How To Add People To Your Email Newsletter

Maybe you don’t need to build your email list. You’ll see that I’ve been going on about the time wasted by email newsletters, and encouraging people to unsubscribe, as well as organise their inbox to free up their time to make more money and/or have more fun.

I’ve been doing just myself this recently and unsubscribing from all sorts of stuff, instead of just deleting it in my inbox. Cut it off at the source, and never let it come in again. And because I had to look at them to unsubscribe, it struck me that I’d never subscribed to half of these newsletters.

They were people who (maybe) knew me, and took my email address from their address book, and subscribed me, whether I wanted it or not. Some of them were people with the most tenuous connections (I bought something from them in 2006, or they emailed me about their networking group) and some of them are people I genuinely have never heard of. Some of them are competitors even, they’ve just added me in with everyone else.

Size is not important

People think about size all the time.

“I must have a million Twitter followers; I must have a list of 10,000 email subscribers; I must reach out to the entire world.”

But you don’t need the whole world. What you want is a small group, maybe just 100 people, who are interested in buying from you. I’d rather my clients had 100 people who were serious about giving them some money, than 10,000 people who just deleted their email.

How many do you need?

That depends on your business. If you’re selling to consumers, and/or selling small or low value things, you probably do need 10,000 people.Which means you’ve got to work hard to build your list, because you need 10,000 people who are interested in buying from you. Not just any old 10,000 people, you need people who actually have a need for what you’re selling.

If you’re selling B2B and/or high value, eg, consultancy work, construction industry, PR, copywriting, you probably need quite a small list.

You need to concentrate on building quality, using your email list as a way of reminding people who you are and what you do, and as one tool in your relationship-building toolbox. Seriously, you just need 100 or so people. After all, if they all became clients, and all referred two other clients, you’d be completely swamped with far too much work.

So don’t just add people in. Put your effort into building quality materials so that the people on your list look forward to your email newsletter. Make them want to read it. Make them ask you when the next one is coming out – be in demand.

Deletes don’t make sales

If you add people in without their permission, they’ll probably delete your email straightaway. It might look like they’ve read it, because they were going, “Oh, what’s this?” But they didn’t actually read it. In fact, you run the risk that they turn against you because you’ve used up their time against their will, in giving them another email to delete. It’s a bit like sneaking into someone’s purse and stealing 20p. They might not notice the first time, but they’ll resent it if you do it every week.

Either way, they’re not going to buy something just because you keep emailing them. Sometimes, concentrating on the size of the list means that we forget about converting sales – which was the point of the exercise, wasn’t it?

The headlines

Here are the headlines:

  • Don’t add people to your list without asking them first
  • Give people a reason to subscribe
  • Send people something they’re going to love
  • Concentrate on being really lovely to a small group of people who are interested in buying from you, and work on giving them a reason to buy
  • Don’t worry about numbers, think about giving your group something special in your emails

Right, I’m off to write my email newsletter. If you’re interested in some business advice, and some tips, ideas and thoughts on how to grow your business, make more money and have more fun, you might want to sign up and see what you get.

Photo credit – Dean Hochman from Flickr on a creative commons licence