By Ryan Malone

quality email marketing lists

When your email database is cluttered with email addresses that your company purchased, a buddy gave you or you brought from a previous position, it affects several different aspects of a successful email marketing initiative:

  • It gives you false numbers regarding how many real emails you are sending. 
  • It affects the reporting regarding the campaign success or failure and the true customers and prospects that you are reaching. 

Although people are less guarded about sharing their email address than they used to be, they are also much quicker about hitting that “Report SPAM” button even if they did ask to receive your email in the first place. Here are 8 do’s and don’ts to help you build a quality email marketing list.

email marketing dos

  1. Pique their interest
    An ebook, tip sheet or white paper offering real information is a guaranteed way to generate curiosity about your products, services or industry. When you offer to share your expertise and knowledge, you will draw their interest and they will be willing to give up their email for great information.
  2. Guide them
    When you’ve gotten their attention, how do you get them to a form? Calls to action! Strategically placed call to action buttons throughout the site point visitors to the content’s landing pages. Reinforce the offer and prompt them to complete the form. Then collect their information in exchange for amazing content.  
  3. Make it a requirement
    Once you’ve gotten their attention, they’ve clicked on your offer/CTA, arrived at your landing page, how do you insure that they give you their email address? Require it. There can be other form fields that are optional, but the usual required ones are: Name, Email Address and Phone. Optional form fields can include Company Name, Title, and industry related questions. Also be sure to have a checkbox for them to opt-in to receiving your newsletter or other information via email.
  4. Remember your manners
    After they complete the form, redirect them to a Thank You page where they can access the content via download. Follow that up with an email that has a direct link to the information they’ve requested. In that email also outline how you will be contacting them in the future. When you thank new prospects and customers, you make the experience more personal, which is key to marketing success.
  5. email marketing donts2Force it
    Don’t force website visitors into giving their email address in order to view regular content like blogs, services overviews or online brochures. The quickest way to lose someone on a web page is asking for their information too soon. You have to prove to them WHY they want to look for the opportunity to learn more from your company.
  6. Steal it
    Never, ever, ever steal email addresses from a competitor or other source. Don’t bring email contacts from an old job and immediately start sending them new email messages without asking their permission first. If you had a good relationship with them, they will want to receive your messages. If you just grabbed the company’s database as you made your exit, you are opening yourself up to being flagged for sending spam or even legal consequences.
  7. Buy it
    When you buy an email list, it is only one step above stealing it. Yes these folks have indicated SOMEWHERE that they’d like more information about XYZ, but they sure didn’t tell you directly. This is a quick trip to the trash folder and repeated contact can get you flagged as SPAM with their email provider. You can get unflagged, but it takes a lot of time and hard work to do so. Better to just play it clean from the start and build your own list.
  8. Flood it
    Even if someone has signed up to receive emails from your company, be cautious about how often you send them. Once a week or even once a day is acceptable - if that is what they’ve agreed to and are expecting. Just be sure to give them what they’re expecting. Don’t surprise them with twice the emails that they thought they signed up for - that’s a quick way to "Unsubscribe" and the trash folder.

A quality email list comes from building relationships with your prospects, current and past customers. When they expect to (and often look forward to) receiving your email, open rates, click through rates and conversion rates will rise. Be sure to employ these Do's and Don't for email marketing and enjoy the success.

What was your biggest email marketing faux pas?


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Ryan Malone

About the author

Ryan Malone is the founder and CEO of SmartBug Media and is a veteran of Deloitte & Touche, Seagate and several venture-backed technology companies. When he's not leading SmartBug and helping clients build high-octane marketing organizations, he's loving his wife and daughters and unsuccessfully learning the guitar. Go Terps! Read more articles by Ryan Malone.

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