Email marketing

As with direct marketing it is possible to buy lists of potential customers but again you must be aware of the legislation recently passed in the UK regarding marketing via email (see our Legal section on the Privacy and Electronics Communications Regs).

As you are marketing yourself and your products to business owners you will not need to gain prior consent to send marketing literature via email as business users act on an opt-out principal. Many still wisely elect to exercise caution when emailing cold unsolicited recipients as a first point of contact. You are also able to market to customers who have purchased services from you in the past but they must be given the opportunity to opt out on every occasion

Build your own email marketing database

It is worthwhile building your own marketing list, if you do this make sure that any registration pages are opt-in for news letters. Opt-in means that the end user has to take action to receive the newsletter, this usually means a check box that is blank on the form loading so that the user has to put a tick in it to allow you to contact them by email in the future. It is often a good idea to specify what the end user will receive and how often. If you collect opt-in while telephone canvassing why not try and double opt-in at this point by sending a confirmation email to which the potential is invited to reply to confirm their wishes. This way if complaints do arise you have their permission in writing.

Opt-in lists really do work - permission based marketing has been proven to be more successful than opt-out marketing. Spending the time to grow a list of potentials who want to be included in marketing campaigns, whether this be through your website, via telephone marketing or through your everyday networking activities is time well spend and will reap the greatest rewards in the long-term.

Sourcing an email marketing list from a provider

There are many places that you can source email lists, but beware that many lists in existence are likely to be op-out, where the end user has had to remove a tick from a check box or similar to avoid receiving the news wire. Make sure you confirm with the provider of the list that it is an opt-in list and whether or not users have opted to receive third party emails. If the answer is no to either of these questions then not only might you be breaking the law by contacting people on the list but you will likely get a poor response to the mail shot and, if there is a problem or complaint you will be the person that has to handle it - not the provider of the list.  Data lists are not always as up to date as you'd expect them to be, so ask when the list was last cleaned.

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