With the introduction of CASL (Canad’s Anti Spam Legislation), I’ve had some heated discussions with other marketers. They are pretty upset that they can no longer send broadcast emails without permission. “Where am I going to get my leads from now?!” they ask. I, on the other hand, have never relied on broadcast emails for marketing or lead generation so I’m not concerned by it. However, it does increase the importance of building your own email list as an organization.

Just starting your email list?

  • Offer an enticing piece of opt-in content to generate that initial contact.
  • Make sure you’re clear about what you’re going to send them and how often.
  • Regularly scheduled content is better than a ‘once-in-a-while’ email.
  • Make sure the email address that is sending the emails is clearly from your company and by an individual. This helps with the open rate (the number of people who open your emails versus how many you sent out).
  • A good first start is having people sign up to receive your blog post via email. You can automate this.

Increasing your existing list?

  • Improve your open rates by introducing new content not found on your blog or website e.g. an extra tip, funny illustration, sharable image, etc. People will open it for the new content and will inadvertently see the messaging and branding.
  • Make sure your emails are branded in visuals as well as voice/tone.
  • Keep the same format. Establishing predictable format aides in building trust with the audience. It also gives you the option to change it up once in a while for special messaging that will grab their attention.
  • A good next step is a newsletter. Make sure you have the content to support the regularity of distribution and the expectation of content variety. I can’t tell you how many “newsletters” I’ve seen that just contain their blog posts.

Once some of these basics are done, you can spice it up a bit. You can follow an editorial calendar to focus on specific topics at different times of the year. Encourage people to write in questions and each newsletter responds to a few. Include social activity from your social media channels. Include links to conferences you’re attending – offer a ticket discount if you can. And so on.
The purpose of the list is to have them open your emails. The purpose of the emails is to put yourself in front of them on a regular basis so that they remember you when they’re in need of your type of services or products. It also builds trust with your thought leadership and brand.
If you need some help setting this up or managing the work load, let me know. I can help!

Carolyn Bergshoeff is the founder of WindWater Marketing, a small business marketing firm based in Toronto Canada. Carolyn helps her clients build their email lists effectively and without spam so they can increase their brand awareness, generate leads, and increase revenue. Visit www.windwatermarketing.ca to find out what Carolyn can do for your small business.