What you do have is a direct line of communication to an individual who has placed trust in you.
This person is willing to trade a combination of limited resources (time, money, attention, etc.) because he/she agrees that you or your organization’s service or product will help in achieving a goal easier and faster without adversely affecting the quality of their business or life.
The challenge, and opportunity, is in upholding your end of the agreement.
If you’ve somehow corralled these addresses with misdirection and deception then the effort to maintain your end of the promise is substantial. Since the promise does not match the deliverable you must continuously expend energy in moving the “pot of gold” just beyond your subscribers’ reach to avoid delivering. Simultaneously, you have to put time and effort into maintaining the image of credibility and, much more disturbing, the image that you actually cared for your subscriber.
If your objective is to guide a person to a solution for an issue, whether or not this issue is solved by your product or service, then the resulting events become effortless. The mailing lists ceases as a list of potential sales; it becomes a repository of contribution. The dynamics change from seller/buyer to one of mutual exchange. The sales pitch transforms into an elegant conversation:
“I will do my best to guide you to a solution…will you help me to understand how I can adjust the way I work to better meet your needs.”
You don’t have a mailing list. You have opportunities to contribute.