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Quarter 4, 2016

10 Easy Ways to Build Your Email List

Email marketing is the high-impact, low-cost way of delivering your message to current customers and prospects — if you have a great email list. But, if that list is short, scant on information, full of errors and redundancies, or just not on-track with your targeting, that can be worse than having no data at all.

Even in today's digital world, there's a lot to be said for the human touch, and the ideas below rely on good old-fashioned human interaction to help you build your email list.

  1. Put out a sign-up sheet
    Whether you're at a trade show, community event or in your own storefront, collecting email addresses in person can be as easy as putting out a sign-up sheet and encouraging people to share their contact information.
  2. Leverage their business cards
    When you meet people in person, ask for their business cards. Set a bowl on the counter in your store or on the reception desk in your office, and ask visitors to drop their cards in. Offer an incentive for doing so — a free product or service, gift card, etc.
  3. Leverage your business cards
    You can use your own business cards as well; add an offer on the back that encourages people to sign up to receive your emails.
  4. Host an event
    Stage an event like a luncheon, topic talk, or book club to get people in the door. Drop invitations at nearby businesses, post the notice on your front door, and advertise in local media. Ask people to RSVP with their email addresses.
  5. Invite people to join the club
    Set up a birthday or anniversary club and invite people to join by providing their email addresses and relevant dates. Reward them with a special offer and follow up with something special, like a discount coupon good on their birthday or anniversary.
  6. Collect emails with direct mail
    Using physical addresses for prospects and customers, send out a direct mail piece that includes an offer that can only be redeemed by going to your website and joining your email list.
  7. Try some telemarketing
    You and your employees no doubt interact with many customers and prospects on the phone. Before you hang up, always ask if they'd like to be on your email list. Give them a brief statement about the benefits of enrolling, e.g., exclusive offers and discounts available only to email subscribers.
  8. Optimize your website for opt-ins
    If customers or prospects visit your website, they're already somewhat interested. Don't miss the opportunity to add them to your email list. Include email registration forms on every main page of your site, as well as on the pages for popular products and services.
  9. Build with your blog
    Your blog provides a great way to build a personal relationship with customers and prospects — and to gather their email addresses. End blogs with a call to action that encourages readers to sign up for your email messages. Require blog visitors to provide email addresses in order to leave comments, and set it up so that they have to actively opt out if they don't want their addresses included on your emailing list.
  10. Engage through social media
    Social media lets you reach new audiences and make new connections. Stay abreast of topics that are interesting to your customers and prospects. Use social media to encourage them to visit one of your channels where they can join your email list.

For even more about email marketing and how you can use it to boost business and profitability, contact your Safeguard consultant today.

Useful DOs and DON'Ts for Writing Your Online Story

The description of your company, or "about us" section, is usually the most read content on your website. Are you putting your best face forward there, or could you use a makeover? These pointers will help you create a company story that's as compelling and informative as possible.

DO tell a story
This is an area where small companies have an advantage over the big guys. People enjoy supporting others they feel connected to, and sharing your personal story is a step toward establishing that connection. In your company description, talk about why the business was started or the history behind it.

DON'T fudge the facts
You want to stand out from the competition of course, but steer away from any inclination to pad the numbers, your client list, past achievements, etc. It's just not worth the risk to your business and the reputation you've worked so hard to establish.

DO use visuals/photos
The old saying, "One picture is worth a thousand words" definitely rings true here. Staff pics, glimpses behind the scenes and historical photos add context and color to your company description.

DON'T use copyrighted photography Just because you found an image on the web doesn't give you the right to use it. Copyright law is serious stuff and most professional photographers maintain strict copyrights on their images. To avoid any problems, use stock photography (search "stock photos" online to get started).

DO use numbers
Any data or statistics you can tout to show why people should buy your product or work with your company is great validation that should definitely be included in your company description.

DON'T write a novel
It's hard to get people excited about long blocks of text, so keep your company description short and sweet. The point is to encourage readers to take an action — call, buy, visit, etc. — so make sure your story is an expressway, not a roadblock.

DO show your personality
Letting a little of yourself shine through into your story can help you stand out from your competitors and help customers feel connected to your company. Just remember to keep it real.

Long story short: when it comes to your company description, be interesting, be accurate, and above all, be yourself. Contact your Safeguard consultant for more tips to make your company website even more engaging and effective.