If you attended Gravity’s spring webinar, Why You Need to Own Your Contacts, you may already be on board with the importance of owning your contact list instead of renting one. There is a time and place to rent a list – like promoting your brand to attendees of a trade show or introducing your company to subscribers of a leading trade magazine. Owning a list puts you in control of how often you reach out and the ability to create relationships that turn into customers.

Growing a database requires regular time and attention. Buying a list can seem like an efficient solution – since time is money after all – but that can get expensive fast, and the buyer’s remorse is real if you get a high bounce rate. This is not a Catch 22! Growing your database organically is a lot easier than you think.

Your marketing team can consistently grow the company’s email database every month – for free – with these five tactics:

  1. Website Forms – Contact forms placed strategically throughout your website can encourage visitors to reach out directly, even after business hours. A best practice is to create multiple forms, including Contact Us, Join Our Email List, Discount on First Order, and more. The more specific the form is, the more likely the visitor will fill it out to fulfill a direct request.


  1. Gated Content – We believe every business has inherent value, and they should give it away in bits and pieces for free. In addition to your regular content program, consider creating more in-depth resources like a guide, eBook, white paper, or toolkit. Offer it to your website visitors, email database, and social media followers free, in exchange for their name, email, and company.


  1. Customer Interactions – Every company interacts with customers on a daily basis – at the cash register, through customer service, estimating, invoicing, appreciation events, webinars, the list goes on. There is an opportunity at each of these touch points to ask for the customer’s email address.


  1. Account Representatives – How are your outward facing employees taking stock of the people they interact with on a regular basis? Encourage them to save anyone who is a customer, a prospect, a referral source, or an influencer to a shared customer relationship management (CRM) database. This practice ensures every important contact receives company email communications, but also helps teams collaborate and keeps contacts inside the company when employee turnover occurs.


  1. Internet Research – Make a list of the top 20 companies that would be ideal clients for your business. Identify the job title or job function that you would sell to, and conduct some good ol’ Internet research to locate the people in those positions and their contact information. A combination of Google searching, LinkedIn searching, and a subscription to Seamless.ai works well for us.

Schedule time at the end of every month to review these lead generating sources and add them to your database. The best part? Going this route means you are collecting emails of people who have expressed interest in working with you, are already working with you, or have a high probability of wanting to work with you.

An effective way to nurture this list – and weed out bad email addresses – is to email the list with content valuable to the audience on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. Check out our Blog, Free Tools, and Events for more content marketing and lead nurturing best practices.