Organic List Generation: Enhancing Business Reach and Engagement

Deana Faria
Jun 21, 2023

Everywhere you look, marketing and advertising messages competes for your time and attention. From social media to print media, and from radio to shopping mall, it’s difficult to avoid being subjected to overt sales strategies that feel pushy and obnoxious (the real life manifestation of your spam folder- oh, the horrah!). 

Flashy, loud and – dare we say – barky marketing tactics work in limited situations, but for the most part, they just don’t resonate with people like you. That’s because, as a consumer,  you often don’t have a relationship with the brand, you don’t relate to the need for the product/service, and most importantly…

…you haven’t invited them into your sphere of influence.

Open you personal inbox, however, and you’ll find yourself opening and reading nearly all your emails – even the promotional ones – because they come from a list of companies that you trust and that you have invited into your virtual sphere of influence.

Beyond driving conversions, the goal of email marketing is to stay top-of-mind for potential, current and past customers. In other words, the job of email marketing is to be invited into your ideal customer’s sphere of influence (AKA their inbox) and to provide a level of value that will continue to earn your place within that influencial sphere over the long-term. .

Organic Email Lists – Your Invitation to Influence

Email marketing can be used to engage future customers, current customers, and even legacy customers by sending them targeted, relevant information about your business. The accumulation of email addresses you collect from readers is referred to as your list and its importance to your business shouldn’t be underestimated. Your list represents the number of people who have invited you into their circle of influence. And while you can rent or purchase large indexes of email addresses, the disadvantages outweigh the benefits of organic generation in many cases.

When you purchase or rent a list of email addresses:

  • Targeting ability is weak 
  • Rented email lists are concealed – you can’t see who you’re sending to. 
  • Buyer awareness is low – that means emails get overlooked often and open rates can be low as a result
  • It often lands up in a spam folder
  • May violate GDPR rules
  • Can be irritating to your list members
  • Deliverability problems are common
  • Can be costly with little ROI
  • Email providers like Google don’t like it and may penalize you

When you curate your list organically:

  • All email addresses are provided voluntarily, so your ‘people’ anticipate email communication from you (that means open rates go up!)
  • Current customers stay up-to-date with your latest offerings
  • Leads can be nurtured with email content to build awareness of your business and brand 
  • Previous clients can be re-engaged in your offerings
  • You foster trust in your brand and values (resulting in buyer confidence)

Primed to Convert

You might see the difference between paid and organic list generation as the difference between a captive audience who paid for a ticket to your show (eager to engage with what you have to say) – and a man on a megaphone trying desperately to get the attention of a large (and probably ambivalent) crowd. The intimate/captive audience will win in sales every time. 

Customers who have invited you in won’t experience the same resistance to convert as someone hearing about your product or service for the first time. That’s because when emailing with consent, transactions and business relationships occur more organically and often show more longevity (read:repeat sales) than a purchased list of email addresses. This is where conversions happen. 

Your Lead Magnet

When you’re developing a strategy to grow your list, you need a lead magnet to exchange with your prospects in order to provide incentive for them to provide their email address in return. There are many lead magnet formats, including exchanging emails for things like:

  • A coupon for your product or service 
  • A free membership trial 
  • A free e-book
  • A list of relevant tips/tricks relevant to your business
  • A free guide or tutorial document
  • Templated resources
  • Results of a quiz provided after taking the quiz and providing their email address
  • Free webinar or webinar replay
  • Free pre-formulated spreadsheets

What Can Email Be Used For?

There are a variety of ways to use email in your marketing.You might use it to:

  • Promote a sale
  • Nurture clients with value-added content
  • Send announcements
  • Drive traffic to your site
  • Run customer surveys
  • Send targeted messaging to segments of your list
  • Welcome new customers
  • Re-engage old customers or abandoned carts
  • Promote an event
  • Send newsletters
  • Send seasonal promotions and well-wishes
  • Reinforce branding and brand values
  • Provide education around a topic
  • Generate insight about your buyers via back-end data

Why Email?

Other forms of marketing through avenues such as paid advertising rely on  ad clicks from users that see the advertisements as they are scrolling through their social media channels or other websites. These advertisements are ubiquitous online and can be likened to ‘background noise’ to many who see them, despite the significant marketing investment often put forward to get the click..

Email marketing allows companies of all sizes to get their message across without significant investment – and to those who are most likely to align with, and value, their message. Email provides direct access to your client’s inbox and won’t be treated as spam. This is your opportunity to show your clients why your solution is the one for them – but make sure your communications are value-packed in order to retain your welcome in their inbox.


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The Author

Deana Faria



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