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How List Building Can Help Your Business

March 25, 2012 · 5 comments

in Email Marketing


List building is a major component of a growing marketing team’s execution of its goals. It touches almost all marketing and customer services channels of a young business.

List building is especially attractive because, along with SEO and social media, it’s a “free” channel — in that it costs almost nothing to in the information and then reach out to leads. A handful of secrets are shared below.

Media Contacts

You should always be on the lookout for people to mention you in writing on the web. And in this ever-widening landscape of media publications, getting mentioned doesn’t have to mean a full-length, effusive feature in TechCrunch (though that would be nice).

Make and continually update a list of contacts at major publications for big announcements like funding rounds and product launches. Reach out to these folks well in advance of your press release to seed the landscape, and, if the hub is big enough, go ahead and “embargo” the news. This basically means that you give the hub an exclusive scoop on the story, if they promise not to publish it until a time of your choosing.

You should also keep a separate list of mid-level contacts that include specialized audiences like mommy bloggers and social media connectors, who can help promote your content and brand in narrow, but highly-targeted fields. Putting these lists together isn’t the most interesting or challenging work, but it’s a perfect project for an intern or entry-level assistant.

This list of contacts can also be used to prospect business development relationships. BD isn’t nearly as formal as it once was, and what used to start as a formal announcement of mutual interests can now be something as small as a blog post swap. These content partnerships can also help with link building and SEO – and they often originate from a contact list.

Newsletter Recipients

Every company has a different policy when it comes to the best practices surrounding email addresses. Some companies believe in actively buying and/or selling email addresses to augment and/or monetize their lists. Here at CoverHound we don’t buy or sell email addresses but we do have a healthy list of people who have asked to learn more about our platform. We keep in touch via email about new features, services and carriers publishing policies.

We also have a separate list of shoppers who were quoted insurance rates but opted not to purchase a policy at that time. We stay in touch from time to time about rate changes that might appeal to their specific needs.

It’s extremely important to segment lists so you can access the data needed quickly. This could be something as elaborate as a CRM (customer relationship management) system from a third-party vendor who curates your email lists, or just a system of tabs on an Excel or Google spreadsheet. Either way, you are going to have to slice and dice the lists to keep the audiences properly targeted and therefore engaged.

Job Applicants

This list is often overlooked by young businesses. Most companies now publish job listings on numerous pubs and glance at resumes whenever we have a chance. Take the process one step further and create a thorough list of everyone who has applied and list their strengths, even if you don’t ever decide to call those people in for an interview. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a Google Doc or Excel spreadsheet to share and refer to from time-to-time when a new position opens up.

All companies say that they’ll keep your resume on file after you apply for a job, but really try to go out of your way to create a growing list and actually do it. It’s a major asset to have a comprehensive list of folks who have expressed interest in being part of your team.

List building is a major part of many marketing efforts; it bolster for public relations, link building, content syndication, customer service, email outreach, recruiting — and other vital aspects of an operation. It’s a nitty-gritty and ongoing project but one that pays huge dividends as the company matures.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Damond Nollan March 25, 2012 at 11:51 pm

Josh, I like the idea of keeping media connections in a list. Hadn’t thought of that.

Do you have any additional information on strategies for segmenting our email lists?
Damond Nollan recently posted..C3 Church: Imagine Celebration WeekendMy Profile


techne March 26, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Thanks for sharing these secrets. Media contacts can be very helpful. It’s important to make contact and constantly update list of media contacts.
techne recently posted..Best Selling Tech BooksMy Profile


CoverHoundJosh March 26, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Thanks for the question Damond. I would segment your email list by position in your flow.

For example all the people who merely came to the site and shared their email list in one group. All the people who shopped but didn’t buy in another segment. All the people who put something in their cart but then bailed at the last minute in another. All those who bought, and so forth.

Hopefully helpful, Josh


Joseph Blanco April 21, 2012 at 12:42 am

I am a first time visitor an I can say that this post is really great. Very informative and I can really use this on my research on the topic titled “Inside the Internet World”. Keep up the good work.


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