Zen and the Art of Email List Maintenance

Many business owners new and old ponder the age-old question of how to build and expand an email list for their online marketing efforts. While the question of building a list is important, the more important thing to consider out of the box is how to maintain it once it inevitably reaches critical mass (what can I say, I am more of glass is too big kind of guy).

Now some people like to stick with the old capture an email one at a time and maintain the list offline is something high-tech like a spreadsheet way of doing things. This is very time-consuming and leaves you open to all sorts of human error issues from forgetting to add a name to the list all the way to forgetting to unsubscribe someone. Others may  have a custom application that captures the information in a database to try to keep the issues at a minimum and lessen the time it takes each month to maintain their list but this way still requires you to handle subscribes and unsubscribes somewhat manually.

All this time spent maintaining your email list can defeat the purpose of having one in the first place because rather than being able to concentrate on your business and making your clients aware of the latest and greatest, you are spending all of that quality marketing time (that could be spent on developing your promotion or enhancing your product) on making sure that the little old lady in Pasadena (who may not even get to her email for days at a time) is receiving your less than well thought out message. So what is the answer? When in doubt go to the professionals!

As I have stated in previous posts, a veritable gaggle of reasonable priced companies have popped up to fill this void. Now I know what you are thinking,”Why would I have a company do nothing but maintain my list?” and the simple answer is that you wouldn’t. The companies I am talking about specialize in email delivery but they offer this business saving service FREE as a part of using their service. And small businesses can easily find FREE Trials (like AWeber, VerticalResponse, and GetResponse for example) and depending on your list size and mailing requirements FREE forever (like my personal favorite MailChimp).

So seriously, how can they help?

  1. Well, to start they will allow you to import your existing list so you breathe a little easier.
  2. Then they provide you with a form you can place on your website to use for capturing email information. This is key because information submitted here goes right to your list and if you have more than one, that can be delineated as well to make sure that people who wanted to hear more about your great Green Bean Casserole recipe can be separated from those interested in your 14 ways to deal with household insect incursions.
  3. Once people are subscribed they can be sent a verification email so you can be doubly sure that they wanted to receive email from you and are not just the innocent victim of a vindictive co-worker who knows they have an irrational fear of overcooked legumes and singed them up for your casserole recipe list as a way to get back at them for not sharing their Shamrock shake…but I digress.
  4. And in the event that they intended to subscribe but your recipes somehow remind them too much of their dearly departed aunt Flo (the Green Bean Casserole Queen of Tallulah Falls), they can use a link provided to unsubscribe from your list.

With all of this functionality at your finger tips, you are now no longer a slave to the innumerable changes to your list each month. Now you can focus on the business of marketing your products/services secure in the knowledge that the list you use to disseminate your pearls of business brilliance is the best list it can be each and every time you setup a new campaign. And who knows, with all this extra time you may want to start another list or two with which to dazzle the masses with your new-found love for croquet mallets.