Building Your Own Email List

Of the many ways to obtain an email list, by far the best and most productive e-list you will ever use is your house list.

A house list consists of customers and inquirers who have volunteered to receive emails from your business. Since they know you and intentionally opted in, they are most likely to look forward to, open, read, and act on correspondence from you.

Tips for building a productive house list

First, please memorize Rule 1: Never, ever add anyone to your e-list without permission. It alienates people, and can even lead an email server to block you. You can obtain permission with language like, “To receive valuable emails from XYZ Company with exciting news and special offers, click here.”

For added safety, send a confirmation with a link that subscribers can click to confirm, and one they can click to decline.

That said, here are some ways to build your house list:

  • Set out sign-up sheets in your store.
  • Mail postcards inviting people to sign up.
  • Add a sign-up box, button, or link to your website, Facebook page and individual email communications.
  • Include a “forward this email to a friend” link in all emails.

Need more help? Many reputable third-party vendors provide free or low-cost web-based tools that make it a breeze.

Warning: lists go out of date fast. The best way to keep your house list fresh is to use it often, and to track what happens in terms of opens and actions taken.

If a contact joined your list over 90 days ago and has not opened an email message from you since, chances are you’re being ignored, marked as spam, or going to an address that is no longer current.

You can also keep a list fresh by sending only useful, relevant information. Contests, surveys, free offers and exclusive product offerings can make it worth your customer’s while to remain on your list, and alert you of address changes.

Finally, always include a link for opting out. I admit that this may seem a bit counter-intuitive, but it’s considered a best practice. Moreover, giving customers control over their own information is smart customer relations.


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