Whether you’re a bookshop, a not-for-profit organization, a consultant, or an accountant, you need a steady stream of business, referrals, or responses from the people that keep your doors open. That starts with staying in regular communication with your audience.
When you build an ongoing dialogue, you increase the trust and comfort level they have with you. They look forward to hearing from you. You’ll stay top of mind with them.
As a result, they’ll become more loyal, spend more on your products and services, donate more frequently, and be more likely to refer you to their friends or colleagues.
Sounds great, right? The easiest, most effective way to build that dialogue is with email marketing. And that’s why it’s so important for small businesses to have and grow a contact list.
Start building your list
Here are some things you can do to build a permission-based list, wherever you go, however your organization interacts with the public.
At your office or place of business:
Ask every customer if they want to receive your email newsletter.
Request customer email addresses at your point-of-sale, when ordering online, or when checking out.
Add space to your comment cards or surveys for people to sign up. AND have a process to get them all in your Constant Contact database.
Put sandwich boards, wall, or counter displays in your place of business. Use a teaser, if applicable, about getting the inside scoop, be the first to know or exclusive offers from you.
Sign up sheet – download this word document and customize for your business – be sure to say who, what and when and that there always be an option to unsubscribe.
Use a fishbowl to collect newsletter sign-up forms or business cards. Offer a weekly or monthly prize, like discounts or gifts from your establishment or other local vendors. Let everyone know they’ll be added to your mailing list and announce the winners in your newsletter.
If you use social media:
Ask your Facebook fans, LinkedIn group members, and Twitter followers to sign up for your list by providing a link to your sign-up form.
Add a sign-up link to your social media bios to allow your social connections to easily sign up.
Share your latest newsletter on your favourite social network and let everyone see the great content you’re sending on a regular basis.
Create a “teaser” about your upcoming newsletter and post it on social networks telling your fans, followers, and connections what they’ll get if they subscribe.
On your website:
Add Constant Contact’s “Join My Mailing List” widget to your website and your Facebook Page so people can join your list.
Add a sign-up link to your blog; if someone enjoys what you have to say on your blog, there’s a good chance they’ll want to see your updates in their inbox.
Collect email addresses when people are making a purchase. Be sure to indicate they’re opting-in to receive future emails from you.
Conducting an online survey? Add a sign-up link to the survey to let people share their feedback and join your email list at the same time.
When you’re networking:
Get more exposure for your email list by including a subscribe link in your regular emails via your email signature.
Bring a sign-up sheet to every public event you exhibit at or participate in: fairs, open houses, fundraising events, craft shows—any place where dozens of people are going to learn more about your business.
Constant Contact’s Scan-to-Join feature allows you to create a simple QR code that, when scanned by a smartphone, takes your customers, clients, members, and supporters to a mobile friendly Join My Mailing List page. QR Codes – In your Constant Contact account -> look under Contacts -> Grow your list -> QR code over on the right -> customize a flyer, print and post. New customers can scan and sign up, logs into the back end of Constant Contact and you can start emailing them. Option to send to your web site or even a coupon after they subscribe by scanning the QR code. Try this one on the right to sign up for Echohill’s mailing list:
Host events and use the online registration tools in Constant Contact. Stay in touch before, during, and after an event by collecting email addresses when people register for it.
See what works best for your business and remember to:
Comply with these three CASL requirements
Obtain consent: Express – lasts forever – Ask permission and clearly state what you are going to deliver – this is best practice and the right thing to do! Implied – has a two year time limit