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10 Tips for Building a Revenue-Generating Mailing List for Email Marketing

by Wendy Lowe  |  
August 17, 2010

While philosophers debate the metaphysical and the physics of whether a tree falling in a forest makes a sound when no one is around to hear it, small-business owners are more concerned about the realities of email-marketing programs.

If no one's reading the email campaign, no matter how great it is, it's not going to make any noise for your brand or your sales.

The start of a great email list is one that is filled with customers and prospects who have said yes to receiving information from you and who will be moved to action if the time or offer is right.

But the list needs to grow if you want your business to grow. Asking for an email address at the end of a phone call is a good place to begin, and there are several other ways to add to your list.

Follow these 10 tips, and soon you'll have an email list that helps win business—and is the envy of your competition.

1. Ask for email addresses at the point of sale. If customers purchase from you once, and you do a good job, there's a high likelihood they'll purchase from you again. Tell them they will be notified about discounts on selected items and exclusive email-only specials, and given first notice of sales by signing up for your mailing list, either online or in person.

2. Promote (or start) a loyalty program. A loyalty program makes customers feel special with the promise of exclusive members-only benefits. You can encourage customers to sign up for yours (and give you their email address) with an on-the-spot discount or a special offer, such as a free gift.

3. Offer free information. You may not realize that by sharing a little bit of your business expertise for free, you can entice customers and prospects to give you their email information.

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Wendy Lowe is director of product marketing for email marketing solution Campaigner (, which is provided by Protus ( Wendy can be reached at

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  • by Matt Dorian Fri Aug 20, 2010 via web

    Item 1 is the most important factor. Remember to ask. It's by far the most simplistic and most efective way to increase the amount of email signups. You can check out our pointers here:

  • by Carolynn Fri Aug 20, 2010 via web

    Love these top 10 lists! This is filled with simple, easy to implement suggestions suitable for either B2C or B2B small businesses. I've recommended several of these ideas to my clients and have had good success, but as Matt says, first you have to ask. One of my mantras is, "The answer is always no unless you ask." Thanks, Wendy, for developing your top ten ways to expand your email marketing list.

  • by Barbara Bix Wed Sep 29, 2010 via web

    This may sound like heresy from a marketer,but...

    I get that drip campaigns work and that it makes sense for companies to send marketing messages to those that have signaled interest with a request for information.

    That said, is that truly opt-in for an ongoing email stream? I always wonder how people feel about a) having to give their email address to access information and b) how they feel about getting the follow on emails that ensue.

    I'd appreciate your thoughts, not as fellow marketers, but as potential prospects of the vendors' and service providers' sites you visit.

    Thanks in advance!

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