The email contact list is a huge asset for Marketers in terms of lead generation and customer retention. It is especially useful in gaining insight into how a customer base consumes and and reacts to your brand over time.

However, despite its many benefits, list growth often gets a bad rap. Not only does it takes time to organically acquire new contacts, customers are opting out on a daily or weekly basis. The option of purchasing or borrowing lists might seem like an appealing alternative, but it is a definite no-go vis-à-vis the different ISPs!

Feeling a little defeated? This Flight School Friday, we’ve put together a few pain-free practices and handy tool sets to help you grow your email list or to help improve the great work you’ve been doing so far!

Always ask customers to opt-in. Double opt-in, if possible.

The purpose of asking customers to opt-in to your email marketing is two-fold; to protect your sender reputation and to ensure customers are engaged and receptive to your brand and content. Some may argue that asking for opt-in results in a smaller contact list since customers have to perform this extra step. However, not asking for permission before sending puts you at risk of being marked as spam or worse, being blacklisted by an ISP. Just one abuse complaint can lead to having both your Domain name and IP addresses blacklisted. In some countries (France and Canada to name a few), there are even laws in place which penalize users who send unsolicited emails!

We at Mailjet recommend using a double-opt in process. As an added layer to the standard opt-in, customers receive a triggered confirmation email that they have to click on to reconfirm their email address and subscription preference. This ensures that the customer provides an active, accurate email address which helps avoids spam traps and bounces – both of which ISPs look at very closely to judge the quality of your emails and decide whether or not you are allowed to enter through their pearly inbox gates.

Never buy email lists, no matter how tempting it may be.

It may seem like a quick and easy way to a high ROI, but buying email lists is forbidden by ISPs. Not only is there is no way for you to determine the quality of the customers on your purchased or rented list but more importantly, these customers are unfamiliar with your brand and will be quick to penalize you for sending them an unsolicited message. You run the big risk of being blacklisted and/or marked as spam in a matter of seconds after hitting the ‘send’ button. Just say no to the temptation of buying or renting contacts.

To protect the reputation and deliverability rates of our senders, Mailjet does not allow the use of purchased or borrowed contact lists.

Start with good content.

Engage customers by first presenting them with rich, relevant content through your blog, ebook or white papers. Provide these users with an option to subscribe to this content via email. This indirect approach will ensure a higher list quality and sender reputation because customers who opt-in to receive your messages are already familiar with your brand and will be receptive to your contact and stay engaged.

Leverage other social channels to grow your list.

Beyond awesome brand recognition and content, online sweepstakes may be an additional way to to grow your brand recognition and contact list but be careful, it has to be done correctly. They need to absolutely know that the counterpart of submitting their email address for a prize or giveaway is that you are also asking them for their permission to add their email address to your contact list. This needs to be done with full transparency and an opt-in mechanism.

Last but not least, once you have put the proper opt-in processes in place, we highly recommend leveraging the different technical tools that exist out there to make sure that once a customer submits their email address and their permission to use it, that you can contact them just as soon afterwards while your brand is still fresh in their memory.  This means adding their contact information to your contact list as soon as possible.

This is why at Mailjet, we have provided a comprehensive set of different Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that allow you to connect your site with your Mailjet account in various ways, including synchronizing your contact list automatically in real time so that you don’t skip a beat.  For more info, check out our shiny new Dev Zone here.

We’re equally very excited to announce recent integrations with partners such as ManyContacts and Rafflecopter, two solutions that help make new customer acquisition easy (the right way, of course) and more insightful. Our integrations allow you to seamlessly synchronize contact lists to and from these partners and your Mailjet contact list(s).

 

Happy customer growing and retention building! Be sure to stay tuned for the next edition of Flight School Friday!

[ Posted Fri, 16 May 2014 16:33:00 ]