Essential Elements When Building Your Email Prospecting File

email prospecting building your file d3Whether creating cold outreach campaigns or building engagement with past customers, using the right channel is of the utmost importance.

When it comes to cold leads, leadIQ found that “email beat out cold calling by 31x on the opportunity rate.”

And when it comes to existing customers, email marketing is one of the best ways to engage with customers, enhance loyalty, and upsell products.

In fact, as NeverBounce reports, “72% of customers say their preferred method of communication with brands is via email, while 61% say they like receiving weekly promotional emails.”

If these statistics don’t make the case for building and nurturing an email prospecting file, we don’t know what will.

But let’s back up a minute to cover terminology…

  • Email prospecting is the process of finding, researching, and qualifying prospects for marketing campaigns.
  • An email prospecting file is your database of prospect emails, sorted and appended by source, behavior, and value.

Whether you’re completely new to email prospecting, or simply looking to brush up on your knowledge base, it’s important to remain aware of best practices and essential elements.

Lucky for you, we’re making it easy.

In this post, we’re covering three essential elements when building and maintaining an email prospecting file.

From maintaining list hygiene to appending your list, this post is a must-read.

First up, we’ll provide an overview of building your file…


#1: Building Your Opt-In File.

Most businesses start at zero and have to build their opt-in list from scratch.

Fortunately, there are proven email lead generation strategies to quickly build an opt-in file of emails.

They may include…

Capturing email on your site: Whether utilizing exit-intent pop-ups, an email sign-up form on your site navigation, or giving away a free gated content, there are various ways to grow your list using your site and content alone.

Creating new leads from your existing list: Make it easy for existing customers to share your emails with friends, family, and colleagues. Be sure to share engaging, valuable, and relevant content that they would want to share–then add in a simple, text-based link to “Share with Friends,” a subscribe CTA, or social sharing button.

Lead Gen or Coregistration: If you need to build a list in a hurry, lead gen and coreg programs can generate lots of inexpensive leads on a cost per lead basis.

Coreg leads are gathered when a publisher presents an offer to consumers completing an online form and your offer is added to their mix. Lead gen programs run free ad campaigns on your behalf to drive email sign-ups right on your site. Both can be effective, depending on the brand.

In both lead gen and coreg programs, consumers optin and agree to receive information from the advertiser. This way, their name is compliant to add to your prospecting list, and you can start your email outreach campaign.

Keep in mind that if you acquire subscribers via these channels…

  • You’ll need high levels of immediate contact.  
  • They tend to be very offer-sensitive.
  • Though you may gain subscribers, it takes time to build loyalty with a brand. You will need to nurture these leads strategically in order to move them down the funnel to conversion.

Once you have a list, you’ll need to maintain it. Which brings us to our next point…


#2: Maintaining a clean email list.

You know having an email prospect list is important–but there’s more to it. Once you have it, you need to continually ensure that it has optimal hygiene.

In the same way that you brush your teeth to ward off unhealthy bacteria, you need to weed out subscribers who no longer read or wish to receive your emails.

To put it simply, a high-quality list of engaged subscribers is better than a large list that includes inactive subscribers.

When your list is clean, it means…

  • Less unsubscribes and complaints.
  • A preserved IP sender reputation–improving deliverability and resulting in more emails reaching inboxes.
  • Better ROI for your marketing budget. Many email service providers charge based on list size, so removing subscribers that won’t convert will save you money.
  • Higher list engagement–meaning better open and click-through rates.
  • A better understanding of the demographic that wishes to engage with you.
  • A better brand image overall.

In order to clean your list, you’ll need to…

  • Send your file to a pro for hygiene. While you may think it’s a good idea to try to do manual hygiene, sifting through thousands of records is never a great use of time, and is error-prone to boot! Send your file to a pro for verification and hygiene, and you’ll have a list that you know is ready to mail.
  • Include unsubscribe options. A simple link to unsubscribe at the end of your emails is essential to being CAN-Spam compliant. To minimize opt-outs, give your readers a number of options to connect with you. Let them choose both frequency of messaging and what types of communications they’ll receive. Keep them on your file in a way that works for them!
  • Track campaign activity and segment your file. Be sure you are reaching out with relevant, personalized messaging, or your file will have a high level of churn. Watch segments acquired through different channels and eliminate those with low engagement/conversion.
  • Send a reactivation campaign. Before eliminating prospects who have stopped opening emails, give them a special offer (in the subject line) to see if you can re-engage their interest. You might even look to target these users in subscriber-based emails where they are opening messaging.


#3: Email appending using third-party data.

businessman hand working with modern laptop computer in modern office with virtual icon diagram third party data remarketing d3 specialistsLet’s say you have a database of prospect names and addresses, but lack their email addresses.

Fortunately, there’s a way to match the data you have on file with third-party data in order to secure their email address and enhance your channels of contact with the prospect or customer.

This practice of adding in prospect or client data to a preexisting, incomplete database is known as email appending.

It’s an effective way to enhance customer data so you can improve your prospecting efforts, as well as better target and analyze it.

When’s a good time to start appending? The sooner the better! If you’ve got customers you can’t reach via email, you’re missing opportunities.

Most append providers have minimums, so reach out and look at costs. There are also likely volume discounts, so, if you are new to the append process, it might save you to start with a larger segment, including older names which may be worth reactivating. Your provider can append new names, and revalidate older names at the same time, often saving time and money.

Don’t limit your communication channels with customers and prospects to simply email and direct mail. Be sure to ask about appending social media flags to your file, which lets you know other places you can connect with these customers.

The best data providers to help you with appends can also offer you a complete user profile (called a data profile analysis), which shows you hundreds of additional attributes for your file that you can choose to add in or not.

To do this, data providers will match your list to their file. Typical match rates are in the 40-60% range–you never get 100%. Higher match rates mean more of your file will be appended.

After getting the match report, you choose what you want to be done to your file–email append, validation, social flags, and/or other attributes. After minimums, you only pay for matched records, so this also helps you understand costs.

The entire process from the initial match, through complete data return, typically takes 2-6 weeks and is a smart investment in developing a clean file.


Keep these essential elements in mind as you build your email prospecting list.

The digital agency team at d3 has the knowledge and experience to help craft a successful email prospecting effort. Give us a call today or sign up now for our FREE Data Profile Analysis.

d3 Specialists
The d3 team

The d3 team helps clients generate leads and improve ROI through the creation and management of digital marketing programs.

As a lead generation marketing company and one-stop shop for all things digital marketing, we craft customized and data driven strategies that include a combination of effective tools and tactics, such as… Customer Acquisition, CRM Remarketing, Digital Media Planning and Buying, Email Marketing, Lead Generation, Paid Search (SEM), and Paid Social Advertising.

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