Question Two: How do I build an email list?
Since you’re conducting permission email campaigns, this means you already have permission from a list of subscribers in the first place. You now have to build your in-house lists from whatever number of subscriber you have now. You may have zero subscribers today, or you may have 10,000 or even 100,000 addresses; but, no matter where you are today, the only way to get where you want to be is to start inviting customers to give you permission at every touchpoint of contact you have with those customers or potential customers.
Don’t assume the only point of contact is the web. You may be interacting with customers or prospects on the phone, at retail locations, in face-to-face meetings, through direct mail or other means. No matter what the medium, you always have an opportunity to invite someone to give you permission to learn more about them. In fact, that’s how permission questions should be phrased: not as permission for you to solicit them with Orwellian-style approaches, but as permission for you to learn more about their needs in order to deepen the level of understanding with that customer or prospect, subsequently communicating with them in a meaningful way.
To translate this into more practical terms, you can start building an email list by putting a subscription form on your web site. Of course that requires a bit of programming, which you may or may not be up to, so there are other tools available such as the one my own company will be offering soon called Zeop. The Zeop web tool allows you to add a permission subscription form to your web site without using any programming whatsoever. It allows you to build an opt-in, 100 percent permission-based email list without engaging in any programming on your part.
You may have many other opportunities to ask for permission from your customers or prospects as well. You could ask for permission within direct mail pieces or invoices or other billing methods you might be sending your customer. You can ask for permission following a phone order placed by your customer, or you might have your frontline salespeople asking for permission during their face-to-face meetings. You may find the best way to gain permission is to offer incentives in exchange for customer permission. Give each subscriber some reason to grant you permission beyond just the opportunity to be marketed in an interpersonal way. Give them a report, a coupon, a free gift, or something of value to them that relates to your or business or service, so they will not only feel rewarded, they will also learn that you are the type of organization that rewards their participation.
When you’re building your permission email list, be sure to document the IP address, subscriber email address, and subscription date and time, when you accept each new subscription. This is to protect yourself in case that person forgets they subscribe and then later claims you are sending them unsolicited email.