This article is provided in partnership with Constant Contact.
A business owner’s most valuable asset is its customers. Having a list of both current and potential customers can be extremely useful to growing your business. Building the list may seem like a daunting task. Fortunately there are ways to grow your list without spending money, and growing it yourself allows you to monitor the quality of your potential contacts.
With hundreds of thousands of customers, Constant Contact is the leading email marketing provider. Constant Contact Chief Marketing Officer John Orlando, an expert in the world of email marketing, offers advice for growing your distribution list using existing customers.
(Photo courtesy of Constant Contact)
Create A Channel Of Communication
The easiest and most effective method for growing your email list is by engaging potential clients, and asking them if they would like to hear from you. Orlando advises providing customers an opt-in method. “You can enhance your marketing list by using a sign-up sheet. If you have a business that’s built on face-to-face interactions, ask customers to join your list when they come into your office, attend an event or are checking out at the cash register.”
Engaging existing and potential customers can be done through many avenues, including your email signature. However, you want to entice customers to sign up. “When you’re ask customers if they’d like to join your mailing list, be sure to highlight what’s in it for them such as insider deals and tips. Include a sharing button in your newsletter and encourage subscribers to tell their friends about the great content and offers they’re receiving.” Giving customers the choice to opt in is a more effective way to open the lines of communication.
Key takeaway on creating channels: Ask customers if they’d like to join your mailing list. Be sure to highlight what’s in it for them.
Make Your Content Enticing
After you’ve promised exclusive and interesting content to your customers, you will need to deliver. Customers get lots of emails every day, so to stand out, a business owner needs to continually reinforce the benefits of being a subscriber. “This comes down to great content and personalized, subscriber-only offers,” says Orlando. “Great content comes from the business freely sharing expertise and information that’s not widely known. This builds their credibility, creates stronger connections with customers and drives word of mouth.”
If your business sells goods or services, try emailing coupons or special offers on different products to give your email value to potential customers. Make sure your employees are aware of the offer, however, so that they can deliver exceptional customer service to members of your email list.
Key takeaway on content marketing: Great content comes from the business freely sharing expertise and information that’s not widely known.
Use Your Existing Contacts To Find New Contacts
The most effective form of marketing for any business is word of mouth. People are more likely to trust someone they know and someone whose opinion they find valuable. By effectively engaging your existing customers, you can make them brand ambassadors for your business. “You’ll be introduced to your customers’ contacts when you consistently provide helpful information, great service and strive to engage them in-person and online,” says Orlando. “To speed up the process, include a social sharing button in your email, and simply add in a line such as, ‘Like our newsletter? Share it with your friends and followers.'” Creating a call to action that allows your customers to promote your company is an excellent (and free) way to build your list.
Key takeaway on finding new contacts: Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth.
When starting a new business, finding new customers is one of the most difficult and time consuming parts of the process. Effectively engaging your current customers, and providing personalized service, can help you build a loyal base of business referrals. Once your current customers are drawn into your unique, personalized content, they can share the information with other potential customers, hence growing your list at no financial cost to your business.
This article was written by Alaina Brandenburger via Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.
For more information on email marketing, visit Constant Contact.