Tips to Build Your E-Mail List

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Why send an e-mail campaign? Why not! Unlike the time and expense of print, e-mail is a quick, easy and effective way to share news with customers.

Businesses should not wait until they have lots of news. The best e-mails are short, punchy and have a clear call to action with a link to more information on the company Web site. Growing businesses use e-mail marketing to send new product announcements, sales promotions, company news and more.

Here are some tips to accelerate list-building efforts:

1. Allow signups on the company Web site. The best place to collect e-mail addresses and permission is on the company Web site. People on the site are predisposed to receive information electronically, so e-mail is the perfect mechanism for them. To increase e-mail address signups, businesses must include a signup box on the home page. A link to sign up or a signup box on another page will not work.

2. Add a "join our mailing list" link to all e-mails. Add a "join our mailing list" link in the signature of every e-mail sent to clients, business associates, friends and family. The link should go on the home page, where the signup box is displayed prominently (as outlined in step 1).

3. Create a "forward to a friend" link. When sending a campaign, add a "forward to a friend" link at the bottom of the e-mail. Draw extra attention to this link by pointing it out in the text of the e-mail. As the e-mail gets passed along, recipients can join the list.

But don't forget about offline efforts to build your e-mail lists. Businesses must ensure that company employees think of gathering e-mail addresses at every opportunity. Those include:

1. Have a guest book in the office or store. Include an enticing offer, like e-mail-only sales promos or a drawing, to increase signups.

2. Offer a signup at trade shows or other events.

3. Ensure a Web address and invitation to join the list are on all printed materials, including invoices, statements, brochures, coupons, etc.

4. Add it to other marketing efforts like advertisements.

5. Ask on customer service, sales and technical support calls.



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