5 Easy Ways a Small Business Can Build Its E-mail List

E-mail marketing is everywhere these days and if you’re not making your way into your customers’ inboxes, then your business is missing out. Not just on important sales dollars, but other important business builders such as increasing brand recognition and creating more meaningful relationships with your audience. However, e-mail marketing can be a tricky endeavor. It has to be done correctly (let’s not forget the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003), and more importantly, your business has to work hard to construct a solid database of recipients – because let’s face it, if there is one to receive your e-mails, there really isn’t much point, is there?

Building a database doesn’t happen overnight. It takes diligence and patience, but with a little perseverance, it can be done relatively easily. Here are five easy things that any small business can do to build a strong email list:

1. Ask for email at the point-of-sale both in-store and online.

Yep, it’s that simple. Ask your customers for their e-mail addresses (hey, we didn’t say this was rocket science!) at the close of every sale. Since the patron is already at the buying stage, you know they are interested in your products / services so it’s safe to say they would also be interested in receiving e-mail specials and updates. Train every employee to ask for an e-mail at the point-of-sale and soon the question will become second nature. If you’re also an online retailer, ask for an e-mail address in order to send a confirmation e-mail and include a pre-checked box that opts buyers into your e-mail database, which they can simply uncheck if they are not interested.

2. Add a “join our email family” opt-in to your website.

For most businesses – even small ones – your website is a customer hub. People surf there for store hours, updates, new products and so much more. By adding a small box that invites visitors to opt into your e-mail family, it is possible to substantially grow your database. Remember, it doesn’t have to be fancy; actually, the simpler, the better in most cases. Ask for a first name, last name and an e-mail address and you’re done.

3. Provide an option to e-mail customer receipts instead of printing paper.

Offering e-receipts not only helps build your database, but it speaks directly to your environmentally conscience customers – a true win-win. Killing trees is so out anyway so ask every customer if they prefer to have their receipt sent directly to their inbox and then confirm they would also be interested in receiving email updates from your business. Don’t worry, you won’t be alone. According to USA Today, more and more small businesses are starting to embrace the environmentally friendly e-receipt.

4. Create an offer to turn visitors into leads.

By offering a free resource or complimentary gift certificate on your website and via your social media accounts where entrants have to provide a small amount of information, including an email address, visitors turn into potential customers / clients. If you don’t feel comfortable or don’t have it within your budget to offer a giveaway, encourage people to request to speak with a member of your team in order to request a demo, quote or free consultation.

5. Start a blog to attract more visitors to your website.

Starting a blog – and more importantly, maintaining that blog – can seem like quite an undertaking. However, a blog will not only help you build a larger database by driving readers to your website, but according to the Huffington Post article, Demystifying Small Business Blogging, it can also help your business build strategic community and translate to sales. Simply don’t have the time to pump out quality content for a blog? Consider hiring us to do the job. We can provide you with an experienced ghost writer at a reasonable cost.

Have you tried other tactics that have been successful for building your e-mail database? We want to hear about them! Head over to our Facebook page and comment on the post about this blog installment. Or if these suggestions sound great, but you’re still feeling lost on where to begin your e-mail marketing efforts, let us help.