What Is an Email List

An email list is a database containing information about your prospects and customers like name, email addresses, and phone numbers.

Originally, an email list is simply that — a list of email addresses you send mass email to.

But now, they have evolved into a complete database that contains all interactions with your organization — from social media, emails, and even sales calls.

From this database, you can slice and dice the data to give you actionable insights on your prospects and customers.

It is now the heart of effective digital marketing.

Without an email list that tracks all these information and interactions, you are in left in the dark. You start guessing. Make assumptions. This can lead to a poor customer experience.

The Dreaded (and Useless) Voice Prompts

Don’t you just hate it when you get asked around for the same information over and over by the person you’re talking to on the phone?

Recently, my wife got on a call with a bank to dispute some credit card charges (short story: her replacement card was not delivered to her because she was out of the country yet someone was able to use it).

One of the frustrating things here is that upon calling the customer service hotline, you get asked to enter your 16-digit credit card number. Then, after minutes of hearing the useless voice prompts, you finally got to chat with a real person. Yey!

Then, they asked you for your 16-digit card number again. They also ask a couple more questions for additional verification. I can only imagine this is a requirement before some data in the system shows up on their screens.

You know what’s even more frustrating? After all these verifications, you finally got to tell them your issue. They said another department is handling that and will transfer your call.

Stop for a moment. What do you think happens when after you get transferred to another person?

They ask the same verification stuff again.

It’s no wonder why a lot of customers shout and curse at customer service reps. They are already frustrated with an issue — in this case, someone used their credit card — then it takes them a very long time just to talk to the right person.

It’s neither their faults for this poor user experience. That’s “just the way how it’s done.” That mindset has no place in today’s fast-paced world.

And to clarify, my wife didn’t do any of those. But I was beside her. I was the one shouting and cursing in my head.

Customer Experience Matters

Customer experience matters. Period.

No matter how big your organization is, like Globe and Smart, the moment someone better comes along, people will switch.

It’s the same thing with me. I no longer have much brand affinity. I have been a Globe subscriber for more than 6 years (an additional 9 years if you count my usage under my parent’s plan).

But because of some issue they have internally that a lot of customers are already complaining about, they are passing the blame to me. I immediately switched to the next competitor — Smart.

I recently read that there’s a new telco coming to town soon.

I’ll be very vigilant when that time comes. Because if they do offer something better and Smart doesn’t reciprocate, I won’t hesitate to jump ship.

The Modern Email List

With the rise of chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI), the requirements of organizations from the modern marketer continuously increase.

If your email list is simply collecting information like names and email addresses, you’re at a great disadvantage.

At the very least, your email list should tell you what forms/landing pages they filled out, what pages they visited, and if you’re an e-commerce store, their purchase data — the number of times the person ordered, amount, and products ordered.

These data points allow you to segment your list further and create automation rules that trigger when certain conditions are met.

For example, you can segment people who downloaded your industry report last year and offer them to download an updated report for this year. Or perhaps invite them to answer a survey to be used in your new industry report.

Or you can segment people whose latest store purchase is twice than your average order value. You can probably give them a gift card, or maybe even a personal call or email saying how much you appreciate them.

If your email list doesn’t give you these data nor allow you to capture them, it’s time to search for a new one. And if your email list allows it, but you aren’t using it, then it’s time to start doing so.

Don’t wait until you are forced to adopt these changes. It’s always easier and less stressful to implement/change your systems when your neck is not on the line.

Ariel Lim

Ariel Lim

Management consultant / MBA / Inbound marketer who helps startups generate leads, create and execute strategies.

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