So, you’ve decided to set up an e-mail marketing campaign and get some more leads to your business. That’s great! What you need to do first and foremost is—no, it’s not to send out a newsletter A.S.A.P., although that is one step to it. No, what you need to do is look at your e-mail list.

This list will basically be what will make your campaign a hit or a miss. What you should not treat it as is any less than gold. Those aren’t just e-mail addresses—each person behind that address is a living human being who’s just as likely to show up at your business’s reception desk. As such, you need to treat your e-mail list as you would your regular customers or clients: like gold.

That being said, you may be wondering how exactly to add new customers to this list without coming across as desperate or rude. Wonder no more, because we’ve got some answers. Here’s how you can grow your e-mail list without coming across as a total jerk about it.

First, What NOT to Do

One of the worst things you can do is add e-mail addresses to your e-mail list without telling those people about you or your business. This action is guaranteed to result in not only lots of people unsubscribing, but also your e-mail address will be marked by them as spam. In an age where we’re already being spammed constantly by annoying telemarketers to the point where they’re even texting us on our phones, this is the last thing you should do with your e-mail list.

Another bad idea is to buy an e-mail list. Reputable e-mail marketing platforms such as Mailchimp and Constant Contact will not let you send e-mails to lists you’ve purchased, not to mention it’s a huge risk to your online reputation. Think about it this way: how would you feel receiving an e-newsletter from a company you’ve never heard of?

The golden rule: always, always ask for permission to add people to your e-mail list. By doing so you will build and earn trust in your customers. Trust is one of the most valuable assets any business can have in this day and age!

Getting Started: Your Staff

To get your e-mail list going, add yourself as well as your staff members to your e-mail list. That way you can preview your e-newsletter for any weird design flaws or spelling errors before you send it out.

Your staff, especially your receptionist or administrative assistants, will be your best allies in helping your e-mail list grow. Treat them as gold like your e-mail list! Ask your staff to offer surveys to customers or clients for feedback about your business after a service or transaction has been completed. This survey should include a request to add their e-mail address to your e-mail list. Not only will you receive referrals (always a must for certain services such as medical, consultation, or even financial), but also you’ll grow your e-mail list without being intrusive about it.

Your Website

If e-mail marketing is on your to-do list, first of all your website should have a sign-up form displayed prominently. This form should be simple and easy to fill out. The more details you ask from your customers, the less interested they will become and the more likely they won’t follow through with subscribing. Asking for their first name, last name, and e-mail address will be enough.

As for how the sign-up is displayed, it should be prominent but not invasive. It may be best to leave the sign-up option in the sidebar of your website on every page rather than designing and putting up a pop-up call to action. While a pop-up may work for some websites, this is not the case for every website. If you’re stumped on how best to design your newsletter call-to-action, it wouldn’t hurt to consult with a professional designer on the subject.

Your Social Media

Just because you’re setting up an e-mail marketing campaign doesn’t mean you should leave social media out entirely! In fact, most e-newsletters nowadays feature social sharing prompts and links connecting to their social media accounts. This is in case some customers would rather receive updates that way instead or would rather share via social media instead of e-mail. Give them the option to follow you on social media and they will come.

You can also grow your e-mail list using social media itself! Promote your new e-mail campaign with an informative post while leaving your customers the option to sign up for it.

Your Content

The content you create for your e-newsletters matters. Ebooks, webinars, tools (for example, Hubspot shares a blog topic generator they made themselves), discounts, sales codes for deals, blog content—these are all good things to put in your e-newsletter. Find out what works best for your business and make that the focus of your newsletters’ content. An e-newsletter is useless without valuable and helpful content that not only helps your customers but also prompts them to forward your e-mails to their friends and families.

Your Offline Presence

Collecting e-mail addresses while you’re offline works too! For those who prefer to be old school about building their e-mail list, use offline marketing strategies such as collecting e-mails while you’re attending events or conventions related to your industry. Make sure your business cards have your website’s address printed on it; that goes for all of your printed materials too. And don’t forget to be courteous and create a welcome e-newsletter to all those who are new and subscribing to your e-mail list.

So, have we given you enough to get started on building your list for e-mail marketing? Or is this all too much for you to do? If you’re still not sure, go ahead and contact us at V3 Media. Whether it’s revamping your business card or custom-building or re-designing your website for e-mail marketing, we’re here to help!