How do I get my mitts on good, local, legal email lists?
March 17, 2005 1:19 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to market cool events happening at my (reputable) workplace to families with young children, and some other cool events to young professionals. We have a lovely and responsibly kept email list here of our own constituents, but we want to expand into new territory to promote events.

This is a sort of a marketing experiment. We've discovered that our email marketing has a better response rate than our dead tree marketing, plus it gives us better information (clickthru and open rates, etc.) so we'd like to try marketing this brand new thing to some brand new people in the area. Are there reputable, localized list buyers or traders out there whose opt-in lists really are opt-in? Should I stick with trading lists with other reputable businesses? For list trading is there any particular procedure or method that is best?
posted by By The Grace of God to Computers & Internet (2 answers total)
Best answer: Assuming you're in the US, make sure you understand CAN-SPAM first.

3rd party lists, feh. Better to focus on bolstering that clean list of people demonstrably interested in your particular organization/mission:

1) Raise awareness. For general outgoing email, auto-append a brief line about the newsletter's availability with a link for people to find out more/subscribe if interested.

2) Syndication is your friend. Post your news to the website, and make it available via RSS and Atom feeds.

4) Whenever you post your exciting buggets of news (via mail or web), always include an "ask" encouraging them to share the info with other who'd find it useful. is a good example of the power of viral marketing.

4) Add a (double-opt) in subscription feature to your website. On as many pages as possible. Cite specific reasons why readers would benefit. Post an archive of the previous postings so they can see the benefits for themselves.

5) Add a "recommend/mail this page to a friend" feature to your site's pages. Maybe. There's room for abuse with this, so I'd try to get max value from #1-4 before putting a lot of effort into implementing this particular feature.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 3:05 PM on March 17, 2005

Even if you could buy reputable "opt-in" lists, or find businesses to trade with, you should really consider not doing so. People really don't like to get unsolicited mail, even from reputable businesses, and you risk pissing off those on your mailing list if you trade their email addresses to other businesses.

Instead, I suggest you focus your marketing on getting people to subscribe to your email lists.

* Whatever dead tree material you use (postcards, flyers, press releases, etc.), stress the ability [and desirability] of signing up for future emails (at your website). [Which means you need privacy and other policies - clearly written and findable - that people find reassuring, like not selling or otherwise giving away any information, ever, to others.]

* Consider gearing any online advertising to specifically getting people to sign up (as opposed, say, to attend a specific event). [see nakedcodemonkey's posting for ideas]

* Make sure that any emails you do send up make it clear how to unsubscribe from your list (click-through links are ideal). Otherwise your organization could get a bad reputation.
posted by WestCoaster at 3:48 PM on March 17, 2005

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