What to Know and How to Get Started with Email for Your Business
How do I create an email list?
A client reached out to me with this message:
Hey Kevin, I hope you’re doing well! How do I create a mailing list to send to my customers via email? I don’t feel like this is super complex and I looked up how to do it in gmail but I wanted to check with you before I did anything
First, I’m glad he felt comfortable in reaching out and I’m glad he felt like I was the right person to ask. I developed his website and helped him with his Facebook page so we already had a working relationship in which he sees me as a knowledgeable resource for his online business management.
Second, as someone who takes a consultative approach to client solutions, I didn’t give him an answer without asking some questions to better understand him and what his goals might be. I needed more information from him in order to give good guidance to him. Otherwise, why would he continue to trust me, right?
The following is essentially what I sent him in response to his simple text message asking, “How do I create a mailing list…”
So, I said I had a few questions, which are further down, but I thought it would be helpful, also, to provide some context regarding sending email as a business.
Things for you to be aware of and to consider before building an email list:
- There are laws in place (CAN-SPAM Act) that you, as a business, must follow or risk being fined by the FTC.
- There are two primary types of emails that a business will send to people:
- The first is transactional email. These emails are the direct result of some transaction (not necessarily someone purchasing something, but it could be someone requesting information) that occurs and is usually initiated by some action taken by a lead/prospect/customer. For example, a prospective customer visits your site and completes a form requesting a quote or more information. Your system responds automatically to complete the “transaction” of providing an answer in response to their question. A more obvious form of transactional email is sending a receipt via email because someone purchased a product or service from your website. All transactional email is typically one-to-one; business to single individual.
- The second is marketing email. This encapsulates a lot of different type marketing messages and could include information about your company, education about the industry, promotional offers, requests for referrals, etc. Practically all marketing email is sent in bulk via an email marketing service provider and is one-to-many; business to multiple individuals.
- Transactional emails aren’t bound by the CAN-SPAM Act but any other email you send in bulk to multiple people at one time will be subject to CAN-SPAM laws.
Here are some questions for you to consider if you’re a business wanting to build an email list:
- Is this list truly for customers only, or is it also for leads, potential customers?
- What kind of content are you planning on sharing with this list via email?
- What is the value to your list? Why will it matter to your customers/leads?
- What is the value to you? How do you anticipate an email list benefitting you?
- How often do you think you want to send email to this list?
- Who will be responsible for email copy? Graphics or images?
Having this information and considering these questions will help in developing and implementing your email list building strategy.