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
- 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
- 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
- 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.