One of the most critical tasks in marketing any offer is email marketing, and email marketing, in turn, requires a good list. An email list is a record of contacts that you aim to send promotional emails to, and you will want it to include nothing less than people who are potentially interested in what your business can offer.
This is, after all, a list of people that you want to build a relationship with and turn into customers. The quality of your list is, therefore, key to the success of your email marketing campaign, but how exactly can you build one?
There are so many list building techniques out there, each of which offers various advantages and disadvantages over one another. Regardless of your approach, though, you will always end up following three very basic steps: create a buyer persona, build your list, and verify your contacts. We will be tackling each of these steps below.
Step 1: Build a Buyer Persona
The term “buyer persona” tends to crop up a lot in talks involving e-commerce and marketing. It refers to your very own image of the ideal customer for your business, i. e. the sort of people that you want to do business with.
You can’t just go ahead and advertise your people to an audience composed of a random bunch of people, and see who ends up buying from you.
The buyer persona is basically a guide that will show you who exactly should your marketing campaign target, and from what subset of the population should you get the emails that will comprise your list.
Crafting a buyer persona can be compared to creating a custom character in a tabletop role-playing game. Here, you define your ideal customer’s characteristics and behavior, all of which should have relevance to your business.
Typically, the details in your buyer persona will include attributes such as their age, the size of their income, and the sort of products that they are interested in.
It may also include supporting details that will further flesh out your image of the ideal customer, such as their hobbies, their specific interests, their favorite TV shows, and even their physical attributes, and this is just to name a few.
In any case, once you have built your buyer persona, you should be able to know the exact audience that you will have to target with your list building efforts.
This will help you do away with the unhealthy habit of trial-and-error selling and instead help you focus on people that are most likely to bite into your offers.
Step 2: Build Your List
Once you are able to identify the people that you should target, it is about time to proceed to the very meat of list building which is, well, building your list. This can be a complicated process as it involves a lot of research and work, and this is the stage where those fancy list-building techniques come to play.
There are so many ways to build a list, and one of these is straight up collecting the email addresses of people that matches your buyer persona best. This method will involve a lot of research and, thankfully, there are so many tools that can help you out in this matter.
You can always start with social media for that matter; B2B marketers, in particular, can use the professional networking site LinkedIn as well as the startup database Crunchbase.
Now not all of the names that you have gathered in the process has an email address attached to it, so finding this is another thing that you should work on. You can always start with their social media profiles or a Google search.
If they have a website, you may be able to find their email addresses in the footer, the About Us page, or their Contact page. Understandably, doing things this way can be very time consuming, and it helps that there are email address search tools like Hunter.io and ContactOut that can make things a lot easier.
Sending emails to a list built this way, however, does not always get a favorable response. You are essentially doing things the hard, cold way, and unsolicited cold emails are sometimes treated as unwelcome spam.
Now if you are unwilling to risk getting a bad rap from potential buyers, you can always go the longer route of getting people to willingly hand over their emails to you.
This is done through opt-in forms in your site or by driving traffic to a funnel designed to help you build your list.
This method will require you to pour in some investment on the technical side of things, i. e. building a site, creating a funnel, or installing an opt-in form to your pages. You can also practically marry this technique with your content marketing efforts for maximum effect.
Driving traffic to a very interesting piece of content on a page with strategically placed opt-in forms is a quick way to organically build your list.
As you can tell, this method will take quite some time but, when done right, you will end up with an infinitely growing email list of contacts who are willing to hear about your pitch and are likely open to spending money on what you offer.
Step 3: Validate Your Email List
Now, once you have your list in order, you should not immediately plug it into your email marketing software and start shooting emails down their inboxes. It is always best to validate your list first so as to assure that you are going to send emails to valid contacts. Nothing can be worse for your email marketing efforts than getting a Mailer Daemon error or sending to a different person just because your prospect made a typo.
One great way to do this is through email address verification tools like Zero Bounce. If this is a little too expensive for you, there is another effective way of validating your contacts’ email addresses: sending an introductory email to your contacts.
This is a great way to warm them up to your actual promotional email sequence while validating their identity. Even if they are not the exact person that you are looking to contact, you will end up coming off as someone who is simply looking for somebody — not exactly a welcome sight in any inbox, but definitely is a great way to get a verifying response.
Building an email list can be quite straightforward when you come to think about it. All that you really need to do is to know who to reach out to, get their contact details, and validate the list that you have built for integrity. Your approach to this may vary, but that right there is what it all adds up to.