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Building an Email List that Builds Your Business

A Step-by-Step Guide to Collecting Customer and Member Email Addresses

Get the steady response you need to keep your business growing.
Whether 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 with them, you increase the trust and comfort level they have with you. They look forward to hearing from you. It becomes second nature for them to think of you. You’ll stay top of mind with them.

As a result, they’ll become more loyal to you, spend more with you, 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 email marketing — by using email newsletters and promotions that you send regularly.

That’s why you should have a list of your customers’, clients’, or members’ email addresses: it’s a real asset to your business. And it’s so easy to quickly build it and at little cost.

We’ll show you how you can do it!

Get ready: Start building your list.
Here are some things you can do to build a permission-based list, wherever you go, however your organization interacts with the public.
At your office or place of business:

  • Ask every caller if they want to receive your email newsletter.
  • Request customer email addresses on your POS, online ordering, or checkout system.
  • Use Constant Contact’s desktop widget, the Contact Capture Tool, to instantly record 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. (Need some? email us for them!)
  • Use a fishbowl on your counter to collect sign-up forms or business cards. Offer a weekly or monthly prize, like discounts or gifts from your establishment or other local vendors. Announce the winners in your email newsletter, and add everyone in the bowl to your mailing list.

If you’re online and use social media:

  • Ask your Twitter followers to sign up for your list by providing a link to your sign-up form on your website.
  • Add Constant Contact’s “Join My Mailing List” button to your website so people can join your list.
  • Add Constant Contact’s Facebook application so people can join your list. It’s another way to build your contact list by leveraging your Facebook friends and fans — people who are already interested in you, and probably also interested in receiving your email communications. With the app, you can:
  • Place the app on your personal profile or your organization’s page, or both.
  • Choose which of your Constant Contact mailing lists your Facebook friends and fans can sign up for. Their information will be automatically sent to that list.
  • Save time entering information, because the user’s available contact information from his/her Facebook account gets pre-populated into your Constant Contact database.

To use the Facebook application, you must be a Constant Contact customer. To download it, just go to

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

  • If you have an iPhone™ or iPod Touch™ (and coming soon to Android™ phones!), get Constant Contact’s FREE QuickView app so you can collect new contacts on the fly at trade shows, networking events, seminars, or even when you least expect it — like when you’re in line at the grocery store.
  • 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 will encounter you.
  • Leave postage-paid sign-up cards behind when you visit clients so they can mail it back to you. Just write your address on the back and stamp it — it won’t cost them a penny to join.

When you already use email marketing or outgoing communications:

  • Make it easy for recipients to tell their friends about your emails with a “forward to a friend” link.
  • Staple a sign-up card to customers’ receipts, or include it in the envelope if you mail them bills.
  • Constant Contact can integrate with many small business, fundraising, and accounting software packages, providing a seamless way to have updated contact information in both places. Check yours to see! Or visit to learn more.

Get set: Here’s what to do with your list!

  • Ask your customers or members what they want to hear about from you — consider using a Constant Contact Online Survey to collect this information quickly and easily.
  • Segmenting lets you subdivide your master mailing list into smaller lists that group people together by their interests. It allows you to create truly targeted communications that speak directly to them.
  • 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 Constant Contact Event Marketing to capture registrations and online payments easily.) Ask attendees if you can add them to your mailing list.
  • Collect people’s birthday or anniversary dates. Every month, send a special discount or offer to those celebrating their big day.

Now you’re ready: Go get ‘em!

  • If you’re new to Constant Contact Email Marketing, make sure you get a copy of our guide, “Creating Your First Email Campaign with Constant Contact.” Click here to get the guide.
  • We’re with you every step of the way when you need help and support: just call one of our dedicated Communications Consultants.
  • Constant Contact is committed to the success of small businesses and organizations. That’s why we offer special email and event registration templates and pre-written online surveys designed for all types of operations.
  • Thousands of customers have used Constant Contact to bring their customers back, attract new ones, and grow their businesses. Check out how they do it at

Quick Tip #1
Hold a monthly drawing for a gift certificate from among the new people who provide their email addresses to you that month.

Quick Tip #2
Want to get a lot of addresses fast? 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. Reward them with a day off, a gift certificate, a free meal, or a cash bonus!

Quick Tip #3
Use our Share Button to point to your newsletters on your social media pages like Facebook and Twitter.

Quick Tip #4
Use Constant Contact Email Archive to turn your email newsletters into website content. You’ll keep your site refreshed easily, and give people a great peek into your organization and all that you offer your customers or members.

Quick Tip #5
Many businesses send birthday promotions offering customers a discount or gift on their day. Why not offer an anniversary promotion? You’ll attract couples who will be in a celebratory mood to splurge.