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The Great Office Supplies Caper

Office Products Resellers and the Foundation for Email Marketing

by Ian M. Elliott | 4/21/17 7:58 AM

Obviously, you can't conduct email marketing campaigns without contacts but, once you have a list of contacts, what are some of the fundamental requirements to establish and maintain the foundation for effective email marketing?

As explained in our Office Products Resellers & The Importance of Email Marketing blog, it may be possible to earn an ROI of as much as 3,800% but, to do so, you must position yourself to perform among the top-tier of elite email marketers. This means each element necessary for an effective email strategy must be optimized.

  • Part 1 - Contact lists, organizing and segmentation
  • Part 2 - The foundation - buyer personas and the buyers journey
  • Part 3 - Planning campaigns and strategy
  • Part 4 - Execution - automation and workflows
  • Part 5 - Goal setting and measuring ROI

The first email element I'm focusing on in this series of five blogs is the contact list and how this must be organized and managed for inbound digital marketing campaigns to be optimized.

Contact details - ensure they're accurate - first and last names must be spelled correctly and written in upper and lower case appropriately capitalized.

Contact ownership - if you have multiple sales persons make sure your entire contact list is assigned an owner and, as the contact database is expanded, all new contacts continue to be assigned one.

Contact qualification - site visitor conversions (email contact adds) must be qualified. New contacts captured through content offers should be contacted within an hour if at all possible. Once qualified, the lead can be handed over to sales for the next stage in the sales process. 

Email decay rates - contact databases typically decay by 20% or more annually. Email addresses change, get retired and subscribers opt-out.

Job changes - your very best contacts may move from one company to another so, if you don't maintain your database, you could lose a powerful contact.

New subscribers - must be constantly added to preserve value in your contact database. A database of 20,000 contacts will typically deteriorate to around 10,000 within four-years unless there's a strategy to obtain new contacts.

Contact segmentation - roles and responsibilities for each contact must be identified. Is your contact a decision maker or an influencer? Is the contact so far down the totem pole he or she will have little to no value as an influencer?

Define channel verticals - do you have your contacts clearly segmented by the different verticals you sell into? For example if you're selling products and services to Accounting Firms and to Law Firms your contact database must be accurately segmented by these two verticals.

Relevance & engagement - are your contacts relevant? Did you develop your contact database or was it obtained from a third-party? Are your contacts going to be surprised if they hear from you or have they opted-in to your email marketing program?

Static Lists Versus Smart Lists - one thing is certain in that "everything changes all the time" so, it's important to have automation tools to segment lists based on what contacts do. Someone downloading content from your website is telling you they have an interest in the topic that material contains. That should mean the contact is added to a list from where you can focus your future marketing collateral on that interest, sending relevant, interesting material, minimizing opt-out's, and maximizing engagement!


Email marketing has the potential to be a significant component of a digital strategy to help improve the future for office supplies dealerships and to exploit an office products growth opportunity. But, to do so, it must be done right!

  1. A 20,000 contact list will most likely lose 20% of its volume each year through decay. That's 4,000 contacts lost in 12 months or 80 per week. To maintain a volume of 20,000 contacts means you must add 80 new ones every week. Simultaneously managing the 10 requirements identified above without the use of automation tools will take up a lot of time, time that, ultimately, will most likely not be allocated, resulting in a poorly maintained list ineffective for world-class email marketing efforts.
  2. Building, expanding and maintaining a list of relevant, engaged email contacts must be a high priority for businesses in the modern digital world. However, the only way businesses will stay motivated to make this a priority is if they see positive results from the efforts. Implementing strategies for obtaining new contacts through inbound web traffic and deploying automation tools for segmenting contacts to allow effective targeted marketing are vital elements for world-class email marketing results to be obtained.
  3. Bottom line - you have to earn your email contacts and you have to maintain them. Inbound marketing can be an effective way to build a contact database but, it's not likely to be worth the effort without software automation tools for maintenance and segmentation purposes.

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Topics: Business Transformation, Inbound Marketing

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