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Build or Buy—Should You Build Your Own Opt-In E-Mail List?

by Mohamed Rabea

The easiest way to acquire an e-mail list for your e-zine or e-mail marketing is just to buy one. They're not too expensive, and they provide you with a long list of names and e-mail addresses.

But if there is one thing I've learned as the owner of an e-zine, it is that the easy road is not always the one that brings you the best results. The problem with buying an e-mail list is that none of the people on that list know who you are. When they receive an e-mail from you, most likely they will just delete it without bothering to open it.

That is why it is so beneficial to build your own opt-in e-mail list. Yes, creating a list from scratch is the more difficult and time-consuming solution, but at least it is a solution. E-mail lists rarely bring the desired results, so the money you spend on them might as well be flushed down the toilet.

E-mail marketing and e-zine distribution isn't about blasting a bunch of strangers with sales pitches and information they don't want and didn't ask for. If you really want to achieve results with your e-mail list, you need to build your own.

Here is a list of questions you need to ask yourself when building your e-mail list:

* Who is your target audience and what do you have to offer them?

* What kind of relationship do you want with the recipients of your e-mailings?

* What method or methods will you use to collect e-mail addresses? Web forms, registration or subscription forms, trade shows, telephone contacts and sales calls are all viable ways to get the e-mail addresses of people who will be interested in what you have to offer.

* Will your e-mails come in the form of ads, newsletters, deals and specials, company announcements and press releases, or discussion lists?

* Will you handle the creative aspects of your mailings, such as copywriting and editing, or will you need a little help?

Once you're ready to start building your list, use outside lists to help you get started. You can recruit opt-in list members by renting an opt-in list to send out an announcement. You could also try taking out an ad in a targeted e-mail newsletter or discussion list.

Mohamed Rabea is the owner of one of the Internet's most popular business and marketing e-zines at BizPioneer. Get the ultimate marketing tips, tricks and strategies to make your business more powerful than ever. Contact Mohamed Rabea by phone at 202-749-9758 or e-mail to


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