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Executing your brand’s D2C (direct-to-consumer) strategy – Overview on building your lists

One of the key areas of focus in a D2C strategy lies in list-building.

As a marketer / brand communicator, you will need to place this as a priority. When we talk about list building, we refer to the list of people who will subscribe to your emails and receive information about your brand, its products/services via an eDM or a push notification. It could come in different formats ranging from a newsletter, a white paper, a brand report, amongst many other things. But first and foremost, the people who should read about the things that will go into that eDM or a push notification must be on this list.

Remember: without the list, you have no customers. With no customers, you have no business. With no customers, your D2C strategy is as good as dead.

How would you go about getting this list?

Here are a few ways.

1. Buy or rent them.

This can be as straightforward as reaching out to list providers that provide lists to specific demographic profiles, industries, or people with certain designations pertaining to their decision making powers within an organisation. There will be certain regulations that permit the level of usage, which you will have to agree to when using those lists. For example, some list companies allow only a one-time usage. You will have to abide by that usage by law. If you go about “researching” on those lists, and putting work into keeping them updated on your own over time, it just might work. But then again, the time and resources may not be available to you, so do note those efforts.

By buying or renting lists for one-off usage, do note that your objective of building a relationship with the customer now comes in reverse. You are getting people to buy from you first before you build a relationship. Most of the time, the entire effort becomes a one-off, arms-length transaction.

One other method is to use It allows you to find email addresses associated with any website. All you will to do is to type in the company's URL and the free access tool will post back up to 50 email addresses. Another useful feature is that of email verification, where you will be able to tell if an email is active and in use by the green checkmarks.

2. Attending events.

This entails you attending conventions, seminars, and other relationship building events that will have customers of that particular profile who will connect with you. This can be a costly exercise as it involves time and money. It may also result in very little returns especially if the convention turns out to be a flop.

3. Lead collection.

Having an online presence is a must. Having a form on your website to collect leads is a basic step to set up a marketing funnel. But what will be the thing that will draw users to your site besides good SEO? You will need to actively drive traffic to your site.

4. Lead generation.

This is where money is spent to put out a digital ad to collect email addresses, by way of a giveaway-to-request-email approach. That giveaway could be in the form of an electronic product like an ebook or a whitepaper, research report, etc. Basically, people have to give you something to allow you to send them the report, and in so doing, they consent to you sending them that report and other marketing material as well.

Remember that emailing is an intimate activity. It sounds weird to write it in this manner, but it is true. Your email lands into a personal space of an individual. It could be a work email or a personal email. But it is a space that says – I am important enough, read me. And as a marketer, you must never take this privilege for granted.

Spamming comes when marketers violate this space and take it that it is a right for them to market and send whatever they want hoping they land on the right crowd. This is not how the D2C works. It is deliberate and intimate.

Truths about D2C lists

1. Responsiveness is more important than size.

For the most part, marketers are obsessed with size. Well, you have the biggest list on the planet but are the recipients even responding to your emails? It is better to have 1,000 ultra responsive email recipients (i.e. those who actually buy from you) than 100,000 followers on Facebook, of which 90% don’t go beyond liking what you are going to say.

2. A good social media strategy serves to complement the D2C email list, not the other way around.

Social media buttresses what you are doing with your closest customers. The email list is typically smaller and more intimate, and the click through rates within the email campaign are usually higher than that of social media. That is just the way it is. Engage potential customers on social media but move the conversation to a more intimate setting by getting them to join your mailing list.

3. Every turn in the funnel requires effort.

From getting fresh hellos to join my mailing list, and then from prospects into buyers, each turn down the marketing funnel requires effort. What this could look like includes bonus contents, freebies that you could give away at low cost but with sufficient value to make them feel valued and appreciated. Remember, that this is all about building a relationship. Like any other relationship, it starts in seed form and will grow into an experience. If you want a one off transaction, push the sale, and forget about a return customer. But if you want someone to keep coming back for more, then grow the relationship progressively.

4. You have complete control over how you initiate the interaction.

D2C would entail the primary mode of email and where possible, the use of the push notification to engage and initiate a conversation with your prospect or customer. Having permission to an inbox or the right to push a message to the customer is a powerful thing. It is personal and it gives you control over what to say and when to push a message.

5. You are being positioned as an expert / authority figure

By pushing valuable content, you are seen as the expert in the subject area, which is why they subscribed to you in the first place. This is where you earn the right to sell them the product/service that you are pushing as a part of your content that goes into their inboxes.

If you require help in executing this strategy, do reach out to our team at


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