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How to Increase Your Permission-Based E-mail List

Copyright 2003 Carol Ann Waugh

Savvy educational marketers have long realized that the key to future success in email marketing lies in the development and nurturing of their in-house email list. Once your customers and prospects have given you permission to contact them my email, the opportunity for generating sales and building relationships is enormous. And, as marketing budgets are constantly evaluated for ROI, email marketing continues to have the low-cost advantage over any other form of marketing.
Here are six tips that will help you grow your in-house email list:

Give Something Away

Make your web site visitor an offer they can't refuse. If they sign up for your free newsletter or email list, give them something valuable in return. You can offer free products, free reports, or a free web-based seminar. With downloadable PDF's, this is a no-cost way to sample your market.

Advertise It!

The first thing a web site visitor should see on your home page is a call to action to sign up for your free offer. You should also highlight this in your printed marketing materials such as your catalog as well as mention it in your advertising and exhibit signage. Explore other emailed newsletters that reach the education market and place ads in these to promote your own special offers.

Make it Part of Your Standard Navigation Bar

You don't know what page a web site visitor might enter your site from so the easiest way to ensure that they will see your offer is to put it in your navigation bar --"Free Newsletter" or "Free Gift" will get their attention.

Find a Partner

Explore other companies who offer a complimentary product to yours and offer to add a check box on your site so that a visitor can sign up to two offers at the same time – one provided by you and one provided by your partner. Have them do the same thing. Educators will appreciate your saving them time and both partners will benefit from increased subscribers.

Use Signature Files

I've been promoting this marketing technique for years and am still amazed at how many emails I get from educational publishers who do not promote their products in their signature files. This is an effective way to promote your special offers and get people to sign up for your free subscriptions.

Get Employees Involved

Hold a contest to see how many new permission-based email addresses can be collected by your customer service staff and give the winner a gift certificate for a dinner for two. And, for your sales reps, offer a $50 gift certificate to the person who collects the most permission-based email addresses at exhibits.
Building up your in-house list of email addresses is an important marketing strategy that should be a key element in your marketing plan. Put this objective as an element of a job description in your marketing department so that someone is held accountable for this specific task and you'll quickly see positive results!

This article was written by Carol Ann Waugh, President of Xcellent Marketing, a marketing and new business development firm specializing in the educational and library market. Xcellent Marketing offers a variety of marketing services to help publishers increase their revenues and profits from identifying new markets, providing critiques of web sites and marketing communications such as direct mail, catalogs, advertisements, etc. as well as developing effective traditional as well as Internet-based marketing plans. Carol can be reached at (303) 388-5215 or at


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