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I'm starting from scratch building a prospect list for my potential business. I say potential because the first thing I want to do is validate my idea.

My plan is to get some related lists or at advertise in existing lists in someway to get people to take my short survey.

My question is should I just include a request for an email at the end of the survey, or give a link to a landing page for the business which will collect addresses. I wonder if I might get more data by just including the email in the survey, but if I'd have a higher quality list by only collecting addresses from people willing to take that step, after the taking the survey.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Usually, click through rates are less than 25% meaning that even the best system that requires people to click to the next page is going to lose more than 3/4 of traffic that way.

So it's better to collect it sooner than later.

Please remember that you want one to know that his email will be used in a certain mailing list. Otherwise, one of the following is going to happen to you:

  • Mailing list services are going to kick you out if complaint rate rises beyond 0.1% or often 0.03%. Complaint occurs when someone clicks button Spam in his mail program.

  • Your emails will go to Spam for majority of recipients (especially those who use gmail, yahoo, hotmail) if you're planning to use shady mass mail tools.

As a result, you want to use a credible list and be clear about what you're going to use emails for.

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One very important consideration is legal requirements to avoid being at risk of classification of spam. Most areas that penalty is pretty minimal but with the new legislation that has come out in Canada, if you are doing business there you will want to be careful. For example it does open you up to civil suit for spamming if you do not follow the CanSpam Rules - in all likelyhood you wouldn't get any problems but better safe than sorry and if you are doing business in Canada follow the rules.

Legislation does vary wildly depending on your jurisdiction but no matter where you are there are a few rules you should follow:

  • Make sure that there is a clear link to a privacy policy or similar that explains what you may/will do with the collected email/other data.
  • Ensure that any personal data is stored securely - depending on the circumstances you could be liable in civil court for damages if it could be argued that you were grossly n
  • Explicit Consent rather than Implicit consent: this is optional for most areas but for Canada it is a must in most circumstances.

In terms of the how best to run it that depends a lot on your target market; you need to get it to where your target market is. So depending on your target market that might be Google Adwords (or similar advertising solution), Craigslist/Kijij etc. or word of mouth/social media campaigns.

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Why don't you use a limited-expendature Google Adwords campaign to see how many folk you can attract ... and include (perhaps) a survey (Google form? with option to include eMail for later interaction). Promos for email address also seem to work! (For example, put you in a drawing for a $50 Amazon Giftcard.)

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I like the idea of giving an incentive for people to participate in my survey. My concern would be that I'd have to collect addresses from everyone to be able to include them in the drawing. Of course, I want everyone's address, but then I becomes ambiguous if they are really interested in my service or just in the prize. – Brad Rhoads Aug 19 '14 at 18:34
@BradRhoads - Not a perfect solution, but you could try giving out a gift that is directly related to your niche. Instead of a $50 Amazon giftcard, if you're promoting a website that teaches people to program (random example), offer a free book on learning Python or C++. That way you know the people that were interested in the prize are still your target audience. You'll still get some that aren't particularly interested in your service (yet?), but at least that way it's more targeted... – JR Warren Oct 3 '14 at 21:30

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