If you have an online business - or a business with an official website - then you're losing out on a lot of repeat business if you don't set up a mailing list as well. Maybe you've already debated the merits of email marketing, but you get so annoyed by your own inbox that you don't want to be "that person". Maybe you simply don't know what you would share via email, because your business goals are straightforward and you rarely make updates or add new products and services.
Instead of skipping this golden opportunity to attract more page views and purchases, consider the following benefits of online mailing lists.
Maintain your exposure
The internet is a huge place, and no matter what your website is about, there are dozens more about the exact same thing. So when you do attract new visitors, it's essential that you hold onto their attention. When you collect your customers' or readers' email addresses, you create the opportunity to reach them again in the future. That doesn't mean you should fill their inbox with regular updates or pressure them in any way. But it does mean that each visitor is more than just a passing statistic; when they opt into your mailing list, they become an individual person who wants to hear from you again.
You can reach out to each new subscriber once, thanking them for their business or their time. When you roll out an extensive update, you can inform them; they'll appreciate the new look more than someone who never saw the old one. Most importantly, when someone takes the time to give you their email address, they're telling you that something on your website was worthwhile. Even if they didn't make a purchase or linger for very long, they're willing to give you another chance to impress them.
Thank and reward your customers and readers
Almost every online point-of-sale includes the option to join a mailing list. From huge department stores to artists who sell handmade wares, online retailers understand that email marketing is one of the most valuable tools available. But it's very important to make this an optional step. You may require an email address for each transaction, but don't require each person to join your mailing list. Instead, give them the option - and then thank them for choosing it. Your first email should be heartfelt note of appreciation, along with a guarantee that your updates will be sporadic and useful. You should also give them a clear way to opt out; if it takes more than a few seconds for them to figure it out, they might mark you as "spam", assuring that you'll never be able to reach them again.
Opt-in mailing lists are very different from weekly newsletters and promotional flyers that people receive from companies they've never even done business with. Too many corporations, marketers, and even small companies purchase email lists from other websites. You probably already know this from being a consumer yourself; if you're not careful about the information you give out online, your email inbox can fill up completely with unsolicited advertisements. Make sure you distinguish yourself from these underhand tactics, and that you reward your own customers for trusting you to be different. Carefully proofread your emails, and don't fill them with graphics and text boxes that take too long to load. Make your emails easy and simple to read, and make sure they always contain valuable information like a promotional code, upcoming sale, or important news that affects your industry.
If you approach each email from a human level, remembering that individual people need a reason to open and read it, then you'll already be several steps ahead of the computer-generated subscription services and scheduled advertisements that clutter up screens every day.