Three Questions for Organizing Your Mailing List

Six months ago I began what I thought was a simple maturation of my business.  I wanted to improve the way I communicated with my prospects and clients in terms of my e-mail newsletters and my contact management methodology.  Little did I know of the jungle of jargon and technology into which I was about to dive.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

“You don’t know what you don’t know.” This is one my favorite phrases when I’m training people.  The point of the saying is that what you don’t know hinders your ability to ask the right questions to glean the understanding you need to proceed.  With training, the instructor’s value is that s/he guides you through the learning process, erasing what you don’t know quickly so you gain maximum value in the subject area you are studying – time management in my case.  It’s also a trap for the trainer because if you don’t remember what you didn’t know, you will often omit important pieces of information your students need to learn what you’re trying to teach them. 

This corollary – forgetting what you didn’t know – is particularly evident in most sales environments.  Sales people tend to gloss over the most fundamental principles underpinning their product or service in their haste to demonstrate its value to you in order to win the sale.  Learning the best practices of mailing list management and the available technologies to assist in this regard was no exception.  When I started investigating the numerous web-based CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platforms – Salesforce, Infusionsoft, Zoho CRMHighrise, and Batchbook to name a few – and the dozens of e-mail marketing services – iContact, MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Contactology to name a few of those – all I knew was that I wanted a more efficient and, hopefully, more effective way of managing and communicating with my prospects and clients. 

[…]