Article: The Do's and Don'ts of Email List Building


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The Do's and Don'ts of Email List Building

by Annie Cooley

There are countless ways to grow an email list. Your email marketing ventures do not exist without a list – and a qualified list at that. Thankfully, there are numerous methods of gaining permission to begin a digital relationship with new prospective customers interested in your products and services.  Here are 5 of the best:

5 ways to build your list

1. Your website should be the first place you add an opt-in form. Consider the most relevant place to add it. This could be your home page, community pages and your blog. The opt-in form should be noticeable enough that people will take action, but you do not want it to distract from the general message.

2. Do you have a list of leads, but don’t have permission to send them email?  Direct Mail is an excellent way to gain permission for emailing. Create a postcard that drives recipients to a landing page. The landing page should offer something of value for free in exchange for the visitor’s contact information.

3. Create and offer valuable subscriber only content including whitepapers, industry reports and webinars. People will be more than willing to share their contact information with you if your content is valuable to them.  It is wise to ask for more than just basic contact information, such as profiling information that will help you better target them with future messages.

4. Providing the option to "Forward to a Friend" will help your most dedicated readers share your email communications with business associates and potential new customers.  This will drive new leads to learn more about your products andservices.

5. Social media is one of the quickest and easiest ways to build your list. Tweet a message encouraging people to join your newsletter. Post a comment on your Facebook wall doing the same. Start a LinkedIn discussion that allows  your connections to post their own links to opt-in.

List building techniques to avoid – as they are a sure fire way to have your service terminated through your email marketing service provider.

1. The number one list building technique you should steer clear from is purchasing an "opt-in" list. The contacts in this list have not opted in to receive information from you.By law, you cannot email messages to people that have not asked to receive information directly from your company.

2. Taking contacts from a partner or colleague and adding them to your email list. You will run the risk of being reported as spam because your email is neither recognized nor relevant to these contacts.  Before sending an email to any recipient, ask yourself, "Did this person explicitly sign up to receive this message from me?"

3. Many companies include contact information for key personnel on their websites.  This does not mean you can take those email addresses and send to them.  Scraping addresses off of a website meets the same criteria as the two techniques above – you do not have permission to send these contacts email.

Advanced Tip:
After you have successfully built an opt-in email list, how are you going to keep new leads that are subscribing to your list wanting more? One answer is to follow up with them fast! When they fill out your web form, automatically have an email sent welcoming them to your email communications. From this point forward, make sure that you always provide them with the relevant email content you promised them in the first place.

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