Do you have a mailing list?

If not, I can’t stress enough how important it is to start one NOW!

You may have contact with your customers and clients via various social media channels, but you don’t own that information and most of the time your message just gets lost in the constant flow of information bombarding their news feeds.

The benefits of having your own list

Almost everyone has an email address (or five) these days and most of those people log on and check their emails multiple times each day. If you have someone’s email address, you have access to that inbox whenever you want it. Your message will land straight in front of your customer without being lost somewhere in the far reaches of the social media interweb.

• once your email is in their inbox they can save it to read later
• Social media limits your reach so not everyone will see it
• Emails can be personalised and are delivered straight to everyone
• People on your list have chosen to be there
• Email newsletters and blog subscriptions are different

How to manage your mailing list

Whatever way you choose to manage a mailing list, I simply recommend that you don’t do it manually. Keeping a list on your PC in Excel or Outlook Contacts might seem like a good idea, but that information can quickly go out of date and isn’t the easiest to manage. Personally, I use Mailchimp for all of my own lists (I have my fingers in a few different pies) and recommend it to my clients too. And here’s why:

  • it’s free up to 2000 subscribers and 12000 emails per month
  • it allows you to give access to other people, so your PA or colleagues can all help manage your list
  • subscribe/unsubscribe options are standard
  • the templates are simple and all ready for you to use
  • your email is sent to every recipient separately (so no more ‘To’ field disasters!!)
  • your message can be personalised with your recipient’s name
  • reports let you see which campaigns work and which don’t
  • you can segment your subscribers based on their interests

There are other online options out there but they all cost money from the start and include AWeber (from $19pm) and Constant Contact (from £15pm).

How do I get people to sign up?

The easiest way to begin with is to ask people! You could add your existing contacts too but send an initial email to them to ask if they want to stay on your list or not.

Once you have your list up and running, it can be a good idea to offer subscribers something that they can only get by signing up to your list. It doesn’t have to be huge, but a 10% discount off their first order, a free e-book, or offer some tips that you have are all good to start with.

Just note that if you are going to go with a free download or series of emails in Mailchimp you’ll need to start paying for their service. I currently pay £6.49 per month for my automated emails so it’s not going to break the bank, but if you want to stay on their free package, it may be best to figure out a different way of saying thank you to your subscribers!

Final points

Whatever method you choose, let your subscribers know what to expect when they sign up then they should stick around! If you’re going to send out a weekly email it’s best to let them know so they don’t feel bombarded. And remember to make your content interesting or useful (and preferably both!) to be successful.

I’ll be back with some newsletter content tips in a later post.

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This information has been expanded from my presentation to Uttoxeter WiRE Network in September 2015.

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