Question: Are there any low- or no-cost ways to build my e-mail list?

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Answer: Businesses are using a variety of approaches to build their e-mail lists, and they aren’t breaking the bank to accomplish it. Here are a few suggestions to build your subscriber list from hundreds to thousands.
  • Make the opt-in visible.The first step is to make sure an opt-in to your company’s e-newsletter or other e-communication is located in a highly visible place on your Web site, such as your home page. If you are introducing a new e-newsletter or updating an old one, it is advantageous to create a pop-up that invites visitors on your Web site to subscribe. You may even consider adding an encouragement to opt in on every page of your Web site.
  • Make content informational. In-boxes are inundated with e-mail. Make sure your subscribers look forward to receiving your e-mail. Providing industry-relevant content like tips and tricks will encourage subscribers to remain interested and might also lead a subscriber to share the message with others. Which leads to the next step …
  • Promote viral forwards.Enabling readers to forward the original e-mail message to a colleague is a way to spur acquisition and drive response rates. Be sure to display the forward-to-a-friend option in a prominent area. Once the message is forwarded, provide the new recipient with the ability to subscribe.
  • Use lists from different divisions. The best lists always come from your customers. Just make sure to ask permission. In-house lists are also a good bet because your recipients are already interested in your product and know your company.
  • Partner with other businesses. Partnering with an affiliate will provide e-mail users the opportunity to opt in to your e-mail communications while subscribing to their other favorite industry sites.

While these tactics work, it is important to keep the process of signing up simple. The first step to building your e-mail list is to make the opt-in process visible; the second is to make it quick and easy so potential customers don’t abandon it.

Tricia Robinson is chief marketing officer for Atlanta-based Accucast Inc. (, a provider of e-mail marketing solutions.

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