In a market filled with distractions and fences with greener grass in every direction, building and cultivating an audience is an absolute must for any business, regardless of the product or service they are selling. One of the few sure-fire ways to acquire and quantify such an audience is through the time-tested practice of building an e-mail list. Insurance brokers, real estate agents, and home lenders alike use email marketing to keep the attention of current clients and to reach prospects.
E-mail marketing is as old as the web. It was the Internet’s original killer application, and even with texts, Instagram and half a dozen popular social media destinations vying for attention, e-mail still holds a central place in the infrastructure of the network. All that said, there are right and wrong ways to go about email list building. Getting it right can lead to reliable sales and a better community. Getting it wrong can be costly in both time and money. Here are some things to consider.
1. Double Opt-In
E-mail lists made up of enthusiastic participants are golden. Lists that are filled with people who aren’t quite as energetic about being a part of your community can be a drag on your business. For this reason, even if someone signs up for your list, your first communication with them should be to confirm their sign-up. If they respond positively, then you can be reasonably sure they want to be a part of your program. If they don’t respond, then, in the long run, you’ll likely be better off dropping them.
It is better to have ten true fans than 100 names on a list who may or may not be all that interested in your product or company.
2. Schedule your Mail
If you can, you should notify your list of the schedule you plan to use for newsletters and updates. As part of your announced plan, you should notify your list you will only occasionally send out announcements outside the normal schedule. This way, when your subscribers get your regular newsletter, they will be expecting it and may potentially be more likely to open it and read it. If, however, you e-mail on an unannounced or haphazard schedule, your e-mail is more likely to get lost in a long list of messages.
Set a schedule and stick to it. That way your audience will be looking for your mail instead of being confused about when and where it is supposed to arrive.
3. Prune Your List
If you have subscribers, who aren’t opening your newsletters and announcements, after a short time you should drop them from your list. Remember, it is better to have a few true fans than a big list of unengaged subscribers.
It is always a good idea to consider using an e-mail automation service to manage your subscribers and newsletters. Many of the features offered by good services will help you build a list much faster and more efficiently and help you evaluate your subscriber engagement levels as well.