There has been a lot of debate about mailing lists among both customers and businesses. If you’ve ever opened your inbox to find dozens of newsletters from a brand you don’t care about, talking about information you don’t care about, and refusing to stop even after you’ve unsubscribed, you might be in the anti-mailing list group. On the other side, if you’ve ever received tons of business because you sent out a well-thought out email to your interested customers inviting them to benefit from a deal you’re running, you’ll definitely be on the pro-mailing list team.
I’m going to pause right here and say that despite describing the customer as anti-mailing list and the business as pro-mailing list in this example, a good newsletter can be great for both customers and businesses. There are certainly some keys to making great use of a mailing list and because we like sharing secrets, here are our top tips.
5 Ways to Make Your Mailing List Great
1. Collect well
We urge you to be the kinds of people that get individuals to sign up for your mailing list because they want to. Tricking people into signing up really isn’t the way to create an effective list. It takes a little more effort to put together valuable opportunities for people to join your community, but it’s worth it. Harvesting emails from places where people haven’t asked to join is both annoying and illegal.
2. Make it easy to sign up
There are lots of great tools to collect email addresses and import them into your mailing list. Generally speaking, MailChimp integrates with apps that collect emails at events or through your website, so we tend to like them. We always suggest giving people visiting your website the opportunity to sign up at all appropriate moments. Places where you’re creating content is ideal, like a blog. If you’re considering collecting emails in person, an iPad app is a nice way for customers to just punch in their info. Tools like Sign Up Anywhere will work offline, which makes life a whole lot easier if you’re not sure whether or not you’ll have wifi at your event.
3. Make it personal
Sure, some people are brand evangelists and want ALL of your updates, but other people really only want location specific info or even just to be notified when you’re having a sale. Consider collecting more than just an email and an opt-in box to tick. Details about what they’re interested in will enable you to send targeted communication.
4. Create exceptional content
We generally don’t ask people to stop reading our blog posts once they’ve started, but just this one time, stop. Go into your inbox and find what you would consider to be unwanted mail. Make a quick list of all of the reasons that you would consider this mail to be unwanted. Do they send too frequently? Are their designs unprofessional? Is the content of their email unhelpful? Once you’ve made this list, refer back to it before you send anything to your mailing list. Yes, creating great content, like blog posts to link to, great sales to inform customers of, or just plain old well written communication takes a little more effort, but it shows that you respect your recipients to only send the highest quality content.
5. Once you’ve sent your mail, track it
We mentioned MailChimp because they let you see how many people opened your emails and clicked on links, showing you which emails your customers were interested in and which went straight into the trash. Regardless of which tools you use to track your newsletter performance, you should be paying attention to how successful each mail out is. If you had a spike in response, figure out why. Did you add more images? Did you mention a promotion?
A mailing list is a powerful tool. It is a giant (hopefully) group of people saying that they trust you to contact them when you have something important to say. Use your mailing list well and you’ll build trust. Abuse it and you’ll lose that privilege.
One of the things we do at Trifunk is design for logos and templates you can use for any communication you’re doing. Get in touch with us to talk about how we can help you make your mailing list newsletters better.