Many email users find them annoyed on a daily basis by items sent through email lists that they did not even know they were a part of. These lists may make use of email or of snail mail, but is generally viewed in the same way – junk material to be discarded.
Yet there is a real benefit to using mailing lists if handled correctly. Instead of being annoying these points of correspondence can be informational. They can be used to reach your past and present client base with details of any special offers you are making available. But how do you build up a mailing list without using underhand techniques?
The only condition by which you should send emails to customers is if they have previously agreed to receive such mails through an opt-in list. By not obtaining permission you risk breaking local laws regarding the sending of spam emails. This is often defined as bulk email that frequently contain marketing advertisements for various products or services. The sending of spam is illegal in some countries although existing laws may not be strictly enforced.
How can you gain legitimate email sign ups? The normal method would be to include a sign up option at in multiple locations on your business website. For instance, your main page should have a mailing list opt in, as should any registration forms, the signature of any emails you exchange with existing customers, even your terms of service page may discreetly include this opt-in link.
You should always 'sell' this option. Offer a reason why visitors would want to be on your list. This could be an offer of periodic discounts or news regarding the latest products you have in stock. You might even offer an instant discount to encourage new sign ups. You should also have a sign up field that allows members to decide what format they prefer the emails. This would be either plain text or html.
What can you do with your mailing list once you have compiled it? Anything you want – within reason. However, if you abuse your list you are likely to annoy your customers and risk having them opt-out of the list.
Common uses for a list would be to advise customers of an offer or discount you are running. Sales and clearance items may also be announced in this manner, however it is advisable to do so in one email to cover a broad range of issues. Telling customers that you have new items on sale or in your range may also be a suitable use.
The concept of 'less is more' applies to business emails. They should be short and to the point. If graphic or HTML mails are sent, then including such images as your store header, and an image of an item or two that are on sale.
What you should not do is send daily emails, unless the client specifically signed up for some kind of informational or educational email. Correspondence that is pushy, or have obscene or tasteless graphics may also be offensive. Anything that is viewed as distasteful by your client is likely to damage your chances of a sale.
Mailing lists when used correctly can increase your sales and bring in both new and returning customers. Used incorrectly, they will be viewed as nothing more than an annoyance and could serve to damage your reputation.