How to Create a Customer Email List

mailing -listCreating a customer email list is an important way to communicate with your customers about upcoming sales and events. It is also a great way to let your customers share your information with their different friends and colleges. The truth is that If you’re not building an email list, you’re making a HUGE mistake.

Why? Because when someone subscribe to your email list, they are really interested in your brand and are much more likely to open and share your email with others. It is not such a surprising fact, here is why:

Email is Personal – Email allows you to land into a user’s inbox. There is no ranking system limiting your reach. Your message is intended for a user and it lands into their inbox. It is very direct, personal, and casual.

Email is Purposeful – To get your email a user needs to signup for your email list. Someone doing this much work is obviously already interested into hearing from you and is much more receptive and responsive to your message.

Email is Targeted – As we mentioned earlier the user has already shown interest in your products. They have already given consent to learn more by receiving your emails. They are much more likely to click, buy, and spread the word around for your shop and products. Since you already know what they like, you can deliver them highly relevant content and offers to get better results. Some shops even ask for birthdays on their sign up forms so they can send personalized birthday messages and gifts to their customers on their birthday.

Email is One-on-One – People read email in the privacy of their inbox. The message is not on a public wall or timeline. They can ask you questions directly in private with confidence. You’d be surprised how many people don’t want to ask questions on public forums where everyone can read them. Email also allows users to build a one on one relationship with you. Gradually they develop trust in your brand and proudly spread the word around.

To summarize all this, email works a lot better than any other online marketing tool. Big name brands learned that long time ago, and this is why they spend thousands of dollars on social media campaigns to get people to sign up for their email lists. They understand that the email is the best long term investment and people will continue to get their message at a very low cost for a longer period of time.

Setting up a customer email list is easy to do, below are a few of the steps to take:

1. Get an email marketing provider
While there are solutions and software around you can use to power your own email marketing server I wouldn’t recommend it. A key aspect of having an email list is making sure people will receive your emails, and specialized companies are much better equipped to do that.

Sure, you might need to spend some money, but what is $30 or so monthly compared to the money you could make by selling your products, and getting customers in from your list?

If you don’t have an email marketing provider check out mailchimp.com. It is one of the leading email marketing providers, and they let you send out up to 2000 emails a month for free. The cool thing is that you don’t need to put a credit card, so there are no strings attached whatsoever.

MailChimp also integrates with over 20 CRM and email management systems, so you can import and existing contacts and get your list populated right away.

2. Create a freebie to encourage people to subscribe
People care about their privacy and about their time, and they sure won’t give your their email addresses just for the sake of it. In other words, you need to offer something in return if you want people to give you the opportunity to communicate with them via email, which is one of the most personal channels online.

That something can be many different things. For instance, it could be a free t-shirt, $10 gift card or a 25% off of their next purchase, so on and so forth.

3. Place the subscription forms on your website and in your store
Once you have an email marketing provider you’ll be able to create your subscription forms from inside your dashboard. The process and is pretty easy, and if you want to get a taste of it check out the form builder demo from mailchimp (they have over 500 templates you can choose from).

Once you have the code of your form ready to go you’ll need to put it on your site. There are basically two spots where you can display your subscription form: on top of the sidebar and below your posts. You can use both at the same time for maximum results.

Make sure to display an image of the freebie you are offering, and use a call to action as well. Something like “Join my email list and get this awesome a discount off your next purchase”.

It is also important to have a sign up form in your store, next to your cash wrap. Have your employees encourage customers to sign up for your email list.

4. Write some follow-up messages
Having subscribers on your email list is only half the battle. The other half is actually building a solid relationship with them. How do you accomplish that? By deliving content that will provide value to those subscribers.

Virtually all email marketing providers allow you to create follow-up messages that are automatically sent to subscribers at given intervals. I recommend you to set one welcome message to go out right after the person signs-up (you can use this message to deliver the download link of the freebie as well), and then another message going out 2 or 3 days later.

After that you can send weekly or biweekly messages, alternating two or three messages of useful content with one message promoting one of your products or an affiliate offer.

There you go, with those four steps you’ll have your list up and running pretty fast. Within some weeks I’ll post some more advanced tips, so stay tuned.