Once you are committed to private mail list marketing, you want to focus on building your database of email addresses. The more people you can reach in your target market with your message, the better.
There are many ways to grow your list:
- Get your fans, followers, and friends in your various social media accounts to join your e-club. Provide some great incentive to have them do so, as it is imperative that you are in control of these relationships— they are extremely valuable. You want to make sure that when the next best thing comes along—and it will—you have a way to stay in touch, and provide them with access to your new accounts. I am sure that many past MySpace users wish they had done this before their friends moved on to Facebook.
- Depending on where your database resides and current legislation, you may be able to import from your existing database. You probably already have a customer or prospective customer list that you can import into your mail list. You may be able to send a one-time message asking them if they’d like to be on your list or join your e-club. Tell them what they’ll be receiving and how often, and stress the benefits. Provide them with a link to the sign-up page on your Web site. You need to be careful here with current legislation and where your database members are located (particularly if they reside in Canada).
- Use permission marketing techniques to ask if site visitors would like to be included in your list to receive your newsletter, your e-specials, your coupons, or anything else you want to use to entice them to join your list.
- Collect names and email addresses at all points of contact—registration desk at a hotel, trade shows if you participate, member renewal or registration forms for membership associations or organizations. Ask permission to add them to your e-club—remember to “sell the sizzle.”
- Have employee contests and reward the employee who collects the most sign-ups for your e-club.
- Have posters in your bricks-and-mortar location promoting your e-club and letting people know how to join. Think about providing an incentive: “Join our e-club and get a 10 percent off coupon for your next purchase [or a free gift].”
- Promote your e-club in all your direct-mail pieces and ads.
- Use direct email rental lists to ask for sign-ups.
- Use brokers to run campaigns on complementary sites to get targeted sign-ups.
- Promote your e-club in your signature file.
- Encourage viral marketing via existing list members: “Send a copy to a friend” works for a number of repeat-traffic generators such as coupons, newsletters, e-specials, contest information, special offers and promotions, and packages. Make sure that every viral marketing communication includes sign-up information so recipients can add their names and email addresses to your list as well: “If you’ve received a copy of this newsletter . . . or coupon . . . or e-special from a friend, and would like to join our e-club to receive your own in the future, click here.” The link should take them to a sign-up page on your Web site, or open a new message in their email program with “Subscribe” in the subject line and details of what exactly they would like to subscribe to in the body of the email message.
- If you use tele-sales, add to the script a line that promotes your e-club and asks if the person would like to join.
- Partner with other, noncompeting Web sites that have the same target market as you. Choose sites that have lots of traffic and a big database.