We get plenty of email marketing questions from our customers, some of whom are still treading gingerly into a weird, and sometimes wacky online world.  So we’ve put together our “Email Marketing Basics” Q&A series, to lend direction to email marketers who are just starting out.  We’ll be adding to this section as we go along, and you can keep up with us by subscribing to our RSS feed and newsletter.  (We’re doing some online self-marketing here as we speak.)

Apart from inviting visitors to sign up on my web site, how else can I build my mailing list?

  • Use your offline resources.  If you have a physical store, get your staff to check with customers if they would like to receive email updates, and place a sign-up book at the checkout counter.  If you’re making calls to existing customers, take the opportunity to pop the email question.  At a business meeting, seminar or networking event, mention your email newsletter and collect business cards from interested parties (or have a sign-up sheet ready).  After which, drop them an email and direct them to your subscription form, or simply get them to reply to your email if they want to be added to your list.  But remember to keep those replies, because you never know when you will need them as proof of subscription.
  • Sweeten the deal with a gift.  You can offer tangible incentives such as discounts or freebies in return for signing up, or highlight your ability to provide valuable information (e.g. tips and tricks, contributions by industry experts).  You can also package your content in the form of crash courses that are relevant to your audience, and deliver the material over a series of emails.  Or, try the fun approach – think lucky dips, contests or games that require participants to sign up beforehand.
  • Be an active member in relevant discussion boards, and let other members know how they might benefit from information in your web site or email updates (but before you do, check that this isn’t against the rules).
  • Rope in existing subscribers to spread the word.  Marketers often do this by attaching a “send to friend” or “tell a friend” link at the end of their web or email features.

More to come soon.

About James Trumbly:
Director of Business Development for eConnect Email, an email marketing software company. James enjoys spending time at the beach and traveling in his free time. Follow him on twitter @eConnectEmail