In an article in EmailLabs, Loren McDonald lists 28 ways to build permission-based email lists.
According to McDonald, email addresses change at a rate of 30 percent or more on most lists so marketers need to be aggressive in expanding their list for a significant return on investment. Before giving her tips on list building, however, she emphasizes the following guidelines:
- Use all points of contact with customers and prospects.
- Always obtain permission first, using the confirmed opt-in method for online contacts. For offline contacts, confirm their permission in the first email.
- Require the subscriber’s email address, name, format preference and interests/preferences.
- Give equal attention to existing lists, using strategies and incentives to activate inactive subscribers.
- Convince prospects of valuable benefits they will receive by subscribing.
- Clearly state your privacy policies to convey trust.
And now on ways to build the list:
1. Put a sign-up form on each page of your site.
2. Promote the benefits of subscription through strong call-to-action copy, testimonials and sample emails.
3. Offer opt-in incentives such as white papers, discounts and special reports.
4. To increase traffic and subscriptions, optimize current and archived newsletters for search engines.
5. Pay for search engine services like Google AdWords, and include email subscription information and a sign-up form on the landing page.
6. Add opt-in check boxes on well-executed demo requests, white papers and registration forms.
7. Generate new subscribers with minimal effort by bundling “Send to a Friend” options with promotional campaigns.
8. Encourage email subscriptions on all print ads using direct mail and catalogs.
9. Instruct employees to include the following message and link to their email signatures: “Subscribe to the Company X Email Newsletter.”
10. Instruct call center employees and sales staff to ask customers and prospects over the phone or online if they would like to receive newsletters or promotional email, then upon permission, capture email addresses.
11. To customers who have postal contact information but no email addresses, send a post card with an opt-in email subscription sign-up offer and URL.
12. Promote your email newsletter at public speaking engagements and seminars by handing out sign-up forms.
13. Rent email lists and promote your company in email campaigns and landing pages.
14. Add sign-up messages and links to opt-in pages of all confirmation and transaction emails.
15. Include an opt-in line on credit card receipts.
16. Add opt-in messages to warranty and product registration cards.
17. Add sign-up opt-in messages to invoices.
18. Display opt-in forms at cash registers.
19. Promote your email newsletter by including a reference and link after the byline of your articles in trade and consumer publications.
20. Include opt-in messages and check boxes on shopping cart pages.
21. Promote your email newsletter in other company publications such as print newsletters, magazines and brochures. Add “Visit www.companyX.com for more information” followed by “Sign up for our monthly newsletter at www.companyX.com/subscribe.html.”
22. In trade shows, offer email newsletter subscriptions to your booth visitors and convince them to opt-in.
23. Promote your email newsletter and promotional emails in industry directories and sites.
24. Distribute press releases based on newsletter articles, including links and subscription information.
25. Also include links to your email newsletter and subscription information in other company press releases.
26. Include opt-in information on customer satisfaction surveys, asking permission to communicate valuable information via email newsletters and promotions.
27. Include opt-in forms in product shipping boxes, and advertise email promotions on packing slips and direct mail cards with links to your site.
28. Use a reputable email list service that obtains email addresses and permission to email existing customers. Obtain permission before - or as part of - the first email you send.
With these tips to go by, there will be no need to send unwanted, unsolicited commercial email.