Email marketing: Scott Hardigree on email list rental

Scott Hardigree from Indiemark Frequently maligned and often misunderstood, email list rental is a widely accepted marketing practice that can provide a potent ROI, if you know what to look for and respect the inbox.

If you’re unfamiliar or unimpressed with renting an email list here’s the lowdown on the benefits as well as its key differentiating factors and considerations.

Not all email lists are created equal: know the difference

Unfortunately legitimate email list rental opportunities have been tarnished by the practices of less-than-stellar providers…be they list compilers, email addresses sellers, or bald-faced liars. None of which are likely to help a marketer’s ROI. Why should it? The email recipients have no relationship with the organization that possesses their email address, and sends your offer.

In my 12 years in email marketing I found that the best opportunities often lie in renting true subscriber lists. That is, branded email lists that are derived from publications, services, or products that the recipient knows, and values.

Email list rental: how it works & key considerations

  • The list owners will send the marketer’s offer to their subscribers.
  • The marketer pays a fee for this service, usually on a cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis.
  • Unlike direct mail or telemarketing, the marketer never sees the list.
  • Unlike inbound marketing, it’s all about producing a valuable offer, not content.
  • List selection is the most important factor, followed by the offer and the creative.

Benefits for email marketers

For many marketers email list rental is a consistent means of growing their own subscriber lists, packing their pipelines and of course, making sales directly.  Here are a few benefits.

  • Value of Association (with the list owner)
  • Low Cost of Acquisition (compare to other direct channels)
  • It’s Quick (test results and make adjustments in days, not weeks)
  • Better Deliverability (Compared to complied and purchase lists)

Benefits for email list owners

List owners come in many flavors such as retailers, event producers, associations, traditional publishers, and bloggers. All of which can find considerable value in email list rental too, albeit of a different sort.

  • Revenue ($1-2 per subscriber, per year is a good rule of thumb)
  • Control  (what, when, who)
  • Easy (no sales, marketing, billing – if you work with a Professional List Management Company).
  • Hygiene (weed out hard bounces more frequently)

Case in point

Going beyond selecting the right lists, wise marketers are no longer taking the “BUY MY STUFF” approach.

Instead list rental campaigns are getting more creative, take a look at this campaign from Surfline and Rip Curl.

It’s a great example of how publishers can provide their subscribers with direct access complimentary products, services, or offers, and win their hearts in the process.

The future of email rental and email deliverability

Email deliverability is an ongoing challenge for list marketers who use complied or purchased lists. In fact, “challenge” is probably too light of a description.

And that’s a good thing. It frees up mailboxes for marketers that want to target their offers to legitimate subscribers that have expressed interest and who may have a timely need, or find real value in the opportunity.

What do you think?

Scott Hardigree is founder & CEO of Indiemark, a
Florida-based email marketing agency (and a super-cool one as he says). Scott is a true email marketing expert and an avid blogger too. He
shares his expertise on several blogs and in different communities. You can connect with Scott on Twitter here.

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