Small business lead generation is something every entrepreneur thinks about and email is often thought of as one of the most cost-effective forms of online mass marketing. Is there really a better way to reach 92 percent of all adult internet users with the click of one "send" button? Unfortunately, it's not as easy as it sounds. The idea of reaching so many people and growing a business using only a small marketing investment is appealing to many entrepreneurs, but often they find themselves with a disinterested - even dwindling - email recipient list. The worst part is that busy entrepreneurs may not have any idea how to go about growing their lists, nor do they have the resources to spend on a marketing vehicle that is going nowhere. The key to growing an email list is to first get to know the people you're sending messages to. This can be done easily by breaking the list into four groups of email recipients then sending unique messages that could possibly engage one or some of the groups.
Quality is (mostly) better than quantity
Marketers can say this until they're blue in the face, but the idea can be difficult to grasp. Consider this: Would you rather have 100,000 email subscribers or 1 million email subscribers? The answer would be the latter until you find out most of those 100,000 email subscribers fit the description of a company's ideal client; the 1 million subscribers are all just random, although it's likely some are potential customers. How does a small business build a quality list instead of focusing simply on quantity? It's not always easy, but it does pay off in spades. The answer lies in organizing an email list in four separate categories:
- Current customers
- Likely customers
- Listening recipients
- Dead ends
This is a pretty broad description of people who purchase (whether regular or a one-time thing) from a company. However, business owners should work to further segment a customer list into categories and demographics to best determine what people are most likely to be return customers and appreciate company emails.
This group probably signed up for a company's emails because they are generally interested in products and plan on buying. Perhaps they purchased in the past and are expected to purchase again in the near future. Send likely customers info about upcoming promotions, coupon codes and sales to help their interest boil over and bring on a sale.
Listeners aren't current or former customers, but it doesn't lessen their value on a company's email list. Although listening recipients may never become a customer themselves, they may still want to learn about the industry, even forwarding a helpful email or attractive discount to their own email contacts.
This group is filled with just that—dead ends. They don't often care enough about the company or the email to open the message, but that doesn't mean they can't be re-engaged. If it works, that's great; if not, it might be time to remove them from the list. Entrepreneurs may have luck segmenting their recipient list with the help of small business CRM, which can indicate how many people are really listening - and what they prefer to listen to.