To reach and acquire new customers using email marketing, it’s first necessary to know if your prospective customer’s contact information (opt-in email address) is available and accessible. List managers’ (Info USA, World Data, ePost Direct, etc.) businesses are built around the successful management and transmission of such contact information. There are B2B and B2C prospects out there who agree to and await receiving communications from you that pertain to their personal and/or business interests via magazine, newspaper, online or other subscriptions and memberships.
Since most list managers only allow 1x usage (or rental) of the names being provided, converting a customer to one of your own requires a response to your message. You can do this with a link to a site that has a data capture form or by using an embedded data capture form (similar to a direct mail Business Reply Card, or BRC) within the email. By embedding a data capture form into your email, there are fewer steps involved in getting your customer to respond and a greater chance for response. I have had significant success leveraging this tactic. (See example screen grab for Boston University.) If you link customers to a website without giving them a clear path to surrender the booty (their information), they may quickly lose sight of reason for responding, become distracted, and/or abort the session.
Once a new customer has responded, don’t forget to ask for a referral. I’ve noticed as much as a 20% referral rate in respondents when done successfully. The best referrer of your products and services is someone who’s most interested in your prospects and services.