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How to repair your email list in the wake of GDPR.

Email remains one of the top marketing strategies for manufacturers. Ninety-five percent of manufacturers use email to distribute information for content marketing purposes, according to the 2018 Manufacturing Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America, conducted by the Content Marketing Institute in partnership with IEEE GlobalSpec.

Manufacturers also reported that email is the most effective format for content marketing, with their top three email types being event emails, promotional emails and newsletters.

Clearly, email in the industrial sector is a powerful marketing engine. But many marketers have stalled when it comes to growing their opt-in email marketing database. The implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is designed to protect the data and privacy of anyone living in Europe, has made list-building that much more challenging.

If you’re looking for fresh ideas on how to grow a targeted, opt-in email marketing list using legal and ethical tactics, try these tips.

1. Lead with your best content offer

Enticing a targeted prospect to opt-in to your emails is a transaction: they provide you with their email address and give permission for you to email them, and in return you give something they find valuable.

That something of value should be the most compelling, relevant content you have. It could be a white paper, a how-to, a webinar, an ROI calculator, a product comparison—there are many possibilities. The key is that the value of your offer has to be so good and recognizable that your prospects are willing to opt-in to your email list.

2. Place your offer everywhere

That great content that you’re using as bait? Cast it across all your marketing channels. Make the offer clear on multiple pages of your website. Promote it on your social media channels. Add it to company directory pages on sites such as GlobalSpec. Tease it with banner ads. Make the offer at the end of a video.

You get the idea. You want your audience to be exposed to your offer and act upon it.

3. Direct people back to your website

All those channels where you’re promoting your content should lead back to a landing page on your website where you reinforce the offer and provide a form for the user to complete in order to access your content.

Keep your opt-in forms simple. It’s tempting to collect as much information on a user as possible right away, but adding too many fields to fill out will scare people off. Reduce the length of your forms to just two to three fields: name, email address, company. You can collect more information from them once you start a conversation.

4. Add share and forward buttons

Add links that allow users to share/forward your marketing emails and social media posts to their colleagues or others. Include calls-to-action in your emails that make sharing an obvious choice for recipients. If your content and message are compelling enough, you’ll find this to be an effective strategy for growing your list.

5. Work with media partners

A media partner with expertise in your industry and access to your target audience may have an email list rental product for email marketing purposes. This can help you greatly expand your reach to targeted prospects.

Make sure that the list is opt-in and that  subscribers have agreed to receive relevant offers from the vendor’s network of partners. While you won’t actually get the list of email addresses, you can of course drive recipients to a landing page where they can convert and become prospects in your system as a part of your house list.

One tactic you should never use

Never buy an email list. A purchased list is one that you could import into your system and use as many times as you want, just as you would an organically developed house list. But the names on a purchased list have not given you permission to market to them. You run a much higher risk of being reported as a spammer by the recipients.

You can also run afoul of GDPR laws. This can permanently damage your sender reputation and cause legal issues. Also, these lists for sale are often poorly maintained and may have many bad email addresses that bounce.

The only legitimate way to build your email list is through opt-in tactics. Be a responsible email marketer and your targeted list should grow and perform well for you.

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