You get seemingly 12,000 of them a day. Some of you probably just immediately toss them into the trash, while others carefully pore through each one, looking for useful bits of information. Either way, we all have to contend with them.
Of course we’re talking about emails. Whether it’s a critical action item from a work superior or a suspicious promise of millions from a vagabond African princess, we’re willing to bet every person reading this has opened at least one email today.
But can you get people to opt-in to your list? Specifically, how do you get your own customers and members to give your their email address?
It doesn't have to be hard! People expect to share their emails out with certain businesses, and they'll do so happily when they know there's something in it for them. Here are 7 inexpensive and simple tips that any type of business can use to start capturing emails today.
1. Make it part of your enrollment process
This most obvious suggestion, obviously, is to require an email address on any information forms that are part of your onboarding or sign-up process. It’s absolutely appropriate to add an “email” field to a customer information document, or even on a payment authorization form.
2. Give them something to opt-in to
For the rest of the your base, they’re going to require something in exchange for their email address. Offer them a discount program, or another benefit that requires regular communication AND offers value to the customer.
3. Give something away
Collecting email addresses is worth investing in, and a quick way of doing it is offering a small prize to each person who signs up. It can be a small USB drive, a water bottle, or even a bumper sticker. All can be acquired for less than a couple bucks per item, and people will gladly exchange an email to receive one.
4. Hold a promotion
Offer a big prize to new subscribers, such as a resort vacation, or an iPad, to be given away to one lucky winner. One big bonus to a contest: by telling customers that winners will be notified by email, you’ll get many more primary email addresses, not throwaway addresses people create just to enter giveaways.
5. Promote it on your social media channels
Sometimes getting an email address is as simple as asking. There’s a good chance many customers are fans on Facebook or followers on Twitter – post about the super cool content that is in your emails that they’re not seeing, along with a link to a page where they can opt in.
6. Sign people up anytime you hold an offline event
If your company or association holds meetings or group gatherings, it’s always worth your time to have someone with a clipboard in hand, collecting email addresses. Combine it with #3 and you’ll risk being trampled by a wild mob.
7. Promote it through traditional channels
If you have any sort of fulfillment materials, direct mail pieces, calling/SMS campaigns, statements, bills – anything that might touch a customer’s hands – use it to direct them to your opt in page online.
Bonus tip: Anytime you ask for an email, it’s always important to assure people that you won’t be selling their email address or spamming them. They should know they’re opting in to a mailing list, but that your list is a responsible, private, happy place for them to be.
Access to the digital mailbox is vital to growing and retaining your customer base. Getting access to that little piece of real estate is one of the biggest steps you can take to having an engaged and informed customer base. It’s worth putting some serious investment behind.