want to test to see if that lowers subscription rates.
  9. Consider email append. If you have a large "offline" customer base, you may want to consider appending their email address and communicating with them "online." If interested, proceed slowly with a well-thought-out plan. If you are too aggressive, your customers may revolt and your ISP reputation may suffer.

So, follow the nine tips outlined above and enjoy watching your list grow the rest of the year!

Tal is off today. This column was originally published on January 24, 2012. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tal Nathan

An industry veteran, Tal Nathan has been helping organizations deliver valued and effective email marketing services for more than 10 years. In his role of vice president of client services, Nathan manages all client services for StrongMail to ensure that their respective clients receive the highest level of professional service available in today’s competitive marketplace. Previously, Nathan served as vice president and general manager of client services for Epsilon, where he led online strategy for the company’s top-tier clients, with a focus on the retail, travel and financial verticals. Prior to Epsilon, he was the vice president of client engineering at infoGroup, where he led and managed integration services for its Yesmail division. No stranger to technology, Nathan began his career at BDO Seldman, where he provided a range of business management and technology services to Fortune 500 companies. Nathan holds a BS in mechanical engineering from UCLA.

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