Your First Steps to Setting up a Mailing List


For many businesses, their email marketing lists can be the single most valuable asset they own. Here are some tips for helping you get your first mailing list up and running.

Select Your Service Provider

The first step in setting up a mailing list is to make sure you have the infrastructure in place to handle it. This will almost always mean that you’ve selected a service provider (such as the ones we previously discussed) to help you manage and administer your list. Consider the various different features offered by a service, its pricing structure, and its ability to meet any particular needs you have in order to find the best fit.

Decide How You Want to Target Prospective Contacts

How are you going to target your prospects? It’s not enough to tell people you have a mailing list and tell them to sign up. You have to give them a reason why. One common method is to provide something valuable (usually a downloadable informational product) in exchange for someone giving you their e-mail address. Depending on your niche, this could be an e-book that introduces basic concepts to someone who is unfamiliar with your niche, a checklist to help them accomplish a specific project or goal, or transcripts of interviews you may have available on your website.

Enable and Review Your Analytics

Regardless of the email service provider, you’re working with, you’re likely to have a number of different options for how and when you can collect data relating to your email marketing activities. Make sure you’re collecting as much as possible, and start reviewing this information as soon as possible. Obviously, it’s going to become more valuable as time goes on and you have more data to analyze, but it’s still worth getting in the habit of using it as part of your decision-making process from the very beginning.

Plan and Prepare Your Messages Beforehand

If you’re only sending out a weekly broadcast, for example, prepare that email at least a day or two before you plan to send it out, so that you have the opportunity to take a fresh look at it one last time before it actually goes out.

If you plan to send a series of emails, then draft all of them before you load them up. It might seem like a big task, but it’s almost always best to approach your autoresponder series this way. If you instead draft each email only after the last one goes out, you might find that you’ve overlooked certain points that you should have made in earlier emails, or that the autoresponder series as a whole doesn’t have a good flow. Review all of your emails, in order, before you start sending any of them out.

Make Use of All Available Resources

The actual technical and administrative steps to setting up a new mailing list will vary depending on the service you use. Fortunately, most service providers have tutorials, videos and other educational materials that can make this process much easier. Be sure to make full use of all the resources that are available to you. You may even wish to consider these resources as a factor when deciding between which autoresponder service to use.

Now, it’s time to get to work and start setting up your lists. In the next couple of posts, we’ll be talking about effective ways to grow your mailing list. So make sure you’re ready to get started!

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