Building A Better Email List: How to Expand your List

Now that you have your House List in place (read post here), you want to focus your attention on widening your reach by expanding your email list.

iStock_000001234412Small There are two schools of thought for expanding your email list:

  1. Some companies want as many names on their list as possible. This approach allows them to touch many; however, the response rate is usually less.
  2. The other approach is to have a smaller, more qualified list. While you are not reaching nearly as many people, the response (and read) rate is higher. Personally, this is my recommended approach.

Keep your overall objective in mind as you build your list.

Here are some ways to expand your email list.

At your office or place of business:

  • Ask every caller if they want to receive your email newsletter.
  • Request customer email addresses on your POS, online ordering or checkout system.
  • Add space to your comment cards or surveys for people to sign up.
  • Put tent cards, wall or counter displays in your place of business or model homes.
  • Staple a sign-up card to customers’ receipts, or include in the envelope if you mail them invoices.
  • Ask for email addresses in guest books and registries.
  • Use a fishbowl on your counter or in your model home (a kitchen counter works well) to collect sign-up forms or business cards.

If you are online and use social media:

  • Ask Facebook fans and Twitter followers to sign up for your list by providing a link to your sign-up form on your website.
  • Add a “Join My E-Mail List” button to your website.

When you’re at events, in the field and networking:

  • Bring a sign-up sheet to every public event you exhibit at or participate in: fairs, open houses, and fundraising and community events – any place where dozens of people will encounter you.
  • Leave postage-paid sign-up cards behind when you visit clients and prospects so they can mail one back to you. Just write your address on the back and affix a stamp on it – and it won’t cost them a penny to join. Source: Constant Contact

Although today people are accustomed to providing businesses with their email addresses, often times it is much easier to get an email out of someone if you provide them with an incentive.

  • Use a teaser, if applicable, about getting the inside scoop, coupons or exclusive offers from you.
  • Offer a weekly or monthly prize, like discounts or gift certificates. Make sure you announce these winners in your email newsletter so readers know who they are.
  • Offer free information (such as a tips list, checklist or free report) in exchange for an email address. This is particularly effective for online visitors and will build your list automatically.

Remember, your email list will only be effective in garnering you more business if you provide content that is fresh, relevant and consistent. If you are focused only on you – and not your reader – you will quickly lose your audience and your reputation.

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