Email lists and marketing software: What’s available?
A guide to the tools available for getting your message to customers
There are a large number of people on the internet that sell lists of email addresses. Many of these will lay claim to all sorts of response rates and accuracy of their data, and the ability for them to sell you 10,000 email names that are “live” and fit your target market. Be very careful of such offers.
Validate the company selling the data and make sure they are reputable. What other clients do they have and what response rate did they get? Follow up any references to make sure they are real. If in doubt, choose another supplier – after all it is your reputation at risk here.
Any list broker you work with must guarantee that the email address owners have opted in to and confirmed they wish to receive emails. Do not buy CDs with millions of names and email addresses on them. These have been created using automated software (mostly spam) and their use is illegal as it is spamming.
In reality the best email list you can get is one that you have built up over time in your own business, with supporting data about the purchases a client has made AND an agreement from the client to receive email offers.
Email list providers include:
- Mailtrack Media
- TLS Data
Email list software
It is possible to use products such as Microsoft Outlook to send mailings, but you will need to manually manage users requesting to opt out of future mails. Sending bulk email through your ISP may violate your user contract and have you categorised as a spammer.
Remember that if you put all of the recipients in the To: or CC: line everyone will see everyone else on the list and replies and bounced messages may go to everyone. In most email programs if you use the BCC: (blind carbon copy) field for the email addresses people will not see who else is on the list. If you are sending out an email you must make sure that your anti-virus software is up to date. If you send out a virus to 1000 potential customers, you can guarantee none of them will be impressed.
List management can be difficult. If you are sending out a lot of legitimate, non-spam emails then it may be an idea to invest in some list management software that is designed to help you manage the names and addresses of recipients. A hosted solution may cost you £200 per month, but the provider will be responsible for managing your email traffic.
The following software may help in managing your email lists:
- EMAIL LABS
- I.S. MAX
Email response tracking
Knowing how successful your emails have been is critical. There are a couple of techniques you can use to measure the response rate. If you embed a link to a specific web page, created for the promotion, you can see how many people click through to the page. You could also originate the email from a different email address, such as “JanuaryOffer@Businessname.com“, and track the replies you get to that email inbox.
Source: Promoting your business using email
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