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5 best practises for high-end interior brands emailing purchased lists

Wayne McMaster

31 March 2015

Purchasing an email list is a smart, completely respectable thing to do, with the right strategy in place: it’s not casting a wider net — it’s about casting a deeper one.

Here are five emailing best practises for sending from purchased lists:

1. Establish sender authentication

It’s a good practice to have sender authentication in place prior to deploying to a purchased email list. Sender authentication will improve email deliverability by ensuring your email recipients’ security controls perceive that the server from which you send your email matches your main domain.

This is important because most email blasts are deployed through the mail server of a third-party email platform, not your company’s email server. The details of this process vary slightly depending on which service you’re using to deploy your email.

Our preferred system is with Copernica, and the use of a DKIM key. DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) are an important authentication mechanism to help protect both email receivers and email senders from forged and phishing email, they work behind the scenes to protect both the sender and recipient with very little effort.

2. Narrow your focus

A key to success with a purchased email list is having a firm grasp on your target audience. These profiles should align directly with your marketplace position.

Once you’ve identified the specific types of people who are most likely to derive value from your expertise and products, you can work with your email list provider to narrow the focus of your list purchase. Be specific. Really specific. The more detailed demographic information you can provide (e.g., county, city, title, company, interest, etc.), the better quality list you’ll get.

3. Purchase a large list

Let’s not lose sight of the main goal here. You’re purchasing emails because you want to expose more people to your website and your content, ultimately growing new business opportunities. From what we’ve seen, most small-to-midsize high-end interiors businesses sustain a 3 percent conversion rate on web call-to-actin (CTAs), regardless of the list size.

However, most of these same companies usually have pretty small lists (between 500 and 1,000 contacts). In order to drive significant traffic to your site and increase the overall number of conversions, you need a bigger list, ideally 3,000 to 5,000 contacts.

Organically growing a list of 500 contacts to 4,000 is a tall order, unless a large number of trade fairs and years pass. The main issue with organically grown list over such a long period of time will be the freshness and accuracy of those names on the list. A big benefit of purchasing a list is the ability to effectively double or even triple your master list size: Suddenly that 3 percent conversion rate becomes a lot more meaningful.

4. Clean your data

This is important. You might be working with the most reputable email list provider around, but it’s always a good idea to carve out a little extra in your budget to have your list professionally scrubbed before you deploy emails to it. This is a fraction of the cost of the list itself and is well worth the investment. From what we’ve seen, even the most quality list results include about 20% bad emails – it’s just the nature of the beast. It’s worth the extra budget to clean as many of these junk emails as possible prior to the first send. Cleaning your data should be factored into your organic list too, every year as a minimum.

5. Run A/B tests

A/B testing your marketing emails is a good habit to establish. It will always help you learn more about your email recipients, but it is especially true for a purchased list.

When planning communications to your newly purchased email list, consider dividing the send into two or three equal splits. Test your subject line. Test the day and time of your communication. Test the color red vs. the color blue. Test whatever else you can think of that might help you better connect with this group the next time around.


The law

The EU directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations came into UK law on December 2003 states that you must not contact individuals without their prior consent unless you have obtained their details in the course of a sale or negotiations of a sale.

Following this you may also contact them about your own similar products or services. If you buy or rent an email list from a third party you can use it only if the intended recipients have actively consented to receiving unsolicited messages by email from third parties.

It is not illegal to send unsolicited email messages about your business products or services to the employees of a Limited company or Limited Liability Partnership but you cannot send these messages to sole traders or unincorporated partnerships.

Individual employees of limited companies have a right under the Data Protection Act 1998 to require you to stop using their address for marketing, and it serves little purpose to send unsolicited marketing messages to those who do not want to receive them.


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