What Can I Do To Manage And Develop My Mailing List?

The golden rule to follow in order to make your mailing list successful, effective, and reputable is to NEVER SEND SPAM. Here are some guidelines and tips on how to improve your mailing list while not offending, annoying, or inconveniencing its recipients.

  • When you receive a new email address for your mailing list, by whatever means, always DOUBLE VERIFY that the person wishes to receive your correspondance. Before sending any other material to this individual, first send a brief message notifying them that their email address was submitted to your mailing list, and asking them to confirm their participation in it. Only upon receiveing this confirmation should you begin sending them your promotions or newsletters. In addtion to this, many reputable companies include a randomized "opt-in code" in the subject of each email. This code is used to authenticate each "opt-in" request, and can also help you determine the source of each new address.
  • Keep track of where you receive every email address in your list. This way, in case of a dispute or question or complaint, you can provide your members with a complete history of their subscription. This is also useful when you receive a spam complaint. By keeping track of where each email address came from, you can easily identify what the "dirty" source was, and cease to use it.
  • Keep your mailing list up to date. Make it easy for members to provide you with updated contact information, and to "opt-out" at any time. Also, make sure that any request to change contact information or to unsubscribe from your mailing list is handled promptly.
  • State your terms clearly and stick to them. If you are going to send out an email every week, make sure that your recipients are aware of this, and do not send out any more than that. If you are going to be sending email about one specific topic, stick to this topic and do not send out unrelated material without prior permission.
  • Personalize the subject and body of your emails. Although this may take more time, it adds a level of credibility and professionalism that will set you apart from spammers. People are more likely to pay attention to an email that was tailored specifically to them as opposed to "canned" emails for the masses.
  • Always include a subscription form for your mailing list on your website. This will provide you with a high percentage of of reliable email addresses. At the very least, you should have a subscription form on your homepage. You may consider adding a link or form for subscription in a specific location on every page of your website in case people link directly to deeper pages, or do not notice it at first. You can also include a few demographic questions such as age, gender, interests, and occupation. These are a great way to fine-tune your mailing list to suit its subscribers, however, be sure to make the demographic questions optional as many people may not wish to disclose this information.
  • Aside from your webpage, place subscription information on company documents and correspondance. Good places include customer invoices, email signatures, suggestion and comment forms, and printed literature.
  • Provide incentives for joining. This can apply to both subscribers and non-subscribers. For current members, offer some sort of reward system for referring new subscribers to your mailing list. For potential subscribers, offer some sort of deal, cash incentive, or free gift in exchange for their subscription.
  • Submit your mailing list or e-zine to an online directory.
  • Seek out other mailing lists or e-zines that share a similar audience while not being direct competitors. By forming a joint program with these colleagues, you can (with permission) share email addresses, swap advertisements, or submit guest written articles.