Wednesday, December 10, 2008

12 Ways to Build Your E-Mail List

Posted by Janet Attard, Courtesy of Business Know-How Thursday, Dec 4, 2008, 01:23 PM ET

Building an e-mail mailing list -- and mailing to it regularly -- is one of the most effective strategies for boosting Web site traffic and sales.

Whether you send your subscribers editorial information about your industry or niche, or mailings with information alerting them to new or updated products, discounts, and special offers, your e-mail newsletter can start delivering traffic and sales within minutes of the time you send it. The more names on your mailing list, the more traffic and sales you'll generate.

And that's the rub. Acquiring e-mail addresses for a mailing list is a challenge for many small businesses. Most don't know how to legally obtain them. Others, who have acquired a reasonable-sized mailing list over time, find that many of the older e-mail addresses on their list are now undeliverable. Job changes, a move to a new geographical location, change of ISPs, marriages (
name changes for women), and other factors cause individuals to abandon e-mail addresses and acquire new ones.

E-mail acquisition, therefore, needs to be an ongoing effort. Here are a dozen strategies you can use to build your e-list:

1. Be sure you have an e-mail signup form placed prominently on every page of your Web site. Remember, not every visitor will find his way to your home page.

2. Let visitors know what benefits they'll get by subscribing to your e-mail list.

3. Create a newsletter archive on your Web site where you post all past newsletters.

4. In addition to the signup boxes on individual We pages, create a Web page dedicated to acquiring subscriptions. That page should have the signup form, benefits for signing up, testimonials, and links to newsletter archives.

5. Include a link to your free newsletter in the author's resource box in articles you submit to article distribution sites. Be sure the link leads to the dedicated newsletter sign-up page on your Web site.
6. Include a link to subscribe to your newsletter in the signature line you use when you participate in e-mail discussion lists.

7. At trade shows, hand out flyers or business cards that direct people to a page on your Web site where they can subscribe to your newsletter.

8. Consider using a popup to remind people to subscribe to your newsletter. If you use DHTML to generate the popup, it won't be blocked by popup blockers. Although you may think a lot of people dislike popups, they do work and can double or triple your number newsletter signups.

9. Look for co-registration opportunities. If you can find partners who reach your audience but aren't direct competitors, cross-promote each other's newsletters with links on the e-mail subscription thank-you pages.

10. Include forward-to-friend links when you mail your newsletter.

11. Add an e-mail list opt-in box in forms visitors have to complete before getting access to white papers or free e-books you publish.

12. Include a link to your e-mail subscription page in the press releases you send out.

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