Right below asking people in person if you can add them to your list is an old trick that can really buff up your mailing list pretty fast. It’s your own Rolodex. Obviously you already have prospective customers in mind, but in order to do this right, you need to follow a two step process. I know a business owner who actually got burned on this one, and I don’t want you to make the same mistake.
Go through your old business cards and start pulling names and email addresses from them. Do not, however, assume that they want to be on your regular email list. (This is where the business owner got burned). You must create a second list for these people, and you must first ASK them if they wouldn’t mind receiving occasional updates and offers from you. Below is an example of the kind of letter you might send to this list. Obviously, you need to use your own “voice” when writing your email. Keep it friendly and personal. You are the only one who knows how many people are receiving it.
I’m wondering if you wouldn’t mind giving me a hand with a project. Your part is easy. I’m going to be putting out a couple articles soon, and I’d like your permission to send them to you to get your thoughts on them. Occasionally I might forward along other information as well, but it all comes from me, not some email service.
If I don’t hear back from you, I’ll just go ahead with the plan. If you have any questions, of course you can email me back by hitting “reply”. And, if you don’t want to look over this information from me, then just reply and say “No thanks”.
I appreciate your help.
Notice I haven’t asked them if they want to receive spam from me. That’s how a human interprets “add your personal information to another email list” if you aren’t there in person to humanize the request. It’s really important that you keep all communication very personal. It’s also really important that you make the “opt in” the easiest option for them. That’s why a “no reply” is considered an opt in for this part of the campaign. These are people you know. And, because they are people you know, very few of them will confront you with a “No thanks”. And those that do simply aren’t your best prospects for your email campaign, so it is no loss to you.
This is perhaps the easiest trick that I’ve used over the years, and has resulted in me growing my list pretty effectively. It’s simple, really. Whenever you go to a mixer, networking event or trade show, just be sure to ask people that you meet if it is all right if you add them to your email list. To date, I have never had anyone say “no” to this request. Obviously, you are not there to gather leads for your email campaign, but when you meet someone who may be a good prospect for what you do, but isn’t ready to buy at that exact moment, it is a great idea to keep them aware of you by sending them regular emails about your business. We will discuss email content in a later section, but the bottom line is, you can probably add one or two people a week using this method. In a couple weeks, you’ll have your first five people.