Is Your Business Email List a Targeted Direct Mail List?

If you have a subscription or opt-in list for your business, then you already have an email list. But if you want to make this an effective business email list, you have to use it like a direct mail list. So how do you turn just any old email list into a business email list?

Back in the “good old days” of using only snail mail letters with envelopes to market products and services directly to people, sending a marketing message was expensive. Marketers had to have the copy written, printed, stuffed in envelopes, and mailed with real stamps. But they couldn’t just grab names from the phone book to receive their marketing messages; the cost would have been prohibitive. So they became experts at defining their target markets (people who were the most likely to actually be interested in what they have to offer).

One way they identified good prospects was to rent mailing lists from magazines and other companies who had physical addresses for people who were already a part of a subscription or group that was related to the offer.

Are You a Lazy Marketer?

In this internet age, we have more inexpensive ways to market our products and services, and this is great. But a problem is that this often makes us lazy marketers.

After all, we don’t have to pay almost a dollar (e.g., list rental, copywriting costs, printing, envelope stuffing, etc.) for each message we send out when we use email marketing. An email costs almost nothing to send, so many marketers hammer their lists with all kinds of offers, some related to the subscribers’ interests, and many not related at all.

The good news is that if you create your marketing and set up your lists with the mindset of a direct mail list user, you can create much more effective email marketing campaigns and build a business email list… or better yet, build many business email lists!

Having multiple targeted lists is easy to do if you use an automated email management system for your opt-in pages and autoresponders, if you remember a few things when you set up your individual lists.

Most email management systems will allow you to create an unlimited number of lists, or autoresponder sequences. You will want to take advantage of this, and create different ways for people to identify their areas of interest.

Let’s say you have an online fishing-related business, and you offer your own products as well as affiliate products. Instead of having one opt-in page about fishing in general to capture names and build your business email list, create more targeted opt-in pages for smaller fishing niches such as Colorado fly fishing, small lake Bass fishing, trolling techniques for boat fishermen, fly fishing for women, etc.

You now have many business email lists that you built using direct mail list principles.

Your next step is to continue to market to each list, offering a mix of targeted content and offers within the narrow interests your prospects indicated when they opted in to your list. Don’t send information on stream fly fishing to people who opted in to learn more about trolling techniques on big lakes – they just won’t care.

Instead, stick to your list-members’ topics of interest and related interests, and you will find that your sales will grow faster, since you will be listening to your prospects and customers and meeting their individual needs and wants.

Tell me what you think. Post your comments below...

  1. Cody Johnson

    Just wanted to add a hint. It’s wise to ask many questions if a list is very large (greater than 200,000 names). In those cases you’d be wise to make sure you know where the names came from. Often times, this means it is a compiled file and won’t be suitable for a niche product offer.

    Reply ·
  2. Deb

    Hi Cody – you are so correct if you are buying or renting a direct mail list. That’s a complicated business, with many pitfalls, and your word of caution is right on.

    But we aren’t advocating that people buy or rent email lists.

    We are recommending that you build your lists as though they were direct mail lists. In other words, create individual opt-in pages leading to the creation of a number of your own targeted email lists, so you can respect your subscribers by sending them content and offers that are smack dab in their areas of interest. It takes a bit of up-front thought and organization, but pays big dividends in happy subscribers and sales.

    Reply ·
  3. chloe

    Thanks for the well written article. It could be of big help to those who not aware yet of what they are doing. Building these business mailing lists will be an asset to a company in expanding there market.

    Reply ·
  4. Mynders

    Chloe, you’re right. many problems can be solved if, as marketers, we put ourselves in the position of our prospects. If they’re receiving emails about different topics from the same source, it destroys credibility.

    Targeted sublists within a broad market are best.

    Reply ·

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