How to Get Good Email Databases


For a successful email campaign, the mandatory requirements are a good database, a good creative and great landing pages. The scope of this article covers sourcing good databases and some must-do campaign directives before sending to these databases.

Sourcing a good database

Ideally you’d spend time building your own list. But if you’re just starting out or if you’d like to additionally reach out to a new audience, you can consider opting for a rented list from a third-party. A good rented list is a list of active subscribers that is owned by a legitimate party, usually a publisher of content, an industry association, an established retailer or financial institution or any other party that has an on-going relationship with its subscribers.

After you figure out your target audience for a rented list, the common and traditional approach for Indian advertisers is
a) find different list owners who have their own captive lists
b) contact them and seek their response for a target audience match
c) coordinate separately (if you find some matches) for types of reporting, due diligence and non-disclosures.
d) negotiate the price with each list owner and
e) finally deploy your campaign across list owners

This can be a time-consuming and troubling endeavour at times. Have you considered using a List Broker? A list broker is an aggregator of lists from various list owners. A list broker markets multiple third-party lists. For a small charge, a list broker becomes your single point of contact for sourcing multiple third-party rented lists. They could also provide you some value-adds which would make your investment completely worth-while.

List brokers deal with lists of varying permission – permission-based lists and those with very loose or no permission, ie, aggregated lists. I don’t recommend using aggregated lists, not just because it crosses the line over to the spam side of email, but also because the return from using such lists is dismal. Using aggregated lists can cause more harm to your brand than the return it can generate.

List brokers can be very helpful with your intention of using permission-based rented lists. They can simplify your job as an advertiser by

  • Being a single window to multiple list owners
  • Providing you multiple lists that match your target audience
  • Giving you better demographic insight on different lists
  • Getting you a better price, hopefully, due to the scale they offer
  • Most importantly providing you with a Testing platform for rented lists

Let me elaborate on the last point. Wouldn’t you love to know which list is working better for you, BEFORE you deploy your campaign? A list broker can provide you this superb value-add. With the multiple options a list broker can provide, don’t just choose one list, choose 3. Take a slice of each of the 3 rented lists and test your email campaign to each slice. Then send the rest of your campaign to the best performing list. A list broker can facilitate this kind of list testing.

While using a list broker is an established way to expand your target audience in more mature markets, this is still a new concept as far as the Indian scenario is concerned. That’s about sourcing your rented lists. I’ve compiled a small list of List Brokers in India for your convenience.

Sending your campaign to a third-party list

You still need to make the most of your campaign to a third-party list. Although discussing the campaign creative is beyond the scope of this article, there are still some campaign directives that you should logically follow.

For better delivery, use the list-owner’s From email address
You should use the list-owner’s from email too as its likely that many of subscribers may have already put the list-owner’s email in their safe-sender’s list of in their address book. Again there is an established trust and this time it will help greatly in delivery of your sponsored message into the subscribers’ inbox compared to having your email as the From address. Use your email in the Reply-to field of the sponsored message.

For better opens, use the list-owner’s From name
You’ve got to give credit to the list owner for establishing and having an on-going relationship with its subscribers. Subscribers open emails by looking at the from name first. In your sponsored email, you should use the list-owner’s from name and not yours. And you should capitalize on this existing trust that the list-owner enjoys with its own subscribers. This will help you maximize opens. Use your brand in the subject line if you need to.

For better clicks, co-brand the email with the list-owner’s logo if possible
This helps for clicks. If subscribers see the list-owner’s logo in your sponsored message, it only helps extend their trust to you by reading your message for that extra couple of seconds and even clicking on a relevant link.

By following the simple steps highlighted in the article, you can be successful in getting the right audience and sending your campaign to it. But this is still a means to an end. Your end objective is still about getting these rented-list subscribers to become your customers/subscribers. Until the next post, happy mailing.

Naresh Bhagtani heads Niche Software Solutions which has created the email marketing product Juvlon. Naresh Bhagtani is also the chief product architect of Juvlon. He consults on various aspects of email marketing including campaign return of investment, email delivery, metrics, infrastructure, list acquisition and management.