An email newsletter can be one of the most effective methods of online promotion — but you have to get names on your list for a newsletter to be truly useful. Many businesses go to extreme lengths to convince visitors to their websites to join their email lists. If you take the time to get sign ups in person, though, you’ve got a clear advantage.
The truth of the matter is that if you’re dealing with someone face to face, especially if they’ve already decided that they want to do business with you, it’s much easier to convince them to join your mailing list. Customers, even before they hand over money, already have a personal connection with you that will make them more interested in hearing from you in the future. You’re likely to see email recipients who you’ve signed up for your list in person be more responsive to any offers you send out.
Why Build Your Own List?
We have seen some drastic differences between purchased lists and in-house lists that our clients cultivate themselves over time. While it is possible to purchase email lists, their quality is usually terrible and their open rates are worse. When we have a good in-house list, we typically see open rates between 12% and 17%, sometimes as high as 22%, depending on the audience. With purchased lists, the open rates are typically less than 5% to a much less targeted list.
Bringing Your Staff In
Depending on the size of your staff, it may seem like asking them to do even one more thing can be tough. But any employee that regularly interacts with customers — current or prospective — needs to be aware that you want to get people signed up to your newsletter. It may be enough to just establish asking for the sign up as one more step in what your team does, but you may find you need to take it a step beyond.
If getting newsletter subscriptions are a priority, offering your staff an incentive can make sense. Even something as simple as a dollar for every completed subscription can get your team interested in getting names and email addresses down. However, it is important to be clear about the types of people you want on your email list, especially if you’re offering your employees some sort of incentive. Getting plenty of email addresses from their friends and family won’t help you out if you don’t have a hope of selling anything to those individuals.
The Mechanics of Collecting Email Addresses
You can keep the process of signing up new members of your email list to a sheet of paper and a pen but, depending on the newsletter management software you use, you may need to consider how you’ll get those email addresses entered. Many such tools use double opt-in (requiring not just the submission of an email address but a confirmation, usually by clicking a link in an email, from the recipient) to avoid issues related to spam. But such systems can confuse new recipients who simply gave you their email address in passing. At the bare minimum, you’ll want to warn folks that a confirmation email is coming, if not edit the confirmation email entirely to make it clear that they signed up in person.
Taking the time to collect and enter email addresses, however, can be very worthwhile. It gives you a way to build up repeat business — and selling to someone who has already bought from you, or at least agreed to receive your email newsletter, is always easier than going in cold.