This article was originally published by Tenfold and can be read in its entirety here.

As digital engagement continues to grow, companies are turning to avenues like social selling, and the next “big thing” that will launch them into the monetary stratosphere. While it’s always proactive to be on the lookout for new technologies and strategies that can increase the productivity and success of your business, it’s equally important to stay committed to practices that are still working; namely, email marketing.

The practice began in 1978, “when Gary Thurek, a marketing manager for the now defunct computer company Digital Equipment Corporation, sent out an unsolicited mass email promoting his firm’s computer products.” While Thurek was ultimately scolded for his unauthorized email outreach, it’s hard to argue against his efforts.

As a direct result of his mass email, DEC “sold $13 million or $14 million worth” of their products. Of course, what Thurek really did was create the first spam email; although it was certainly the beginning of what we now affectionately call email marketing.

Since that time, email marketing has become more advanced, and less intrusive. Rather than collect a random sampling of contact information and fire away, companies now target specific users who have already shown an interest in their product, been flagged due to their browsing patterns, or who at the very least have visited their website. Incidentally, this is where the email marketing journey begins; collecting the right data. 

In today’s age, it’s impossible to conduct a successful email marketing campaign without a populated list of users. The best (and most moral) way to accomplish this is to build a permission-based list.

“Permission-based email marketing software is used effectively everyday by hundreds of thousands of organizations to build their brands, increase sales, and strengthen relationships with their client and members. Permission-based email marketing is sending messages to people who have asked to receive them.”

Lists like this can be built by offering something to individuals. Exclusive access to sales, marketing, or technical advice; a download code to an eBook; or invitations to “members only” events. If your business offers a service, you can also offer free-demos in order to attract interested users.

email marketing

There are other ways to acquire a populated email marketing list; namely through purchasing them. While you can go about email marketing this way, it’s important to note that it’s always a terrible idea to do so.

For starters, a number of “reputable email marketing vendors don’t let you send emails to lists you’ve bought.” A marketing software like Hubspot simply won’t allow it, as they require that you “use opt-in email lists.” Moreover, even if you choose to use a less reputable software vendor, it’s not guaranteed that the list will work. “One customer’s ill-gotten email address list can poison the deliverability of the other customers on that shared IP address.”

Put more simply, you don’t want to take shortcuts when it comes to building an email marketing list. Take the time and effort into building a permissions-based list. Not only will you be targeting a better group of consumers, but there’s also no chance of your campaign being infected by a poisonous email address.