A myriad books and articles have been written lately about the validity of opt-in lists, which are advantageous both for click-and-mortar and for brick-and-mortar companies.

Once you have targeted names in your company-managed list, you can cross-sell and up-sell those existing and potential customers your offerings—a proven less-expensive way of increasing revenue and creating customer loyalty.

We know some tried-and-true tips and tricks for building your list. There are five key points to consider and five glaring points to avoid when creating opt-in lists from the very beginning.


1. Know how to reach your target audience

Spend some time in market research to find the top 10 places to reach your target audience in the next three to six months. Then work backwards with how you get the email addresses of those candidates.

For example, an email campaign to a list of target email addresses (e.g., purchased from a trade magazine) can have a trackable link back to a signup page. An affiliate listing should mention that you have an opt-in list, and preferably an opt-in signup from the affiliate site. Your booth at an event could have a PC that will allow a quick signup (or, worst case, have a clipboard signup sheet or a fishbowl for business cards.) A radio spot can list your homepage URL.

Remember that part of your marketing budget should cover various outbound ways of reaching your customer—just make sure that once they know about you they know how to opt-in to your mailing list.

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Teri Dahlbeck is the cofounder of GotMarketing.com