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Everyone should be building an email list. It has always been one of the best ways to market yourself and your products. In most of cases people build a single list because they have a single target audience or a single product. However, in some cases I’ve worked with clients that have dozens, or more, contact lists. Perhaps you auto-subscribe a customer to a specific list, or you offer multiple free opt-ins that lead to different lists, in any case having multiple email lists can be both a good and a bad thing.

One of the biggest issues that people with multiple products and a single list or list segment face is emailing people who are already customers with an offer to purchase what they already own. Especially if you are offering it at a lower price. This is where suppression lists come in to play. They are the equivalent of a Do Not Email list.

Let’s look at a possible scenario.

You have four products and a leads list. Your leads list contains people have have never purchased from you at all while the four product customer lists each contain anyone that has purchased that product from you. It’s time to mail your list again trying to sell your eBook. The easy solution is to email each list or segment, except for the eBook customer list. But what if some is on your leads list, your eBook list and a third list for your video series. If your solution is to simply not email people on your eBook list, this customer will still get your sales email because they are also on your video series list.

This is where list suppression comes in handy. Instead of not mailing your eBook list segment, you can suppress that list instead. Then, no matter how many of your lists a person is on, if they are on your eBook list they will not get the eBook sales email when you suppress that segment.

Most email services have this ability in them in various methods. For example, in GetResponse you can Exclude Recipients based on the Campaign or the Segment.

List suppression in GetResponse

In Aweber you can suppress a list after you create your email by clicking Edit under Who should receive this message and then selecting the lists to exclude as well as include.

List suppression in Aweber

Similar features are available in Infusionsoft, Maropost and many other email list services. You will need to research these features on the service you use.

Building a list is one of the most powerful tools you can have in marketing your company, but learning to use it like a scalpel rather than a hammer can turn a good list in to a great list.