Increasing the number of email addresses on your contact list is beneficial and OutboundEngine recommends adding to your list as often as possible. However, there are ways to gather email addresses that will have a positive impact and there are other practices that may cause negative effects.
Acceptable ways of obtaining email addresses:
- Adding an opt-in field on your website. OutboundEngine has made this easy for you by creating the HTML for you to add to your website. Simply log in to your account and click on your profile image in the upper-right hand corner and select Account Settings. Click on the Generate Contact Form Markup button in the Embed Contact Form. Copy the link and send this to your website administrator to add to your site. Anyone who enters their information will automatically be added to your contact list in OutboundEngine.
- Have an opt-in form at your next presentation or trade show. You are engaging in conversations with individuals who are interested in the service that you provide. Simply ask them to add their email address to your opt-in form to receive timely, interesting information from you. If you've built a good rapport, the chances are they will gladly add their email address to your list!
- Offer a downloadable white-paper or informative video. If a prospect is visiting your website and they are interested in downloading a white-paper or video, ask them for their email address in exchange (and of course let them know they are opting-in for a newsletter.) Subscribers are usually more apt to give up their email address when they are receiving something in return.
Unacceptable ways of obtaining email addresses:
- Using an email account "mining" service. This type of service will scour through each email in your email account and extract any email address that are included in the body, header, footer, etc. Using this type of service will gather a large amount of email address that should not be emailed such as "no-reply", "unsubscribe", "orders", etc. Emailing these types of email addresses against their purposes can hinder your deliverability rate and also may cause you to be blocked from emailing your true contact at that company.
- Gathering a list of email addresses that you have emailed since you opened your email account. This list will include the customer service rep that you emailed when your vaccuum stopped working, the billing contact at your local cleaner, or your former boss and his assistant. These individuals did not sign up to receive your newsletter and may not find your friendly newsletter as a welcome "intruder" to their inbox.
- Purchasing a list of email addresses. There are many reasons why purchasing a list can be a bad idea. First and foremost, the recipient did not sign up to receive your emails and is not expecting it. This will cause a recipient to quickly identify your email as spam, which is never a good thing! Also, if you bought the list, there is high chance that someone else has bought the same list, actually several other people. Your email will be amongst several others of unwanted and quickly deleted emails.