Email Marketing List

How to Build and Maintain an Email Marketing List

You’re selling your services, and it’s important to cast a wide net. One way to do that is to market via email. You can reach a wide audience while drawing new subscribers to your website by sending promotional information directly to a person’s inbox. Below are a few suggestions for building and keeping a strong email following.

Buying and Renting Email Lists

This is not always the best option for getting yourself in front of potential customers, but it’s worth mentioning as among the most common ways to cultivate an email list. These databases are ready-made and often have already been tailored for specific demographics. When you purchase a list, you own those contacts. When you rent, the emails are sent on your behalf.

The upside of this method is speed. You cut out months of list-building in favor of a list that’s ready to roll out as soon as you purchase it. The downside is that purchased email lists are not organic and often fail to drum up the kind of business you want.

If you rent or buy a list, take note of the price and compare. The costlier lists might have been cultivated by way of subscribers opting in, making them more useful to your company. Cheap lists could include unwilling recipients who will flag you as spam.

Make Your Emails Informative

While the main purpose of your emails is to draw people to your website, you should still make the content useful to your recipients. Include more than the standard “about us” template.

Tell your recipients about sales. Be creative. Send news and discussion emails or entertaining blog posts. If you can get a recipient to actually read your email, that’s no small achievement. From there, they’ll find their way to your website one way or another. They might spread the word to their friends, as well.

Slowly, your email list will draw a following of readers who are honestly interested.

Offer Incentives

Customers respond positively to free gifts, even when they cost you very little. You can encourage people to subscribe to your email list by offering a free download – an e-book, music, video or anything else that is easy to distribute. Some businesses allow access to certain parts of their websites by first requiring users to sign up for emails.

Scale it Back

Call it email fatigue. A barrage of business emails, whether regarding mobile debit processing services, electrician t-shirts or any other specialty product, can cause otherwise perfect niche subscribers to resent you. After all the effort you’ve put into strengthening your email list, you would hate to scare off a subscriber by being overbearing.

Surveys have asked people why they’ve unsubscribed to certain lists, and by far the top reason is email frequency. People don’t like to feel like they’re being hounded. Daily email blasts just force your subscribers to clean out their inbox more frequently and with a bit of resentment. Learn to be sparing with your email notes. Only send them when you have something to say. Once your company is identified with spamming, repairing a reputation is tough.

Give Them Options

User preferences are becoming more common. They allow subscribers to choose their level of involvement. Preferences help to prevent spam, and they help your company by honing in on the right demographics.

For example, maybe certain subscribers wouldn’t be interested in company news, but they’d like to hear about sales and promotions. Or maybe they’d like to control the frequency of emails received. If your company is large enough, you might divide email notifications into categories for subscribers.

By merely offering your subscribers a choice, they feel involved and are more likely to stick around and tell their friends.

Use the tips above to develop relationships with your email subscribers. If you can create a base of subscribers, growing your list becomes easier. Maintain a positive image, and an email list can prove to be lucrative to your business.

Image © xavier gallego morel – Fotolia.com

Chris Peterson is a copywriter for Straight North, a Chicago Internet marketing firm. He specializes in B2B and B2C marketing, with experience in informational blog posts, press releases, and website content that emphasizes Search Engine Optimization. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he earned a Master’s degree in journalism.


Get our latest articles delivered to your email inbox, plus download our FREE 15 minutes later marketing guide.

We respect your privacy!
{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Chris December 7, 2012, 6:03 pm

    Thanks for your tips on how to build an email marking strategy. I find that email is like those impulse buys you see at the grocery stores. I open my email every morning and decide that I have to have something. I think “it’s on sale, I better get it now”. I always wondered what they did to entice me, although I don’t think it’s that difficult for me. I will be using your advice for creating my own strategy for my small business. Thanks for the usefulness and ease of information.

  • Harshit October 17, 2012, 6:49 am

    These are some nice tips Chris. With almost every experienced blogger & internet marketer trying to get as many people to subscribe to their email list as possible, it is imperative to offer incentives to lure the readers.

    Although I wouldn’t be keen on buying email lists as they often tend to be unresponsive, I definitely agree with your other points.

  • Ron September 27, 2012, 4:44 am

    Very good points outlined. I completely agree with you when you say to provide giveaways to your subscribers. And this is my personally tested formula. Giving ebooks is my method to butter-up my customers. And they are tempted to get a free gift. Another good point is to maintain customer-relationship which can produce fruitful results to you in long run. Customers love to take your services if you are the person to solve their issues.

  • Alwyn July 31, 2012, 8:38 am

    Hi Chris, Thanks for that informative post about email marketing. I use aweber auto responder to manage my email list.

  • Ahmad March 16, 2012, 7:12 am

    The biggest problem with email marketing is getting a hold of a big email list that gets you targeted traffic. I run a few websites and tried using email lists but had to do away with them because you get nowhere near the sort of rewards you expect because in most cases, your email list just isn’t good enough. I’ve looked and have used quite a few products (reviewed some of them) and while they were good, you really do need to have a combination of tricks up your sleeve to really get the ball rolling when it comes to email marketing. The tips above should help, so thanks!

  • Deimar March 13, 2012, 2:29 pm

    It is a method to accelerate the growth of our list, which is valid. However, there is nothing more annoying than receiving emails from people or companies that you do not expect selling you stuff. PURE spam. Adding people to your list with out they consent destroys your image.

  • Brendan vanSon March 5, 2012, 11:33 am

    How does “buying a list” not equate to spam? Or am I missing something. I have just started my mailing list from scratch and am fighting to build relationships to sign up. It’s not easy, but I don’t think I could ever just buy a list.

    • Chris March 12, 2012, 3:33 pm

      Buying a list is just one option for building a list. It’s not what we do, and we don’t think it’s a great option for getting genuine results, but it is an option that’s out there that needed to be mentioned for the sake of comparison. Thanks for your comment!

  • Kyle Kam March 5, 2012, 2:24 am

    For me, just avoid being a douche when e-mailing your customers. Promoting via e-mail is one of the effective methods to market. This proves that you’re sincere when it comes to giving your services to them. Building relationship is possibly one of the keys to maintain your list.

  • Mark Thompson March 4, 2012, 3:58 am

    Don’t Forget… Build A Relationship.

    I hate it when the first or 2nd email i get is selling something, tell people about yourself, let them know your likes and dislikes let them get to know you before trying to sell.

    I have a 6 email series where i don’t sell anything, my unsubscribe level is very low because by the time i do make an offer people have received loads of value and know all about me..

  • Liane March 4, 2012, 1:43 am

    Maybe this is one of my blunders. Haven’t seriously started on it haha.

  • Kimberly Gauthier March 3, 2012, 7:34 pm

    I just started working on building email lists and sending out newsletters and it’s fun. I use a plugin (PopUp Domination) to help grow my list. It’s really been helpful in promoting my sites and products.

  • RebeccaB March 2, 2012, 5:29 am

    Hi Chris,

    I am new in this business and I have never heard about Buying and Renting Email Lists until now. Can you refer me to those who are selling list that are good?

  • Jack Coxill March 1, 2012, 7:29 am

    Hi Chris,

    Great post here, I totally agree with you that email marketing and building a list is a very effective way to keep hold of traffic, and market to it whenever you like. It’s an awesome way to build a huge following, and remind people of your latest updates and products that are coming out. Being informative in emails and offering value is vital to your relationship with your list, this post highlights some essential parts of email marketing 🙂

    Thanks for the info!


  • Ricardus March 1, 2012, 2:30 am

    Great tips here Chris. It definitely provide a great insight on how to build relationship with the targeted audience.

  • Mark February 29, 2012, 3:37 pm

    I don’t think that buying or renting email lists is a good idea. I rather prefer building my own from scratch, even if it takes me forever. Buying a list is like buying Facebook fans that only end up hurting your EdgaRank. I also agree with you on the fact that our only chance is by providing value to our readers and followers. Thanks for the advice Chris

  • Jamie Northrup February 29, 2012, 7:57 am

    Good tips Chris, one thing I always tell clients of mine looking to promote via email, is to make sure the list we are using is targeted to our needed audience.

    I would rather send a list trying to sell floral services to a list with 5000 people interested in flowers, than a list with 20000 random people.

  • Ryan Biddulph February 29, 2012, 7:31 am

    Love your tips Chris!

    Offering value is key. Add value, become valuable.

    I scaled back to 1 super size email a week, and am converting well. I feel it’s key to bring value but not to overload my reader’s inbox. People have lives, and are busy, and if we can give them enough time to digest our value good things happen.

    Thanks Chris!


  • Ameen Aliyar February 29, 2012, 5:26 am

    Its an interesting read. But I think more and more people are realizing that social media sites like facebook offer more effective tools such as fan pages and groups to gather people around your niche and communicate with them. Does everything what a conventional list does and more.

    Easy and efficient!

Leave a Comment