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Although many business owners are still hesitant to move away from snail mail or the phone for marketing, others are rapidly discovering that e-mail marketing is one of the most effective ways to generate sales. Research conducted in 2009 by the Direct Marketing Assn. found that e-mail outperforms all other forms of direct marketing. If you’re new to e-mail marketing or want to crank it up a notch, here are three tips to help you build and grow your e-mail marketing list without having to look for additional budget.
1. Leverage the marketing programs you already have in place. No one can opt in if they don’t know you have valuable information to share, so don’t forget to:
Include a line in your e-mail that links to the sign-up page on your website.
Bring a laptop to trade shows and ask those visiting your booth to sign-up for your e-mails.
Keep sign-up cards by your store’s register.
Refer listeners to your website in your radio ads.
Include a link to your sign-up form in your e-mail signature.
2. Make it easy to opt in. Once people are on your site, make it as easy as possible to opt in by having a very visible link on the home page and on every other Web page. Signing up should take as little time as possible, so don’t ask for too much information at this point. Make sure your form is above the fold (what you see on the screen when your website first loads).
3. Don’t deluge your subscribers with too many e-mails. How much is too much? It depends on your message, so set expectations. Let people know what they’re in for before they hit the ‘submit’ button. After they’ve had time to digest the information, ask a sample from your list what is the ‘right’ number of e-mails; they’ll let you know. Otherwise you’ll find out the hard way—with an unsubscribe request.
Product Marketing Manager
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To submit a tip for consideration, first check our archive of previous tips to make sure you're not repeating a tip someone has already contributed. Then send the tip to Small Business channel contributor Michelle Dammon Loyalka. Because of the volume of material she receives, she may not respond to each individual.