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One of the barriers to getting email marketing off the ground is creating a clean opt in list of contacts. You should think of this as an acquisition plan and have this as part of your overall marketing plan as it will drive a lot of additional business for you.
We all have clients so this is the first place to start. Here are the activities I do:
Usually this data is in the form of a business card. I will cover how I get business card data into my system in another post. If a prospect has been interested enough to see you and during the meeting you identified some areas where you may be able to do business, then these are a good recipient of your emails.
Again usually this data is in the form of a business card. I will cover how to get this into your system shortly. If a supplier wants to keep up to date with your business then why not help them by sending them information. They can also be a great source of referrals.
When I attend a networking group I always ask the organiser for a list of attendees ideally with email addresses. Where I think it’s required I also try to ask the group if they mind getting interesting and useful information from me in the future by email. This has allowed me to grow a very large list by attending some great speed networking events as well as smaller local networking groups.
If you are on a stand or doing a workshop/seminar/presentation always offer a freebie that you can send out by email. It has to be of value and might be a copy of the presentation, a how to guide, or just a list of some great show only offers. By doing so you again grow your list.
If you are an attendee why not looks for exhibitors that may need your services as ask if they would mind you sending them some information be email and take a card. Try and get a relevant email address, there’s no point in sending email to someone who can’t take action.
Opt in forms will attract interested prospects so are a great source for a list. To keep things simple I only ask for a first name and email address. The more you ask for the less opt ins you’ll get. All good email services will manage this automatically for you so when someone completes the form they are automatically added to a list in your chosen service. This means no work for you. You can also automate sending them a message thanking them, or use double opt in system for added security where they get an email asking them to confirm they want to subscribe by clicking a link.
“But Alan it’s an opt in list” I hear you say; no it’s not. An opt in list is a list of people that have signed up with YOU to get information from YOU.
I know this can be tempting but after reading this you are likely to have a decent number of contacts to start email marketing to. Lists will be rejected by most reputable email marketing service providers, and high bounce rates, unsubscribes, and spam reports will cause you some serious headaches, AND it’s very poor for your reputation.
You can learn more about the mechanics and legal issues of email marketing by reading the Wikipedia entry here.
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