Using Email Discussion Lists to Get Your Message Out

Looking for a way to reach your target audience by email? Why not get your message out via an email discussion list?

Because of spamming, online discussions have moved away from the Usenet newsgroups to moderated email-based lists. There are now hundreds of thousands of email discussion groups ranging in size from a few dozen to tens of thousands of members. Since these forums reach targeted interest groups, they offer a potential way for you to reach your market on the Net -- if you do it right.

One simple method is simply to advertise on the list. Many discussion lists accept paid advertising. Your text ad will appear one or more times in the body of the digest for that day or that week, usually emphasized by a decorative border. The Direct Email List Source, a Web directory of email advertising media, lists some discussion lists (as well as email newsletters) that accept advertising.

However, an even more effective way of using email discussion lists is to participate in them yourself. This offers the added advantage of not costing any money. You will, however, need to invest time and effort into crafting a message that adds value to the discussion.

Remember that a discussion list might give you access to a targeted group of prospects for your product or service, but that is not its purpose. The group's purpose is to provide a forum for sharing knowledge and providing mutual support among its members. If you try to post a message that is a blatant pitch for your company, the moderator will probably reject your message. If you want the moderator to pass your message on to the group, you'll need to offer real value, a real contribution to the ongoing discussion. You can mention your company and product, but it should be in the context of genuine participation.

Understanding the request form...

  • What are you selling: Most email campaigns are selling a product or service. Name that product and/or service in this field. (for example: security services, accounting software)
  • Target Market: Name here who you see as the market or potential buyers of your product/service. (for example: home owners, accountants)
  • Size of your mailing: How many emails do you plan to send -- this will affect your potential revenue and cost. (for example: 100,000 to 250,000)
  • Your Time Frame: When do you plan to do your mailing? (for example: mailing within one month)
  • Campaign Details: Give a more complete description of what you are planning. (for example: I plan to do 3 sequential mailings to homeowners in New Jersey in order to sell a new security system.)
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