Building Your Email List | January 24th, 2011

More and more businesses are taking advantage of email marketing, and with good reason. It’s an extremely cost effective way to keep your name in front of your customers on a regular basis. However it does have its limitations. One of the greatest challenges a company or organization faces is building a reliable – and legal – email list.

It is not simply a matter of getting an email list and sending out your ad or newsletter. Spam laws prevent you from sending unsolicited emails. So how do you build a decent mailing list? Here are a few ideas:

1. Look in your existing email address book. You are allowed to send emails to anyone you’ve done business with. However, you might wish to include some wording that refers to your implied business relationship. Something like this: You’re receiving this email because of your relationship with [Name of Your Business]. Please confirm your continued interest in receiving email from us. (Hint: if you use Constant Contact, you only have to select “on” for the permission reminder at the beginning of each email. They’ll handle this wording for you.)

2. Ask your customers for their email addresses. This may seem pretty simplistic, but it requires a planned approach. Define what value your email brings to your customers. Do you offer helpful tips and advice? Monthly specials? Wholesome recipes? Timely reports? Script your dialogue and make sure it is specific. If you’re in the health industry you might ask “Would you like to receive our monthly newsletter featuring healthy recipes and wellness tips?

3. Make sure everyone is on board – even if you have to bribe them. If you have employees or business associates, make sure they have the above mentioned script memorized and that they ask every customer for an email address. You might consider offering an incentive. Hold a contest to see who can get the most email addresses and offer an iPod or GPS as a prize. Do the same thing if you work by yourself. Set a quota and determine what your reward will be when you reach it. Asking for an email address needs to become habit.

4. Make it easy to sign up. Add a sign up box on your website. If you have a contact form, add a check box to join your email list at the bottom of the form. Just be sure and adapt your script from step 2 to entice customers to join your email list. “Subscribe to our Email List” doesn’t always do the job.

Building a good email list takes time, but it is worth the effort. It allows you to advertise to people that want to hear from you, and these will always be your best customers.

One single comment

  1. […] business owners. We’ve covered some of the basics of creating email marketing campaigns, and building your email subscriber list in previous issues, but what about after the email has been sent? How do you analyze the results? […]

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