By Bob DeStefano
The key to effective an email newsletter lies in a notion known as “permission marketing.” Your email newsletter should build goodwill with your customers and prospects, not annoy them. Therefore, you need to obtain permission from your customers and prospects before adding them to your email marketing mailing list.
I strongly recommend you focus the majority of your efforts on building your own house list, rather than purchasing or renting a list from a publisher or list broker. The following tips will help you build a valuable house list, both online and offline:
Build Your Email List Online
Your Website is the best place to grow your email newsletter subscriber base. Leverage the following tips to make the most of this process:
- Offer your e-newsletter sign up on every page on your Website. Your email newsletter sign up should be a consistent call to action offered on every page of your Website. It’s the best way to build your house list.
- Add a ‘subscribe to our email newsletter’ checkbox on every form on your Website. Every lead generation form or inquiry form on your Website should include a checkbox allowing people to easily signup to your email list.
- Make sure your e-newsletter sign up form is short and simple. Don’t scare away subscribers by asking for too much information at signup. The more information you ask for, the fewer people will complete the form. I recommend you just ask for their name and email address.
- Allow people to review your educational e-newsletter prior to sign up. An effective way to entice people to subscribe is to let them sample the goods. On your email sign up form, provide a link to prior issues so they can see how valuable your e-newsletter is.
- Offer an incentive at signup. You will get more subscribers if you also offer an incentive, such as a whitepaper, ‘how-to’ guide or discounts on future purchases, to sign-up for your newsletter.
- Include a ‘subscribe to our email newsletter’ call to action in your email signature. Add a brief statement to your personal email signature that describes the benefits of your e-newsletter such as, ‘Subscribe to our e-newsletter for tips on how to grow your business.’
- Show appreciation and say thank you. Send a welcome email thanking new subscribers immediately after they sign up. Include a link to your e-newsletter archive for their convenience.
- Encourage subscribers to ‘forward to a friend.’ Your customers are probably friends with your best prospects. Make it easy for subscribers to help you build your list.
Build Your Email List Offline
Just because I am talking about online marketing don’t forget about your offline communications with customers and prospects. Often these interactions are a great opportunity to build your email list.
- Ask your customers for their email addresses and permission. Whether it’s done over the phone or in person, ask salespeople and customer service people to tell all of your current customers about your email newsletter and ask permission to add them to your list.
- Promote your email newsletter in all printed marketing materials. Whether you’re producing a brochure, letter or direct mail postcard, always include a line asking the recipient to sign up for your email newsletter.
- Tout your email newsletter on invoices and packing slips. Any transactional communications you have with customer is an opportunity to grow your list.
- Promote your email newsletter on product registration and warranty cards. Have a check box to let customers sign up to receive your email newsletter.
- Collect email addresses at trade shows and other events. As people visit your booth, let them know about the great educational resource you can offer. Just ask for their permission and their business card.
- Send postcards to customers encouraging them to subscribe. If you have postal mailing addresses for customers but not email addresses, send a post card with an invitation to subscribe to your email newsletter.