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5 easy ways to build an email list for your small business

Nathan Segal | March 1, 2013
The bigger your email list, the more potential customers you reach with each email. But building an email list can be a challenge for a small business owner. Fortunately, these five strategies require only your expertise and your time.

Treat Email List With Respect

A previous article looked at the use of autoresponders such as AWeber, iContact and Constant Contact. These programs let you add names to an email list manually or by way of a signup. While the automatic method of list building is obviously preferable, there will be times when you'll want to add names to your list manually. (Think of a restaurant with an email signup sheet at the hostess table.)

Before you start sending emails to your list, consider the following:

  • Make sure you have permission to do so-that is, that customers have opted in to receiving emails from you. If not, you could have problems with spam complaints.
  • Don't purchase email lists. This is a great way to generate a ton of spam complaints from people who have never heard of you. This can cause online reputation management nightmares and get your domain name blacklisted.
  • Don't include attachments in your messages, as they are likely to be blocked by spam filters. A better option: Place a link in your copy to a page for your customer to read.
  • Use short subject lines, drop the marketing jargon and write your messages in a casual format. Your customers are more likely to respond if a message doesn't sound like it was automatically generated.
  • Include only one offer in your messages at a time, and include a clear call to action for that offer. If you use multiple offers, you'll confuse your audience.

In my next article, I'll look at using social media and other networking sites for community building, which can work hand-in-hand with list building to help ensure the success of your business over time.


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