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Email Address Lists

You decided to start an electronic newsletter or run a marketing campaign. But you do not have any addresses. Where to get them?

Purchasing Email Address Lists

First, you need to know how the addresses on the list were collected. Every list seller will tell you that this is a double opt-in list. In reality, people on the list may be obtained in a number of ways, which hardly can be called double opt-in.

People may have subscribed to receive information from some specific company. They had no idea that this company is going to sell the list to you. They don't know anything about you, and when you send them email, they will treat it as a spam.

The company that builds the opt-in list may have used affiliates who supplied addresses of people who had never subscribed for anything. The company may honestly believe that they opted in and even require a proof - such as IP address or browser information of the subscriber, but this may be easily faked by unscrupulous affiliates.

Addresses may be re-sold several times, so that the origin of the recipient is really unknown.

You can get an opt-in lists that have been heavily marketed to in the past to the point where response rate is virtually zero.

Some companies may sell addresses of people who opted out and therefore are not useful for the company.

It is worth mentioning that many addresses on the list you acquire may happen to be undeliverable.

Addresses may be harvested from Web sites or tricked out of mail servers.

In a worst case scenario, addresses on the list may be computer generated.

The worst problem is that there is no way for you to find out how the addresses were acquired. If you look at the spam in your mailbox, you can see that many spammers truly believe that you volunteered to receive their emails. This is because the list that they have acquired was sold to them as double opt-in.

Second, you need a targeted list. It is absolutely pointless to send your emails to people who have no interest in your products or services. Moreover, it is dangerous, because people who receive untargeted advertising may report you as a spammer.

Email lists are usually segmented into broad categories, such as "Business" or "Hobby". The IP addresses used during subscription process may be used to reveal geographical territory. This is a very broad categorization, and if you use these lists, most of the emails will go to uninterested audience.

Finally, you would be interested in sending your emails to people who are not constantly pounded with endless advertising. If they receive fifty, or may be hundred emails a day, your message is likely to be lost in the flow and remain unnoticed. If the list is sold to many advertisers, the people who are on the list are receiving many emails.

Before you buy a list, you may ask for a small sample to test how your email message is performing. Beware, that, for the test purposes, you may be given addresses of much higher quality.

In short, purchasing lists is not the best method of acquisition, because you're getting unreliable, untargeted and heavily marketed prospects.

Harvesting Addresses from the Web

You can use software programs to surf the Web and extract email addresses from newsgroups or Web sites. Such software programs usually prompt you to enter few keywords, then start searching from the main search engines and spread over the Web sites. Fast extractors can get you several thousand addresses per hour.

Main problem with such method is that the recipients have not asked for your emails and many of them are likely to treat you as a spammer - send complaints to your ISP etc.

These people are heavily spammed by everyone who uses web extractors to harvest their emails. Those of them who could, removed their addresses from the Web pages.

Keyword search does not necessarily bring you targeted prospects. For example, if you sell widgets and then search for websites that mention widgets, you're more likely to get addresses of your competitors rather than customers. Most of the addresses will be totally irrelevant. Just go to Google and search for your keywords to see how irrelevant the results could be.

Thus, Web harvesting should not be used because the addresses that you extract are untargeted and heavily marketed to.

Building your own database

You may have some addresses already - your customers, people who were interested in your products. This is a good place to start from. It is much easier to deal with people who are already interested in your business and like you.

If you have a website, then you have a constant flow of visitors. Some of them may be interested in your services, but not ready to buy yet - give them an opportunity to leave you their email addresses. Create a simple newsletter and send them news about your products or services, occasional offers etc. Put a small subscription form on a side bar of your web site requesting their name, address, or may be other information. You will not believe how high your response rate could be.

This method is slow, but it will build you high quality list:

Very reliable because you know where every address came from.

Highly targeted because these people are interested in you.

Extremely fresh because only you send to this list.

Take a look at AY Mail which will let you run your newsletter seamlessly. Well, you could say that all these talks about newsletter is to tell you about AY Mail. Not so, AY Mail is just a software, it would work equally well with purchased or harvested lists. We advocate newsletters because this is what we believe in and we know that it works.

If you're interested in what we have to say, use the subscription form on the side bar, and we'll bring you more information.

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