How to Build a Permission-Based Email List

To share information with your prospects and customers through e-mail, you’ll need an e-mail list.

That may sound a bit simplistic, but as anyone new to Internet marketing will tell you, it’s not the easiest thing on their “to do” list.

As an internet marketer, you may have found or created a great product or service.  You may have a super website that does an awesome job of describing what you have to offer.  You may have accumulated information that you really believe would be helpful to your prospects or customers.

What you need, however, is an e-mail list.

Here are some suggestions on how to build your list:  

  • how to attract e-mail subscribers
  • how to keep the information you collect safe
  • how to sort and use the data appropriately

In this era of information overload, getting people to share their e-mail address isn’t always easy.  People want their privacy…and sometimes they just don’t want to be overwhelmed by one more e-mail.

There’s good news, though.  People do want to receive information that’s useful to them.  Relevant information delivered when they want it, when they need it, and where they want it delivered. 

The challenge, then, is to meet them where they are…in their needs, desires, fears, and accomplishments. 

If you’re getting visitors to your websites, but not e-mail opt-ins, review your website.  Are there multiple opportunities…and incentives…for prospects and customers to provide their e-mail information? 

Is there something in it for them to do so? 

Is there a reasonable expectation that if they provide you their e-mail address, they will get something in return…immediately… that could be a solution…or part of a solution to their problem?

Maybe it’s a coupon; perhaps a free report; or an opportunity to contribute to, or be a part of, something “bigger” than them.  What might appeal to your target audience? 

How easy is the sign-up?  If your prospects or customers know you well, they may not mind giving you more than their e-mail address.  However, to attract new e-mail subscribers, providing just their e-mail address is often all they’re willing to do.

As you’re reviewing your website, this is a good time to check your graphics.  Do they draw attention to your opt-in box?  While it’s not necessary, you may want to consider a variety of sign-up options, such as buttons, text links, and check boxes.

Got it?   OK, then let’s move on.

You may have someone who’s fingers are poised on the keyboard, but they need something else.  They need you to ensure them you will use their information only as they want…and give you permission to.

Remember the importance of your first impression.  If it’s not right, it may be your last one. 

Once a prospect or customer has  opted-in or given you permission to send them e-mails, the first e-mail they receive from you is your “thank you” note, which clearly states exactly what the user has signed up for, specifies where they saw it, and requests a confirmation. 

Your first impression is made here. Within minutes of providing their information to you, the recipient should receive their e-mail response.  Make sure you’ve asked them to white-list, or place you on their “safe contact” list.  Whatever incentive you may have offered, make sure they receive it promptly.

Before you begin your first e-mail campaign, prepare an e-mail database for collecting information.  It’s important to make sure you organize your data so it’s easily viewed, and can be sorted to help you make the best use of it. In addition to Excel, Access, and many other database programs, most ESP’s (E-Mail Service Provider) have database utilities you can use.  If you need something more sophisticated, there are many more available.  What you want, however, is something that’s easy and functional, while protected from hackers, and never shared without explicit permission. 

Auto-responder software is a “must-have” if you have an e-mail campaign.  Auto-responder software is always under your control, and you and your e-mail recipients know that your list is safe.  There are numerous choices, and it’s good to review as many as possible before selecting what will work best for you.

Now that you have permission to send e-mails to a list of subscribers, make sure you constantly review your database.   If you don’t have a lot of information yet about what your subscribers want to receive, ask them.  Get relevant information about the type of information they’re interested in, the frequency they want to receive it, and who else they think might also be interested.  Keep your database updated constantly…and whenever someone opts out, make sure they’re promptly removed from your e-mail list. 

All e-mail permission can be revoked if your e-mails get repeatedly reported as spam, and all your efforts in carefully building your list will be for naught!

Just like in the old “Simon says” game, make sure your e-mails match the permission granted.

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