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Drive Traffic To Your Site Email marketing is a godsend for small business owners. An effective, targeted email-marketing campaign can drive traffic to your site, get your name in front of qualified prospects and turn leads into sales — for much less than what you'd spend on a traditional direct-marketing campaign.

But how do you develop your email list? You have a few options: create your own list, buy a list or both.


Many businesses build their own lists by harvesting the names and email addresses of visitors to their Web sites and their stores. This is probably the most effective way to assemble lists of qualified prospects.

Ask visitors to your site to check a box and enter their name and email address if they want to receive related mailings. And be careful to protect the names once you collect them. Don't sell or distribute them for others to use (or misuse) unless you give fair notice on your Web site.

Build a list of your current customers, and add to that list with each new sale. Get the permission of each and every customer, and include them on future mailings and promotions. It's basic business marketing, and it works.


You can rent email lists (just as you would a direct-marketing list), and they can be targeted based on the industry and topic. Companies that provide direct-mail lists will even handle the details of the mailing — for a fee.

Make sure that the lists you rent contain only names of people who have agreed to receive targeted mailings. Ask the companies offering the lists how they acquired the names and addresses. Under no circumstances should you use bulk lists, often sold on CD-ROMs. They typically contain names of people who have not agreed to receive unsolicited email. Be aware that if your ISP receives complaints about your company's emailing practices, they could shut down your account.