There may come a time in your career as an email marketer where you’ll be presented with a (legitimate) list that you need to integrate into your database; for example, your company could make an acquisition or you could be taking over marketing activities from another business unit. FierceMarkets has had a flurry of these kind of activities in the last 18 months, and we’ve developed a plan that has been successful so far. I’ll share the main points here to help with any integrations you may face.
Let me pause here and say that these integrations were not purchased emails from a list broker. In one scenario, FierceMarkets acquired a blog and took over publishing its newsletter. In another, we absorbed a newsletter from a different business unit in our parent company into our database. I am unequivocally against buying emails and adding them to your database. Buying a list and adding it to your database could have disastrous consequences that would outweigh any sort of decent response you might luck into.
The first step of a legitimate integration actually begins before moving any emails over. If there’s one thing I’ve learned through these integrations, it’s that you have to fight for a look at the data before you commit to the acquisition. A blog may have an email list of a certain number, but it could have a 15% bounce rate or a 2% open rate, or have full demographics or only emails – all good pieces of information to have before a sale is completed.
Your initial audit should also include analysis of any websites attached to the email list, but I’ll limit my discussion here to the email side.
Once you have access to the email list, give it a very thorough review. Not every blog or email list owner has grown his or her list responsibly, so it’s important to try to weed out as many of the questionable email addresses as possible before adding them to your own database. It’s also a good idea to check the original IP address for any presence on blacklists. Many smaller email lists are on shared IPs, so any blacklists may or may not have been the result of bad emails on your new list, but it at least gives you another data point on list quality.