E-mail List Building Basics

Doesn't everyone want their e-mail list to be larger? It's not uncommon, however, to find companies that have not checked off the basic steps. Have you?

1. Make sign-up ubiquitous. The invitation to join the e-mail list should be part of your primary navigation so that no matter where consumers land on your site, they don't have to search to find the opt-in page.

2. Make sign-up easy. The more information you request from potential subscribers, the less likely they will be to sign up. Capture the impulse with a single box for the e-mail address and an "opt-in" button. You can gather additional information after you have achieved the primary goal.

3. Include a request at check-out. If you are conducting commerce or require information for premium content, always include an opt-in box.

4. Include a request in transactional e-mails. If you send auto-responder e-mails to confirm purchases, allow tracking, etc., include an invitation to opt-in.



5. Invite customers in traditional media. Leverage your print, broadcast and other efforts to encourage e-mail sign-up.

6. Promote your e-mail in others' e-mails. Look at non-competing efforts that reach your audience and include an ad for your program with a link to your sign-up page.

7. Promote your e-mail via search. Use search engine marketing to promote not just your site, but the unique content you deliver via e-mail as well.

8. Try co-registration. Co-registration is an option to check boxes to subscribe to other e-mail publications, offered after the consumer has opted in on a site. New ESPN e-mail subscribers, for example, are offered options to subscribe to other e-mails of interest to their demographic, by simply checking a box. I have seen both great results and horrible results from this tactic, and suggest tracking co-registrants separately through a series of e-mails to see if you've gotten responsive opt-ins or dogs.

9. Enlist your friends. Always include a Send-to-a-Friend (STAF) promotion and new subscriber invitation to help your friends build your list.

10. Build an e-mail program customers value. The foundation for success in all efforts is creating e-mails thatyour customers want to read. If you are truly considering customer needs and desires first and your marketing goals second, you will have a program that draws customers to you, is easy to promote, and merits recommendations.

Next week: Quality vs. quantity.

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