Successful Email Lists: Do You Have One?

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                                 By: Todd Armstrong (Affiliate Strategist) / Todd@clickbooth.com

You’ve done the hard part. A list of 2 million email addresses is now in your possession and the money is soon to roll in. But what should be expected? Realistically, how much money can you really make with a list this size, and what kinds of things might derail your efforts?

The first thing to consider is the source of the list. Was it purchased from a list rental service who has given this same list to 50 publishers in the past year, thus diminishing the real value of the list? Was the list purchased outright from a list management company, who in all likelihood sold an identical list to 3 or 4 other publishers? Did you build the list through the exchange of providing something of value to your users, and it includes people who voluntarily gave you their email addresses and expect to receive your emails? All of these methods will yield very different results, with a homegrown list seeing the best return and a rented list seeing the worst.

After getting your hands on an email delivery platform, you should be ready to get started. You’ll sign up for a CPA network, choose a few offers to mail (with the help of your AM), transfer the links over, and let the millions just pile up, right? Not so fast. If it were that easy than everyone would have caught on by now. The truth is that mailing takes a lot of hard work and talent. It’s highly unlikely that everything will go exactly as planned, and you must to be ready to identify when and where a problem might have occurred. The only way to gain the experience needed to develop a thorough understanding of what techniques are most effective is through trial and error.

Let’s take a look at some of the obstacles you might face when getting started. If the list has been rented, there are a number of variables that you may be unsure of, and this is only going to make things more complicated. First, where did the list come from? Whether it’s is a collection of email addresses gathered from various sources, or a list that has been strategically built from one common source, this kind of information is very important for a mailer to know. A list gathered from an education website, for example, will be easier to work with. You will automatically have a general understanding of the audience and will be able to identify what offers might be of interest to them. Usually an education website attracts a younger crowd, and knowing this, it is reasonable to assume that these same users would be interested in dating offers, technology offers, weight loss offers, etc. On the other hand, a list generated from multiple sources will be a bit tougher to understand. Without having any common thread to connect the users to, you will have to learn what is of interest by trial and error. This is a less effective way to mail, and there is a chance that many users who receive emails not relevant to them will opt out along the way.

Choosing to build a home grown list is the best way to go, although tedious to build, this will be the most valuable type of list. The advantages to building your own list are not only knowing where the users signed up, but also having the ability to qualify the email addresses through a double opt in process. While not all users who sign up initially will double opt-in, those who do will be very responsive, which in turn, will lead to higher epc’s, as well as keep your sender score and mailing reputation very high. Another advantage to this approach is that less time and money will be wasted. Server costs can become expensive, so by not sending emails to unresponsive email addresses, this will lessen the investment needed to become a top notch mailer, and increase your profit.

So as you can see, there are many ways to get started in email marketing. Some ways are easy and some take a lot of time and hard work. Just remember that you usually get out what you put in. So if you want to find out which way is right for you, ask yourself how much time your willing to invest and you’ll discover your best strategy.

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