7 Tips for Collecting Email Addresses that Every Business Can Implement Today

By Brandon Carter | Updated on May 2, 2017 9:01:00 AM

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

There are over 144 billion emails sent each day. 91% of consumers read their email daily, and 66% have made a purchase based off a marketing email.

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

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?Loyalty Statistics The Ultimate Collection

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: Brandon Carter

Brandon is a former writer and marketer for Access Development. He's a frequent blogger on customer and employee engagement & loyalty, consumer trends, and branding. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter at @bscarter