How to Build Your Own Opt-in Email List

As an email marketer you’ll find you can spend considerable sums of money on list rentals. You might be thinking to yourself, “I wish there was a less-expensive way to market via email.” There is. With few exceptions, all the major companies I’ve worked with have started their email efforts by renting lists and over time transitioned their efforts to building their own permission-based house list. In this chapter we discuss successful techniques for using a newsletter to build your own house email list.

Write an Email Newsletter

Many companies build their contact list by creating and distributing an email newsletter. These companies often have an email sign-up form prominently displayed on their homepage. In some cases, they’ve gone to lengths to include the form on every page, which can be a good idea. But the question remains, with everyone asking for your email address, why should you give it out? If you can provide a compelling answer to that question you will be able to double, triple – even quadruple – the number of subscribers you receive.

You need to give people a reason to subscribe. What do they gain by becoming a part of your email list?

I belong to the Southwest Airlines email list so that I can get regular updates and stay on top of discounted plane fares. I subscribe to some different newsletters because they provide good tips and advice that help me run my business.

There are very few newsletters I subscribe to just because I saw their email sign-up form. That just isn’t enough.

Create Opportunities for Customers to Contact You

A great way to gain permission to email someone is by having them contact you first. Consider giving away a free report or some information package. You might even offer a free catalogue. To receive the item, they give you their email address. You can then contact them about future offers, unless they ask to be removed from your list. This is one of the most effective ways to build your list. Just make sure that the free item is related to your future mailings so that your list stays targeted.

Building Trust is Key

Getting people to give you their contact information and their sacred email address will require that you illustrate you are trustworthy. Based on the volume of Spam received by most email users, it’s important to show your potential subscribers that you will not abuse or share their email.

Here are a few elements that can help you build the trust necessary to put your site visitors at ease so they will subscribe to your list.

1. Use testimonials (Include names, companies, city and state)
2. Show a picture of your office
3. Include your phone number
4. Display photos of your employees with bios
5. Include your business name, address, telephone number
6. Offer a Free Trial (test it!) We stand behind our product.
7. Become a member of BBB Online or Truste
8. Become a member of a well-respected trade group

The more elements you display that show you are a trustworthy company that respects privacy, the more subscribers will feel confident when providing their email address.

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