7 Tips For Businesses To Collect More Consumer Email Addresses

You get seemingly a bazillion 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 prince, we’re willing to bet every person reading this has opened at least one email today.

In 2021, an average of 300+ billion emails are sent each day. 85% of Americans have an email address, and, 99% are reported to check their email daily. Of those, 66% have made a purchase based on a marketing email.

Email is still kind of a big deal. You knew that.

At Access, we know that our email recipients are 12 times more likely to engage with our discount program if they open just one of our emails. We know the value of email, and we rely on it every day. 

But how 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 or purchasing 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. 

In a brick-and-mortar setting, it's a matter of asking. But don't be so bold as to say, "Can I have your email address for marketing purposes?" No, no, instead...

2. Create a membership function

For the rest of the your base, they’re going to require something in exchange for their email address. Offer them a discount program, a loyalty program, or another membership function 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 discount, a water bottle, or even a bumper sticker. People will toss out their email address for just about anything.

Even if there's a cost, it's worth it if you can leverage an email address to build a lifetime customer.

4. Hold a promotionquote rebrand

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.

Again, don't just ask for people's information just so they can be marketed to. Use it to add value to the relationship (which is your best marketing move anyway). 

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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, assure people that you won’t be selling it 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.

I Have Emails; Now What?

Now, you focus on adding value to the relationship. Help people become experts at what you do. Share your knowledge. Connect them to deals and related services. Show them what their peers are doing with your product or service. Solicit feedback.

And when the time comes, ask for that next purchase.

This won't surprise you, but that's going to chase some people away. Try to time it as best you can to when they're going to need it, and sweeten the pot with a special offer or incentive. But no matter what, some of them won't come back. A lot of them will, however. 

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.

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Topics: Customer Engagement

Written by: Gary Toyn

For 25+ years Gary Toyn has helped organizations large and small improve their constituent/member acquisition, retention and engagement. He's a multi-published author, writer, and researcher.

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