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Obtaining Customer Email Addresses (legitimately)

Small Business Owners need to Promote Themselves Online

Small business owners need customers' names and email addresses to promote themselves online. People can be very protective of their inbox and unsolicited junk emails can leave many feeling like they are being targeted. However, people are happy to sign up to your website if they feel it will be of benefit to them.
Here are seven simple tips to help you expand your list of email addresses:

1.Put an email sign-up box on your website.

Show your intentions by putting an email sign-up box prominently on your home page. You must earn your customers' trust so respect their wishes when it comes to email and include the option to stop receiving emails at any time.
Avoid asking for too much information but at the same time do not ask for too little. The basic information you should require is first name, last name, email address. Secondary information would be a second email address, postal address, demographics (age, sex, etc).
Having customers' giving you their emails is invaluable - this information is an asset for you to keep and use; don't sell it onto others.

2. Promote your sign-up option

Tell people about your sign-up option and the great reasons why they should sign up. Hand out sign-up sheets at trade shows or talks and events you attend. Include a signature on company emails such as "Sign up for the YOUR BUSINESS email newsletter at Your business.com.au/subscribe".

3. Make signing up worthwhile

The customer needs to feel it is worthwhile signing up to your emails. Be creative with your offer, but remember offers such as prizes or free holidays can result in lots of sign-ups but are often not long-term customers. Another good option is to offer ongoing incentives such as tips, advice, news alerts and newsletters. Offers like these are a great way to gain lots of names and email addresses.

4. Release your own free newsletter.

Email newsletters are a great way to promote your business while sending good information and incentives to your customers. This represents value to both of you and will build a strong relationship between you. While you should aim to acquire as many email addresses as possible don't worry about starting small - even sending a newsletter to a small subscriber list can be important for customer loyalty and business exposure.

5. Use specialised e-mail newsletters.

Target your target audience. Placing ads in specialised newsletters that reach your business' audience equals good publicity and can result in valuable sign-ups.

6. Think locally

Your best online customers will be local ones. Research the places local people use online such as newsletters, websites, discussion boards etc. Promote your business to local people by placing ads on these online sites but also make yourself be noticed by, for example, writing articles, posting on forums etc. Make sure you always include your business name and website. This is an inexpensive way to gain publicity.

7. Work with complementary businesses

Work with other businesses to target your customer effectively through cross-promotion in newsletters and ads. The key thing is to work with businesses who are not your competition.

8. And finally...

Don't be tempted to use email addresses from people who haven't given their permission. Consider how you feel about receiving unsolicited junk emails. Emails that you have gathered yourself are a much more valuable asset.
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Obtaining Customer Email Addresses (legitimately)