28 Ways to Build Permission-Based Email Lists
By Loren McDonald
Developing a cost-effective email list poses
a challenge for all email marketers. Because
email addresses change at a rate of 30 percent
or more on most lists, marketers must adopt
an aggressive approach to expand their list
and yield a significant return on investment.
As you browse the list below please keep
these helpful tips in mind:
Consider All Touch Points: Use every point
of contact with customers and prospects.
Obtain Permission: Always obtain permission
with the confirmed (double) opt-in method
for online contacts. For offline contacts,
update your database with when, where and
how the contact was initiated. Confirm their
permission in the first email.
Required Information: Obtain email address,
name, format preference and logical interests/preferences.
Focus Equal Attention on Existing Lists: Implement
strategies and incentives to transform inactive
subscribers into active ones.
Provide Valuable Benefits: Convince potential
subscribers of the valuable benefits they¡¯ll
Convey Trust: Clearly state your privacy/email
1. Feature a Sign-Up Form on Each Page of
Your Site ¨C Be sure to remember this
basic concept. Sign-up opportunities should
be ubiquitous throughout your site.
2. Promote Benefits on the Sign-Up Page ¨C
Enhance subscription value with sample emails,
testimonials and strong call to action copy.
3. Offer Opt-In Incentives ¨C Incentives
like white papers, discounts and special reports
significantly increase conversion rates.
4. Optimize Your Site for Search Engine Placement
¨C Optimize current and archived newsletters
for search engines to increase traffic and
5. Pay for Search Engine Services and Promote
Your Email on the Landing Page ¨C If you
pay for search services like Google AdWords
be sure to include email subscription information
on the landing page.
6. Add Opt-in Check Boxes on Demo Requests,
White Papers and Registration Forms ¨C
Well-executed forms and pages may improve
conversion rates by 50 percent or more.
7. Include ¡°Send to a Friend¡±
Options ¨C Generate new subscribers with
minimal effort if bundled with promotional
8. Use Direct Mail and Catalogs ¨C Encourage
email subscriptions on all print ads.
9. Direct Employees to Include Messages and
Links in Email Signature Lines ¨C Add
¡°Subscribe to the Company X Email
Newsletter¡± to employee email
10. Direct Call Center and Sales Employees
to Obtain Permission and Capture Email Addresses
Over the Phone ¨C Instruct call center
and sales staff to ask customers and prospects
if they¡¯d like to receive newsletters
or promotional email.
11. Send Post Cards to Customers Encouraging
Them to Subscribe to Email ¨C If you have
postal contact information for customers but
not email addresses, send a post card with
opt-in sign-up offer and URL.
12. Hand Out Sign-Up Forms at Public Speaking
Engagements and Seminars ¨C Promote your
newsletter in presentations and handouts.
13. Implement Rented List Campaigns and Subscriptions
¨C Promote your company in email campaigns
and landing pages when you rent email lists.
14. Promote Sign-Ups in Confirmation/Transaction
Emails ¨C Add messages and links to opt-in
pages of all confirmation and transaction
15. Include Opt-in Line on Credit Card Receipts
¨C Not an obvious method, but may be quite
16. Add Opt-in Message to Warranty and Product
17. Add Sign-Up Message to Invoices.
18. Display Opt-in Forms at the Cash Register
¨C An approach used by restaurants and
retailers to advertise weekday discounts,
catering services etc.
19. Promote Your Email/Newsletter in Articles
and Article Attribution ¨C Include a reference
and link to your newsletter after the byline
on articles in trade and consumer publications.
20. Include Opt-in Message and Check Boxes
on Shopping Cart Pages ¨C Remember to
ask for email format and product/information
21. Promote Your Email/Newsletter in Other
Company Publications ¨C Promote online
newsletters in print newsletters, magazines
and brochures. Add ¡°Sign up for
our monthly newsletter at www.companyX.com/subscribe.html¡±
after ¡°Visit www.companyX.com for
22. Include Newsletter Subscriptions in Trade
Show Lead Generation Forms ¨C Obtain permission
to send your monthly newsletter to booth visitors.
23. Promote Your Newsletter/Promotional Emails
in Industry Directories and Sites.
24. Distribute Press Releases Based on Newsletter
Articles ¨C Newsletters with topical articles
may warrant a press release. Make sure the
press release includes links and information
on how to subscribe.
25. Include Information and a Link to Your
Newsletter in Press Releases ¨C A good
option for smaller companies. Include your
company newsletter and other resources in
press release copy.
26. Include Opt-in Information on Customer
Satisfaction Surveys ¨C Ask permission
to communicate valuable information via email
newsletters and promotions.
27. Include Opt-in Forms in Product Shipping
Boxes ¨C Advertise email promotions on
packing slips and direct mail cards with links
to your site. Many retailers and catalogers
also include promotional offers from non-competing
28. Employ a Reputable Email List Service
¨C List services obtain email addresses
and permission to email existing customers.
Be sure you obtain permission before ¨C
or as part of ¨C the first email you send.