Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Has Your Mailing List Grown Stale?

June 15, 2016

It’s probably on your low-priority list, but maybe you should bump it up a bit.

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I recently looked up the phone number for a family that lived across the street from mine when I was growing up. I was startled to learn that it was the same as it was…well…quite a few years ago. Their area code had changed because of population growth and shifts, but the main number was the same as it was in the…well, 20th century, at least.

We’ve all had to do a lot of editing in our paper or electronic address books because of cell phones, a mobile workforce, and ever-changing email addresses. And that’s just your personal mailing list. What about the one(s) you maintain for work? When was the last time you combed through them?

I saw a study recently that I can’t put my hands on right now, but it reported that more than 20 percent of the entries on the typical business mailing list become obsolete every year.

Old Mailing Lists=Bad Things

You probably learned about some of the changes through email bouncebacks and returned paper correspondence. But you undoubtedly still have many contacts on your lists that have changed jobs or email addresses that you don’t know about. This can cause several kinds of problems. For example, if your contact at a given company has moved on, his or her replacement may still be getting emails and paper correspondence addressed to someone else, which may be getting tossed or deleted.

That individual who moved on may have taken at a position at a company  that would be happy to do business with you, but your missives aren’t getting through anymore.

Old mailing lists can just make you look bad. Careless. Out of touch. And they can rob you of potential sales opportunities. So follow up when you get a bounced email or returned mail. If a previously regular customer has gone silent, send a friendly handwritten note. Consider doing an opt-in campaign–offer something of value here, like a webinar recording–so you can start fresh.

Filling in the Gaps

Some of the individuals and/or companies that you remove from your list simply aren’t good prospects anymore. So at least once a year, you should be editing your mailing lists and adding on to them. Here are some ideas for doing that:

  • Go over your Facebook page thoroughly. Is there any easy way for visitors to add themselves to your mailing list? Add a Call-To-Action (CTA) button at the top that leads them to a simple sign-up page. Lengthy forms are a turn-off.
  • Make sure your blog has a clear CTA button, too. And make your content make your visitors want more.
  • Do you attend trade shows? Have a drawing to give something away, but require email addresses to enter.
  • Really push your opt-in on your website’s home page.
  • Let prospects earn a one-time discount on purchases by signing up.
  • Are your social sharing buttons everywhere? They should be prominent.
  • Be human and personable wherever it’s approriate in your online content. Be someone that people want to do business with.

You get the idea. You could probably add five more of your own in the next five minutes. Attract the right prospects and customers with value, quality, and the possibility of solutions to their problems, and you’ll find yourself with a more fruitful mailing list. Until next year.

Stock image courtesy of




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