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We started with a list of friends, and friends of friends, and then added to that via opt-in forms and personally asking customers if they would like to join. This technique gives you much more loyal readers, though it does take some time to build.
Your previous customers are your best prospects, but if you don't have any way to remind them that you exist, what will bring them back?
Also, if you do buy a list (most firms rent, not sell, lists), make sure that it is an opt-in list. Otherwise, you are guilty of spamming and you can get into serious trouble.
I want to do an email marketing campaign. I could buy an email list, but I think there must be alternatives. I have never done this before.
Beware of purchasing email lists. I would think that industry has moved underground. These days, any "email lists" that you may purchase should be coming from an industry organization that is providing a list of "opt-in subscribers".
Most of the lists you see advertised online are "scraped" lists. They search for specific keywords on websites and then scrape any email addresses found. That is how most of the lists you see advertised for $29.00 or something like that are assembled. So, beware!
Is it a good idea to buy email lists - I mean are they any good? Or, are there more effective less expensive ways?
Again, if you are purchasing, it should be from a trusted and reputable resource that has a subscriber list who "wants to" or has "opted in" to receive special promotional offers from third parties and/or affiliates. And even then, these days, I think those are pretty much useless too. Many people don't realize there are subscription boxes checked during a checkout phase or similar. They end up on a list that gets sold and next thing you know, your being reported for Spam. :(
The ultimate subscriber lists are those that have been developed and nurtured over time. You just don't go out and buy a million email addresses and expect things to be a success. Also, you'll want to consider using a third party service for the email campaigns. Send from their domain, not yours. Let them handle all the bounces, spam reports, etc. I can tell you that if your spam reports are over a certain threshold, there are specific third parties that will close your account down in a heartbeat. So please, do be careful in how you gather and assemble your email marketing list.
I have a database of people who have subscribed to a program on the website. Are you suggesting during the sign up to that program I should put a checkbox saying--receive email newsletters?
Any other suggestions for creating opt in lists?
Your list of people who have signed up for the program is not a great list to send to. Just because you bought/downloaded something from someone doesn't necessarily mean that you want that company's solicitations in the future, and therefore you would be sending unsolicited email.
I would suggest that you check out some of the better-known email marketing company's websites to learn more about email marketing, spam, and privacy compliance.