When your business is just starting out in the world of digital and email marketing, building an email list may seem like a daunting task, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to be.  Follow our suggestions below for starting a solid list of contacts and watch the referrals roll in.

Have a sign-up form on your website

It’s 2016.  Your business needs a website, even if it’s super simple.  In fact, the easier it is to navigate, the better.  And that easy, simple website should definitely have a place for customers and potential customers to sign up for updates, sales and promotions from you.  The sign-up can be a dedicated page or a “lightbox” pop-up, but this is not optional if you want to expand your email list.

With the sign-up box, you will reach people who are opting in to hear from you and they are the basis for any coveted “opt in” email list, which is the gold standard in email marketing.  The best part is your web developer can automate this so it’s no extra work for you.

Collect business cards

Prefer the manual route? Collecting business cards for raffles, contests or just by good old fashioned networking is a great way to add to your contact list.  Just add the contacts to a spreadsheet, send it over to your Create My Newsletter rep, and we’ll get them added to your official list in no time.

All you have to do is ask

If you provide an in-home service and don’t have a traditional customer-facing storefront, consider just asking your clients to provide an email address. Make sure they have the option to only receive communications regarding their specific services, but let them know that they can also get on your list to receive general information from you. The most important thing is not to send too many emails and to make sure the emails are helpful—nothing will make someone unsubscribe faster than getting too many emails without relevant content over a short period of time.

Maintain, maintain, maintain

This is the step that some people tend to forget about.  Just like having your car tuned up regularly, once you have your email list, you have to maintain it to keep it working properly.  That means updating bounced email addresses and even removing people from your list if your Create My Newsletter analytics show that they never open or click on your content.  If a contact moves, you’ll need to update their contact details.  It’s even a good idea to check in periodically with your clients when you see them in person to make sure you have the most current contact information.

A few more tips

Remember—slow and steady wins the race.  You can’t expect to have thousands of addresses from day one.  We’ve cautioned about this before, but you should never purchase an email list in hopes that it will get you what you want—you risk alienating current and potential clients this way and you could run afoul of SPAM laws.  If you ever have any questions about your email list, your Create My Newsletter account rep is just a phone call away. Happy emailing.