Lessons on starting an email list

FringeSport’s email list has been one of our best investments concerning linking our brand with our clients, and also concerning direct sales.

In this post, I will offer pointers, based on our experience, on beginning a list from the bottom up.

What is the purpose?

First, be clear why you’re starting a list. Start with the end in mind. In my case, I wanted to link my brand with our clients and also sell products to those customers. Others might have a different motive. By way of instance, a friend of mine would like to connect with people who might buy his photography services or book him for photo shoots. He should, in my opinion, attempt to help those end users, while also providing a light sales pitch on his own photography solutions.

Next, determine what your ideal subscriber resembles. For FringeSport, it’s someone who’s very fitness oriented, such as functional fitness, CrossFit-style training, or a barbell enthusiast. It might also be a CrossFit gym owner.

For my photographer friend, perfect subscribers might be magazine editors or customers searching for high-end photography solutions.

As soon as you determine your perfect subscribers, attempt to understand some demographic information about them. Are they mostly man? Mostly female? Do they have a high income? Do they reside in the U.S. or globally? Are they concentrated in certain places? What are they interested in? Where do they hang out online?

What to include?

Next, decide what kind of email your perfect subscribers would want to get. Many merchants who begin email lists want simply to sell on it, with a 20 percent reduction one week, a 10 percent reduction another week, etc.

But that won’t likely please readers, unless they love shopping and you offer flash revenue or a discounted shopping experience, such as Groupon.

For FringeSport, our mails offer advice on garage gyms, commercial gyms, and even workout tips and dietary advice. This is information that our readers want to get.

If my photographer friend is seeking to market to photo editors, by way of instance, he must figure out what they need to see in their inbox. They would probably want to see amazing images. But maybe they would also need to read stories about photographers and how they took amazing images — the story behind the picture.

To get the most from your email list, commit to a program. Send emails at least one time a week (hopefully more), so that readers get use to getting your emails, and even anticipate them. In FringeSport, we ship five emails each week. We would send more if we had sufficient high-quality content.

Then, decide what sorts of emails to send. It might be several types. Most companies probably should not send just straight-up promotional emails. But if you are sending numerous emails every week, perhaps one is straight up promotional.

Email service providers

There are lots of cloud-based email software suppliers. I strongly suggest MailChimp, especially if you’re starting out. MailChimp is so easy to use — it is easy to manage your list and layout and send amazing emails. It is not free, but it’s extremely inexpensive. I’ve had great results with deliverability on MailChimp, which may be a problem with larger lists.

When you are set up with a service provider, focus on incorporating the first few subscribers. You can raid your contacts on Facebook and your email inbox. Request,”Hey, can I send you an email?”

When you have added a few readers, send out your first few emails. Using the analytics from your email provider, monitor unsubscribes and spam complaints.

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