A step-by-step guide to collecting customer and member email addresses

social-networkWhether you’re a bookstore, a nonprofit arts organization, a wine consultant, or an accountant, you need a steady stream of business, referrals, or response from the people that keep your doors open.

That starts with staying in regular communication with your audience. When you build an ongoing dialogue, you increase the trust and comfort level they have with you. They look forward to hearing from you. You’ll stay top of mind with them.

As a result, they’ll become more loyal, spend more on your products and services, donate more frequently, and be more likely to refer you to their friends or colleagues.

Sounds great, right? The easiest, most effective way to build that dialogue is with an email newsletter. And that’s why it’s so important for small businesses to have and grow an email list.

Ready to get started?
This guide will walk you through the steps to quickly and easily capture the email addresses you need to build your list, connect with customers, and take your campaigns to the next level.

Here are some things you can do to build a permission-based email list, wherever you go, however your organization interacts with the public.

At your office or place of business

  • Ask every customer if they want to receive your email newsletter, promotions, surveys, or event notices.
  • Request customer email addresses at POS, when ordering online, or when checking out.
  • Use Constant Contact’s desktop widget, the Constant Capture tool, to instantly add customer email addresses when they check out.
  • Add space to your comment cards or surveys for people to sign up.
  • Put tent cards, wall, or counter displays in your place of business. Use a teaser, if applicable, about getting the inside scoop or exclusive offers from you.
  • Use a fishbowl on your counter to collect email newsletter sign-up forms or business cards. Offer a weekly or monthly prize, like discounts or gifts from your establishment or other local vendors. Let everyone know they’ll be added to your email list and announce the winners in your email newsletter.

Quick Tip #1
Want to build your email list faster?
Start a contest for your employees, staff, or volunteers with a prize to the person who’s collected the most email addresses from customers, clients, or members.

If you’re online and use social media

  • Add Constant Contact’s web sign-up tool to your website and add the Facebook sign-up tool to your Facebook Page so people can join your email list.
  • Ask your social media connections to sign up for your email list by providing a link to your sign-up form.
  • Share your latest email newsletter, offer, promotion, event, or survey on your favorite social network and let everyone see the great content you’re sending on a regular basis.
  • Create a “teaser” about your upcoming email newsletter and post it on social networks telling your connections what they’ll get if they subscribe.

When you’re at events, in the field, or networking:

  • If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, get Constant Contact’s FREE QuickView app so you can add new contacts on the fly at tradeshows, networking events, seminars, or even when you least expect it.
  • Bring a sign-up sheet to every public event you exhibit at or participate in: fairs, open houses, fundraising events, craft shows—any place where dozens of people are going to learn more about your business.
  • With Constant Contact’s Text-to-Sign-Up feature all you need to do is provide your special, customized keyword and your short code. The person will be prompted to send a text message with his or her email address to join your list.
  • Our QR code sign-up tool featureallows you to create a simple QR code that, when scanned by a smartphone, takes your customers, clients, members, and supporters to a mobile-friendly web sign-up form.

Quick Tip #2
Whenever you come in contact with a customer or member, ask if they’re subscribed to your email list. If not, sign them up by text message or with our iPhone app.

Here’s what to do with your email list!

  • Ask your customers or members what they want to hear about from you—consider creating a Feedback & Surveys campaign to collect this information quickly and easily.
  • Categorize your master email list into smaller lists that group people together by their interests. It allows you to get the right messages to the right contacts.
  • Host an event like a class, seminar, demonstration, client/member appreciation party, or fundraiser to establish a bigger presence in your community, get publicity, and attract new people. (Use an Events & Registrations campaign to capture registrations and online payments easily.) Ask attendees if you can add them to your email list.
  • Collect people’s birthday or anniversary dates. Every month, send a special discount or offer to those celebrating their big day.

Quick Tip #3
Many businesses send birthday promotions offering customers a discount or gift on their big day. Why not offer an anniversary promotion? You’ll attract couples who will be in a celebratory mood to splurge.