Five ways to build your email database

By Julia Keady

We all know that email marketing is the cat's pyjamas in terms of direct selling, but how do you get your potential customers to sign on, stay on and refer you to their friends?

Email addresses are the currency of modern marketing. Customers give them out reluctantly and they expect something in return for access to their inbox. Here's five ways to earn them and then keep them subscribed.

1. Optimise your website for email capture

Instead of giving them an email address, get them to fill out a web form when they make an enquiry. Also make sure that every part of your website gives them the chance to sign up quickly and easily. Build in lots of contact options like 'Get a quote', 'Find out more', 'Give us feedback' and 'Ask a question'.

2. Give something in return

This could include a free e-book, subscriber-only discounts, useful content, inside access to networks, notifications of special events, competitions and special giveaways - anything that is valuable to your customers. Also consider giving your current subscribers incentives to refer to their friends with special deals.

3. Provide options

Most email addresses 'go dead' (they stop opening your emails) because the content is not relevant to the customer. Give the customer the option to sign up for niche content and areas of special interest rather than taking a shotgun approach.

4. Gather emails at events

Collect addresses from people you meet at trade shows, meetups and conferences and import them into your database. Better yet, host your own event, then collect registrations using email addresses. If you don't have the resources to put on a big in-person event, think about online options such as live webinars.

5. Spread the word

Plaster your incentive to sign up over everything that has something to do with your business. Shop windows, brochures, advertising, invoices, mailing envelopes, business cards, packaging, Facebook pages, quotation forms - everything that will be in front of a potential customer should contain an invitation to engage.

Email marketing is the most successful direct selling and repeat business strategy there is. If you take the time to get it right, it can be the backbone of your sales strategy. Have you had a good look at your email strategy lately?


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