It may be tempting to populate your email newsletter list with existing customers and contacts, however this may not go down well with your recipients.
Even though it is acceptable under Canada's Anti Spam Legislation (Bill C-28) to email customers where "an existing relationship exists"; it doesn’t create a good impression for your business to email these contacts without their explicit permission.
Creating your Newsletter Contact List
Start creating your email newsletter contact list by inviting people within your community:
- Add an email sign-up form to your Facebook page, website, blog and shopping cart.
- Include an email newsletter sign-up form in your email signature.
- Invite people that complete a comment card or service survey to join your list.
Promise compelling content to encourage people to sign-up and tell them how often they’ll hear from you. Inform them if you will you be sending them industry news, white papers, case studies, how-to articles or insider tips on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis.
By creating this transparency, people will feel reassured about who they are providing their details to and what they are signing up for.
Keeping your Subscribers
The first tip to maintaining your list is simply delivering what you said you would. It sounds simple, but delivering on a promise builds your credibility and reputation. If your contacts are expecting social media marketing tips every three weeks, don’t risk your reputation by providing information on graphic design or trying to sell a non related product.
Delivering relevant information to your audience is key to maintaining your email contacts. You can do this by keeping in touch with your community by following them on social media sites, blogs and industry websites. Participate in the conversation and share what you’ve learned in your email newsletter. Include links to your blog, Facebook page, Twitter and website in each email along with a link to join your email newsletter.
Calling Subscribers to Action
Grow your email contacts by including a call to action in each email newsletter inviting your subscribers to forward it to people they know. Post your email articles on your blog, Facebook page and other social media sites to make it easy for readers to pass it on to their networks.
Consider running a promotion where existing subscribers can receive a prize for referring a friend or where new subscribers are entered into a competition.
Don’t Panic Over your Opt Outs
Although you do not want to encourage recipients to unsubscribe from your list, it is a legal obligation to include an ‘opt out’ link on all email newsletters. Remember though, just including the option is not enough; you must remember to update your subscriber list before you send your next email.
And don’t panic if over time some of your contacts unsubscribe from your list. It is natural for people’s interests change. However if you have any sudden increase in opt outs –consider asking them why. There may be a reason such as an increase in frequency of emails or a change in article content which has caused them to unsubscribe. You can then use this feedback to evolve your newsletter and keep your subscribers.
Remember, the goal is not just how many contacts in your list but the number of contacts you interact with, and who know your expertise well enough to refer business to you without hesitation.