A newsletter campaign will only be as good as its mailing list. It doesn’t matter how good the content is or how passionate the list owner will ever be, if the list is of poor quality, the campaign will never take off. So it stands to reason that if you want to succeed as a newsletter owner, you need to keep your list in tip-top shape. If you really want the holy grail of lists, here are a few pointers you should keep in mind:
Pick the Mailing List That Is Right For Your Customers
The first thing you have to ensure is that the people in your list should be the ones who will appreciate the things you have on offer. Whether you’re buying a list, renting, or building one, it should be full of people that fit the profile of your customers. Don’t be excited with volume if it’s just padded with random contacts.
Of course, before you can do this you need to know who your best customers are. So you should build a profile of your target customers just to give you a place to start. Find out the age, income, marital status, hobbies and interests, or any other attributes of the people who look like your best customers.
If You’re a Novice, Work With a List Broker
If you’re new to direct marketing, it’s understandable that you’ll be wary of making unnecessary expenses, and a list broker seems like one. After all, it’s easy for people to think “I can get a list on my own.” Especially if you already know who your customers are.
However, shelling out the money for a good list broker will be worth it, as it will let you hit the ground running. A good list broker will get you good quality lists, the best prices, and will be low risk because they can get your money back for bad names or duplicates. If you’re new, you’re likely not going to succeed when negotiating with list managers. A list broker will do all the important yet distracting tasks that you don’t want to do because your energy is better spent on other aspects of the business.
It is also worth pointing out that list brokers generally get their income from the list owners in the form of commissions, not you. You may get charge a fee for some services (such as list pruning, etc) but they’re minor charges, so you don’t need to worry about spending too much money.
Track the Effectiveness of Your Lists
As much as we’d like it, the sad fact is that there’s no magic list that will be effective indefinitely. A list decays over time – the contacts could become unresponsive, or the accounts themselves might no longer be functioning, or maybe the people behind the contacts are no longer interested. So even if you chanced upon a really, really high quality list, you shouldn’t expect that it will remain that way forever. Make a note of tracking the performance of your lists so that you can immediately see if the list has gone bad.
Last But Not the Least: Don’t Forget List Maintenance
As mentioned above, lists decay and go bad over time. And you have to track its performance to catch the point where it goes bad. So what do you do when you find that it has lost effectiveness? Do you scrap it and find another one? Not yet. Even if a list goes bad, there are probably a few contacts here and there that are still responsive or even converting. You don’t want to lose them along with all the non-performing contacts. So what you do first, instead of chucking everything out, is prune the list. Remove the bad contacts and keep the ones that are still active. This way, you have a chance of having a still-decently sized list to work with while you’re trying to procure a new one.