Building a strong opt-in list is essential for successful email marketing. As you might know by now, this is no easy task. Finding relevant contacts is a challenge, but keeping them is an even bigger one. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find your audience and deliver valuable, relevant content to them.

We’ve compiled some tips to keep in mind when sending communications to your opt-in list. Follow these and you’ll be on your way to converting that list of email addresses into a loyal following.

1. Give people a reason to opt-in

Whether it’s special offers, whitepapers or newsletters, you have to offer something in exchange for a precious email address. Share news and special offers, build rapport, but always remember quality over quantity. Most people worth emailing already receive more email than they want.  Don’t let yours become the one they unsubscribe from.

2. Make building your list part of your business

Use your business cards, website, sales calls, tradeshows, email signatures and mailings to promote your newsletter. Seek permission to send marketing emails at every opportunity.

3. Only collect the data you need

Lengthy forms deter prospects from signing up. Keep sign-up simple and ask for more information once you’ve established rapport after regular mailings.

4. Make your digital communications viral

Encourage your readers to share newsletters with colleagues by adding easy share links and integration with social media. Include sign-up instructions for those who get the newsletter second-hand. Promote your other publications in your whitepapers.

5. Keep evidence of opting in

Although it’s not always possible, if there’s a complaint against you, it’s likely to count in your favour if you’ve got a system to prevent stray email addresses from entering the list. If you’re accepting online subscriptions, date stamp them and send a welcome email so any problems can be addressed immediately.

6. Protect list quality

Like most things, lists age, so be prepared to do some regular tuning. The quality of a database has a decisive impact on the effectiveness of email campaigns, so it’s worth keeping your list updated and clean. Empower users to update their own details through a preference centre and make sure you track and respond to bounces, so that you’re not accused of emailing indiscriminately (aka spamming). Your list will decay by about 5% a month if you don’t work at it.

7. Honour opt-outs promptly

It’s sad to see people go, but when they want to move on, you’ve got to let them. Get a bad reputation, and you’ll find it even harder to build your list.

8. Keep communications relevant

Use database segmentation to make sure readers are only sent messages that are relevant to them. They won’t put up with you wasting their time. You can kiss that opt-in status goodbye if they feel your information doesn’t impact them.

Bring us a good contact list, and we’ll do the rest. If you’d like to talk about list management best practices, email us at engage@stoneshot.com