How to build an email marketing list. Ethically.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to doing anything but when it comes to building an email marketing list, the right way is also the legal way and the moral way.

If you set the right strategy for your email list building activities you’ll get much better results AND you can sleep at nights knowing you haven’t spammed thousands of potential customers.

Unfortunately, a good email marketing list such a crucial marketing tool that companies are tempted to step over the line. So I’m going to share my top tips for building an effective emailing list while occupying the moral high ground. None of my ideas are expensive, except in time and effort, for which you’ll also receive a rewarding ROI.

The dark art of building an email list

But first, here are some of the more unscrupulous tactics in use which are either illegal or; in my view, self-defeating:

  • Being dishonest about your product or services,
  • Misleading customers,
  • Sending emails to customers without their permission,
  • Not sticking to a clear privacy policy about pawing on client details.

Buying an emailing list is another tactic that gives email marketing a bad name. It’s technically legal but, if you’re tempted to buy a list, make sure it’s from a reputable company and demand proof that it’s been lawfully collected and can be used as you intend.
Even then, I’d personally think twice because at Moxie we prefer to operate with a clean conscience. I don’t truly believe the people on such a list would be happy to be thought of as a commodity.
Your emailing list is your address book of potential supporters, so you don’t want anyone on it who feels they’ve been duped.

My top tips for building emailing lists ethically

How can we stay in everyone’s good books while still creating an email list that generates business?

  1. Social Media. Create a Twitter or Facebook campaign to promote a free resource on your website that visitors can sign up to.
  2. Multiple email subscriptions. You can’t have too many sign-up forms on your website. Try them in a wide variety of shapes and positions; don’t be subtle.
  3. Surveys. People will register to give their views, but it’s crucial they feel listened to. It’s a great way to build participation with your business.
  4. Pop-overs. Also called pop-up windows, lightboxes or overlays, they appear on a web page, demanding your attention with a request for information, often in exchange for an incentive. Barbour collected 20,000 new email addresses in three months with this tactic (source: Dotmailer).
  5. Hosted Events. Set up a stall at a Chamber of Commerce meeting or trade show and simply ask people to sign up for your informative newsletter or a free, on-the-spot service.

I hope this post encourages you to stick to the virtuous path. It’ll pay dividends for your business and you’ll enjoy your reputation as an honest operator.