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Growing Your Permission Email List

Starting from Square One

If you just started your business, or if you just launched your website, you probably don't have an email list to send to. So what do you do?

Ways To Grow Your Opt-In List:

  • Place your email newsletter signup form on your home page (i-Emailer gives you free signup boxes that you can customize and copy-paste to your website).
  • Link to your signup form from every page of your website (you might add a link to your footer, or side navigation).
  • Place a link to your email signup form in your email signature (ask everyone in your company to do it too)
  • Add the link to your signup form in all the invoices your company sends
  • Offer free giveaways to one lucky subscriber (it can be a company t-shirt, or something kooky, like a 20 pound box of banana candy).
  • Post free whitepapers or helpful articles on your site. They'll get downloaded like crazy, if you just offer them for free, and with no registration. Inside your whitepaper, place your own "full page ad" to your newsletter.
  • Send out personal, one-to-one emails to all your clients, and ask them to please signup to your newsletter.
  • In your "Contact Us" form on your website, add a checkbox to "signup for our newsletter"
  • Add an "opt-in for our newsletter" checkbox in your e-commerce checkout page.


Already Have a List of Customers?

What if you already have an email list of customers that you've been doing business with for years? Well, just because they're your customers, it doesn't mean they want to start receiving your email newsletters.

Let's say you run a small consultancy with a couple dozen clients who are very close to you. If you just assume they'd want your newsletter, and you subscribe them to your list without their permission, you're just going to irritate a lot of them (or worse, get yourself reported as a spammer). I've had colleagues start their own companies, and then add me to their lists. It's kind of awkward clicking the opt-out link in those emails, know what I mean?

If you've got an e-commerce store, you're probably sitting on a huge email list of customers who have purchased something from you in the past. But if they didn't check a box for email marketing, or if you haven't emailed them anything in years, you shouldn't start sending them emails out of the blue. If only 0.1% of your customers forgot who you are, and report your campaign as spam, you could get blacklisted.

So what the heck can you do? It's simple, but surprisingly few email marketers bother. They're so excited about sending their first campaign, they throw politeness out the door.

If you have a list of customer email addresses, and you want to start sending them email marketing, but you don't have their permission yet, ask them for permission.

Send a "Re-Introduction Email." It's extremely effective, and best of all, it's polite. You just put together a personal note. Write it like you'd write to a friend. Here are some examples for different scenarios:

Example: "Hi Jane, we'd like to stay in touch with our customers and let them know about new developments in our industry. We're starting up a company newsletter, and I'd love to include you on our list of subscribers. If you're up for it, just click the link below to opt-in. As our way of thanking you, the Welcome Confirmation Email that you receive will include a link to a free whitepaper on..."

Example: "Some time ago, you purchased something from our online store (SKU# 98765), and you indicated that you'd like to receive future email promotions from us. Well, we've finally gotten around to starting up a newsletter, and we just want to make sure you still want to hear from us. If you do, please click the link below to subscribe..."

Example: "Some time ago, you purchased something from our online store (SKU# 98765), and you indicated that you'd like to receive future email promotions from us. Well, we've finally gotten around to starting up a newsletter (below is our first issue). If you don't want to hear from us anymore, we totally understand. Just click here to unsubscribe from the list."

Example: "3 years ago, you came to our booth at the ACME Trade Show in Chicago. You signed up for more information about when we'd launch our XYZ Widget..."

You get the gist. Remind them who you are. Remind them how they got on your list. Do everything you can to prevent them from mistakenly reporting you for spamming. Here's a re-intro campaign we really liked from ModernPostcard.


Other Useful Resources:

  • Free Email Marketing Guide
  • Inbox Inspector: Generate screenshots of your email designs in all the major email programs, test all the major spam filters and email firewalls, and scan for spammy keywords in one click.

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