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Contact Database

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Types of email lists

Database growth is one of your goals as an email marketer. The more subscribers you have, the more potential customers you can reach. You should note that list building also gives context to the experience recipients have with a company and how this contributes to managing a solid contact database.

Opt-in and opt-out

There are a couple of different types of email lists, but the main ones you should be concerned about are opt-in and opt-out. Ideally, you should never buy or rent an email list, as these contacts did not willingly sign up to your email list. As you've seen from the legislation we described, this form of opt-in is illegal in many countries, or will be illegal in many countries down the line, and ISPs, which are internet service providers, will detect this, meaning your emails will end up in the spam folder.

So, what consists the opt-in list? The opt-in list includes users who've explicitly signed up to your email list. They need to know exactly what they're signing up for and why. The opt-out includes users who no longer wish to receive your emails, and you must remove them from future email campaigns.

Purchase list

Next, we have the purchase list, which you can do based on certain demographic or firmographic information, but you need to remember the risk that they did not sign up specifically to receive email from you.

Rented list

And finally, a rented list, which is similar to buying a list, which means you pay for a certain number of users of a demographic, but you don't get their email address. The company you rent the list from will make the email send, nut because you never owned the contact list, you will not see their email address.

Building a subscriber list

So, as I mentioned, you should always be growing your subscriber list, as an email marketer, and adding new contacts. This is all due to prevent database decay.

So, here are some of the best practices for building a subscriber list.

  • Blog signups: One of the best ways to add new subscribers is to have an active and interesting blog. When a user has visited your blog, they've shown an interest in your content through organic search, for example. Here, you can prompt them to sign up to your email list, where they can get the content delivered directly to their inbox.
  • Social media signups: By running paid promotions on your social media pages, you can drive users to a signup form. This means they are explicitly opting in from you.
  • Offline events: You can collect emails at trade shows or on the ground at other events, and then add them to your email list during or after the event. Be sure the first thing you do after an event is to send them a welcome email.
  • Partners: By partnering with a complementary company's website or email newsletter, you get your content in front of a new audience who might be interested in signing up for your emails. Make sure to partner with someone that makes sense for what you're offering, rather than something that conflicts or is too far removed from what you do.
  • Opt-in media: You can offer the user free content, such as an e-book, in exchange for their email address, which is a win-win for both parties.
  • Referrals: Encourage your current email subscribers to share or forward the email by adding social media icons or an email to a friend link.

List segmentation

List segmentation contributes to the growth and management of a contact database by keeping information about contacts, who are your leads, subscribers, customers, partners, competitors, employees, up-to-date and accurate.

If you didn't have any list segmentation, and instead just had one email list that all users were added to, then it will be very difficult to tell who and what message to send. When segmentation is put in place, you can easily see the breakdown of your audience, and tailor each message accordingly.

Additionally, if the information isn't kept up to date, then you may be sending the wrong message to the wrong user. For example, a user who signs up to your email list as a lead and then becomes a customer, why would they still need information based on their lead stage? They are not a customer yet then, but now they are.

Different information. If you don't keep the user's information or your segments updated, you will end up sending emails that are no longer relevant, which will have a negative effect on your list growth.

Target segmentation

Combining email segmentation, which is grouping similar users together, and contact management, which is keeping contact information updated, this will lead to higher performing email campaigns with higher open rates, higher click rates, and more engagement with your content further down the funnel.

You will receive less complaints from recipients saying they're receiving unwanted or irrelevant emails. They don't want this anymore. They are looking to unsubscribe. Providing relevant and targeted information to your subscribers will keep them engaged with your content and brand, and produce a better level of trust.

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Please note that the module slides are designed to work in collaboration with the module transcript document. It is recommended that you use both resources simultaneously.

Digital Marketing Resources:

Andrea Francis

Inbound marketing manager @ Poppulo

  • Inbound marketing manager in employee communications technology 
  • Worked at Relayr as a senior marketing manager, creating and implementing a global inbound marketing strategy
  • Worked with Hubspot as a marketing manager and funnel optimization specialist focusing on converting leads to qualified leads for the EMEA region
  • Content marketing and blogging with various SaaS startups at Startupbootcamp Amsterdam

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful. While relevant to this module, you will not be assessed on this content.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library


    Email Marketing
    Andrea Francis
    Skills Expert

    This module begins with the fundamentals of email marketing and how the concepts of segmentation, personalization, timing, engagement, and the legislation and regulations surrounding data protection underpin an effective email marketing strategy. The module introduces key email marketing tools and techniques and explores subscriber list and email design best practices. It covers how to create, test, and optimize an email campaign that maximizes email open and click rates and provides an overview of the value provided by marketing automation tools.