Targeted Mailing Lists
Using targeted mailing lists
Targeted mailing lists have a much higher success rate than untargeted ones. It stands to reason that if the email addresses on a list are carefully chosen, you will have more success with that list than with a list composed of randomly picked email addresses. However, creating targeted mailing lists is far from being an exact science.
Large targeted mailing lists
To create targeted mailing lists on a large scale, you will probably need to use a piece of software called a harvester, or buy a list from someone who has used such software to create it. For example, imagine you are selling cowboy hats. A good email address harvester will use a search engine to gather email addresses from websites containing the words "cowboy" and "hat". A very good email address harvester will be programmed with a list of related phrases, such as "country and western" and "Wild West". This gives you a better chance of finding customers than you would if the harvesting software had scanned websites at random. However, the majority of addresses will not belong to potential customers. Some of the addresses will be invalid, so emails sent to them will bounce back to you. Many of the rest will belong to people who have no interest in your product. The presence of an email address on a webpage containing the word "cowboy" doesn't mean that its owner wants to buy a cowboy hat. It might mean that the owner is launching a campaign against cowboy builders, or even that the address belongs to a rival company that also sells cowboy hats.
However, don't forget that the best way of building a targeted mailing list is to start with your existing customers, as you have a much better chance of a positive response from them. Our page on where to buy mailing list s explains that having a registration option on your website is a good idea, but explains why mandatory registration for all site visitors is a bad idea.
Smaller targeted mailing lists
The addresses for smaller targeted mailing lists are usually gathered in the real world rather than online. Our page on where to buy mailing lists gives some ways of doing this.
Buying targeted mailing lists
As with any other kind of mailing list, the quality of the list and the reliability of the list seller cannot be guaranteed. Our page on the pitfalls of direct mailing lists explains this in more depth. However, companies that sell very high-quality targeted email lists are likely to also sell other details, such as people's postal addresses and telephone numbers.
GIGO - Garbage In, Garbage Out - is a computer programmer's motto, but it applies to email marketers too. The more resources you invest in building up a targeted mailing list, the more response you will get from that list. Spammers are happy with the low returns that cheap bulk mailings provide, but legitimate businesses wanting to build up a customer base should concentrate on quality, not quantity, of contacts.