It requires dreadfully hard work to build a robust, responsive and high-quality mailing list. Just flooding thousands of emails to the list of recipients in the database won’t do the trick. The truth is that acquiring email addresses is just a small part of the large process of email marketing. It is very important to realize that the company should build an individual relationship with every person behind the email address. If the starting is wrong, every chance for building a rewarding relationship with the subscribers is instantly killed. And on the other side, if the company proves itself worthy to its list of subscribers, then many happy years lie ahead for both the parties.
For list building some key components need to be kept into account like the method of acquiring the email addresses, how new subscribers should be welcomed, and how the relationship is maintained after the opt-in process. Acquiring the list of addresses is the easiest part of list building. But the basic rule here is to take explicit permission from the owner to send emails. Violation of this rule is going against the U.S. CAN-SPAM law regarding commercial email. This also leads to breaking of the relationship with the customer.
Addresses can be collected by online and offline means. Links for email opt-in should be posted on every page of the website, including the registration page and every transactional page. Paid search can be used to reach elevate the position in search engines results. The land up page should include a vivid link to the sign up page. Alliances can be searched who have a similar or a complementary business so to promote one’s company in return of promoting the other company. Incentives such as email only discount and free shipping can be offered to increase the subscription list. If the list is being rented from another organization make sure the list contains subscribers which have given permission. Offline means include collecting email addresses from visitors to the company, trade show or on-site. Email addresses can be asked for in appropriate situations by the customer support employees and telephone sales workers. Links for subscription can be posted in all printed material such as newspapers, flyers, magazines, bags, store signs, customer survey and feedback forms, catalogs, etc.
The next important step is to welcome the new subscriber. Because of the flood of emails filling one’s inbox, it is a tough to make one read the email and trust in it. A welcome message, with appropriate content, helps in building the relationship of trust with the subscriber. In fact, a complete welcome program must be build for this purpose. Welcoming a subscriber actually starts from the website’s registration page. This page should clearly explain the content, benefits and frequency to the subscribers. The opt-in page should be easy to navigate and shouldn’t be bothersome with numerous questions to be answered. For start four fields are sufficient: first name, last name, email address and format preferences. The other information can be collected via optional forms. After sign-up a thank you page must pop up immediately. This doses the confirmation job and leads the subscriber to the optional form. Next, a welcome email should be send to the customer. This email will not only build up the initial trust but will also check the validity of the email address. This email should include links to optional forms and the detailed preference page. It can also contain the subscription benefits and sample of the past best newsletters.
The next step of relationship management is the most important and delicate phase because of the personal relationship with every subscriber. If it is not taken care of properly, all the effort taken to collect email addresses for subscription list will be wasted. The subscriber’s preferences must be honored in order to expand the email program. The trends in bounces, inactivity and unsubscribing can be noted by the list statistics. Occasional special offers and surveys can be created for sustaining the interest of the readers. People who haven’t opened the emails for a long time should be concentrated upon, especially. Send follow-up emails and query messages.
Opt-in list building takes lots of time, energy and dedication. Certainly all the effort is worth it in the end, which can be seen by the healthy growth of the mailing list.