Getting Customers Using Email Marketing - Part 1: Building A Good Mailing List

By Shan Balasuriya Posted Date: 2013-10-31

The first and foremost step in any marketing campaign is to set up a client list of information that can be used when sending out marketing emails or newsletters. Your mailing list will primarily contain email addresses, and may also contain other useful data which can be used to identify your target market. Using the information in your mailing list you may be able to send a marketing email specifically to people who have interest in the topic of the email. This results in a more effective online marketing strategy.

Setting up a mailing list is not always easy and sometimes lists of emails can be bought for marketing purposes. Even though buying email addresses can increase your exposure, it may not always be good exposure and can hurt the perception of your business online. Especially if people receiving the emails don't want to be seeing it and find it annoying resulting in it being recognized as spam, It can also result in a very ineffective campaign, with significantly high percentage of bounce rates.

Building a mailing list of people who have opted in to receive it is guaranteed to be more effective. It is especially a good option for small businesses that are just starting to build brand recognition and don't want to associate ‘spammy’ emails to their business. Email Marketing sent out to people who have "opted-in" is likely to be more successful because they are seeing information that they want to see and know where it is coming from and why.

In order to build a good 'Opted-in' mailing list you must present your prospective clients with many opportunities to sign up to your mailing list. This must be done during customer interaction by asking for email addresses whenever possible; like at the point of sale, within a store, on a website or facebook group, and even during sales calls. For better results it is good to let people know what your emails will offer them, such as useful info, invitations to special events, discounts and promotions.

Below are some ways you can improve your email marketing list:

  • Provide your subscribers with content that they will find useful, in return for their email addresses. This can be done in many different ways, for instance an offer or giveaway which would be provided upon the user signing up to your mailing list. A lot of e-commerce websites make use of this strategy so as to capture the attention of their target market, especially if it is the launch of a new product. Usually this is done in the form of a discount offer; “Receive an exclusive 25% Off On your next purchase, Sign up below to get your unique discount code”, advertising offers like this is a good way to generate a mailing list of interested customers. 
  • If you are providing another service and not necessarily selling a product a good approach is blogging, by writing up regular blog posts that engage the user it is a good strategy to creating interest. Once you have an audience for your blog, the next step is to get email addresses of interested customers, creating for example an e-book or a special blog post that is catered around your service, with an engaging title like “Secrets to making money online” will no doubt initiate the readers interest. This special post or e-book must only be made available for download or can only be viewed if the user subscribes with an email address. This method will most likely populate your mailing list with people who have a genuine interest in the topic being discussed, and  if you have a service that goes with it they are likely to be interested in that too.
  • The next important thing to building a mailing list is to provide viewers of your website with plenty of opportunities to signing up to the mailing list, especially at the point they have the most interest in your website. For instance it is great to have a subscribe option right after your blog posts or in the footer of your website, usually if a person gets to the end of your blog post or even the footer of your site that means they are genuinely interested in your content. Same with the ‘About Us’ page, if users usually browse through to your ‘about us’ page they want to know more about your company. Why not make use of these moments of interest to capture their email addresses by providing them the option of subscribing to your mailing list. 
  • Another good way of providing users with the opportunity to sign up to you mailing list is using a popup light-box feature. When using a popup light-box to request email addresses from your website visitors, it is important to be careful that you provide them with this option at the right moment. Using such a feature the wrong way can give a negative impression on your business or website.
  • For instance it is always good to display this popup only upon the third or fourth interaction with your website. This prevents users who arrive on your site for the first time from being bombarded with sign-up requests even before seeing the homepage, this usually ends up giving them a bad first impression and is not good practice. Another good strategy is to display the pop-up only once every few days, this prevents regular visitors of your website or blog from getting annoyed by the popup.

Other strategies to improving your mailing list include:

  • Encourage your subscribers to share your newsletters/blog posts. This can be done by providing them with social sharing buttons (like facebook and twitter) within your emails. 
  • Collect email addresses offline, at events like tradeshows and even through personal contacts.
  • Create a free online tool or resource that users will find extremely useful and give it away upon them signing up via email.
  • Create targeted subscription types; This can be done by providing users with option of selecting their what they are interested in (from a drop down) when signing up to your mailing list. This can then be used to categorize your mailing lists and send users email newsletters that are specific to their interests. This is likely to give you a higher conversion than sending emails to a general list.

The above tips are ideal for building a great email marketing list. Good online marketing strategies coupled with great website design are the best ways to generate clicks and conversions online.

At Web Choice Online we specialize in quality website design services and also provide effective online marketing services, speak to us today for more information on how we can help your business grow! 

Look out for next week’s blog post for part 2 on steps to getting customers using email marketing.