Best Practices for Growing and Maintaining Your Mailing List

Your mailing list enables you to build trust, keep you connected to customers, communicate the purpose and brand of your company, and dramatically increase your sales.

It’s one of the most effective marketing tools you have.

If you aren’t seeing results from your mailings, it’s time for an overhaul. Here are five checks for your mailing list strategy.

1. Collect Email Addresses First

  • Use your first contact with potential customers to add them to your mailing. Once they walk away from you, leave your website or scroll past your ad, you’re dependent upon them finding you again. By collecting their email addresses you can initiate the next point of contact.
  • Even before gaining potential customers as a follower on social media, ask them to join your mailing list. Only after they are on your list, should they be directed to your social media accounts. A subscriber to your mailing list is more valuable than a social media follower.
  • Be strategic with your promotions and giveaways. For giveaways, I favor requiring entry by joining the mailing list whenever possible. It’s an easy way to see quick growth of your list. Entry by commenting on or sharing a social media post has its place and is great for boosting your social following. Use this entry method as a secondary approach and joining your mailing list as the primary method.
  • When you meet someone in person and they express interest in your business, don’t think handing them your business card is enough. Ask for their contact information and if it’s okay for you to put them on your mailing list. Likewise, if you have a retail store, ask for an email address when a customer makes a purchase. If you’re at an event, collect email addresses from everyone you speak with.
  • 2. Require Double Opt-In

    Double opt-in is when new subscribers have to confirm their subscription by clicking on a link that is sent to their inboxes upon subscribing.

    It’s a pain and often subscribers don’t confirm their subscription. The opt-in email lands in SPAM or the promotions tab, bounces due to a typo, or they decide they really don’t want to be on the list.

    It’s the loss of a subscriber, but if you sent these unconfirmed subscribers your emails, they’d land in the wrong folder anyway.

    Double opt-in helps to keep your list clean. When the subscriber interacts with your email by clicking on the confirm link, it tells the subscriber’s email client they want to see your emails.

    3. Optimize Your Website

  • Use clear calls to action like “Subscribe Now” or “Join the List”. It’s fun to be clever with your website copy, but not at the expense of confusing your visitors. Use a bold, contrasting color for your call to action buttons to make them pop and catch the eye of your visitors.
  • You have the ability to direct visitors to wherever you want them to go next on your website by using colors, copy and selective links. You can control their path through your website. Lead visitors to the subscription box.
  • Use at least three subscription boxes per page. It sounds like a lot, but you don’t know what point in your page visitors will be when they decide they want to subscribe. Scan this website. There are boxes to subscribe to my mailing list as a pop-up, within the content of every page, in the footer, on the right side of the blog and the bottom of every blog post.
  • Bonus tip: Look at the amount of space and attention I’ve given to attract visitors of this website to my social media accounts. Not much compared to all my mailing list boxes. I’m directing visitors to what I want them to do. After they join my mailing list I invite them to follow me on Instagram by providing a link and preview of my feed.

  • Use pop-ups. They’re annoying, I know, but they are incredibly effective at growing a list. Select the setting to trigger the pop-up only once during a visitor’s session. Some pop-ups can even be set to trigger when the system detects the visitor is likely to leave the site.
  • 4. Manage Expectations

  • Give visitors a reason to sign up. Tell them the purpose of your email list. Is it to receive discount codes, sale alerts, tips, exclusive content, motivation or monthly giveaways? Whatever it is, tell them what they can expect.
  • Specify how frequently you will be emailing them. If you send weekly emails, state on the subscription form that it’s a weekly email. Even be so bold (only if you’re consistent) to state what day of the week they can expect it. Remind them again when you send your double opt-in confirmation email.
  • Managing expectations will reduce the number of unsubscribes with each mailing.
  • 5. Content & Frequency

  • There isn’t a magic number for how often you should send mailings. Consistency is most important. It’s better to send emails less frequently, but consistently, than commit to a heavy schedule you can’t keep up with. Of course, emails shouldn’t be so infrequent that subscribers can’t remember your business or signing up for your list.
  • Emails shouldn’t only be a duplicate of everything you post on social media. Offer exclusive content that only subscribers of your list receive. Give subscribers a reason to stay on your list and open your emails. If they know they’re going to see the same content on social media, there’s no reason for them to open your emails. You can still share some of the same content, but add a little something extra.
  • Gone are the days of newsletters filled with lists of news and a couple articles. The most effective emails have only one purpose per email. Are you notifying subscribers of a sale or new product, sharing a blog post, announcing a giveaway or sharing a story? Each email should bring attention to only one subject. Direct readers to exactly what you want them to do by providing a single link or call to action button.
  • Bonus tip: If your emails are in letter format, use a one or two sentence P.S. at the end of the email to sum up and give a link. People can’t help but read a P.S.

  • Like frequency, there isn’t a magic number for how long your emails should be. Test various lengths and formatting with your list to determine what gets the best results.
  • Share in the comments

    What tip will you be executing next? Do you have another tip you can share for growing and maintaining mailing lists?

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