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Netroots Nation: List building crash course: Avoiding the spam traps

Q: In your opinion, what is the most common mistake that organizations make when building their list?

A: Uploading old lists or worse uploading the voter file or some unverified list they bought off the “street”. I always liken buying lists from people who call you on the phone and claim they got a great list as the same idea of drug pushers so you should “just say no.” It may feel good for a minute but the devastating effects after aren’t worth it. These old lists can be chock full of spam traps and the percentage of “dead” addresses can ruin your mailing reputation. People love the idea of a big fat list full of names but if they aren’t good names – it’s not worth anything.

Q: What are the two most important things to keep in mind when doing list acquisition?

A: Test, Target and Track. Ok, so that’s three but that should be everyone’s motto when it comes to list acquisition. If you are spending resources (even if it is not dollars just the names you are swapping), you have to be tracking the results which means testing and targeting to find the right source for names for you. What works for someone else may not work for you and you have be smart about where you are focusing your efforts. Most campaigns and organizations are not going to have the same results as the Obama campaign – mostly because they didn’t have the same budget to start with or high name id. That being said the Obama campaign didn’t do anything without testing, targeting and tracking and neither should you. Our session is going to be about finding the most strategic and efficient way to test, target and track so you get it right the first time.

Read the full interview.

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