How to grow your mailing list like a human being

how to grow your mailing list (cute robot)

Ever feel awkward about asking people to join your mailing list? As if you’re asking them for a favour or somehow need to persuade them to hand over their email addresses? Let me give you some tips for how to grow your mailing list…

It’s true that getting subscribers onto your list has become harder in recent years. People are more cautious with their email addresses and we’ve all been on the receiving end of a torrent of spam on many occasions. But….you are not a spammer. You’re emailing information that will inform or delight your subscribers. In other words, stuff they actually want to read.

(If you’re not sending stuff they want to read, then you need to take a step back and sort this out before you begin growing your list.)

A couple of months back I was asked how a small business could get people on it’s mailing list and stay on the right side of the GDPR regulations. On one level this is entirely sensible, because the fines for not complying with GDPR are pretty daunting. But “how can we get their email addresses into MailChimp without breaking the law?” isn’t the most inspiring mindset to bring to email marketing!

Complying with GDPR so you can send out marketing messages is the absolute minimum requirement of email marketing. You will need to go above and beyond this if you’re to get any business benefits from your email marketing, because capturing their email addresses is just step one. There’s no point in having a list of subscribers unless they open your emails, read them and then take action.

So instead of “how can I get people on my list in a GDPR compliant way” ask yourself “what can I send my subscribers that they’ll open and look forward to reading?”

If you send your subscribers what they expect and look forward to receiving then the law becomes less of a worry.  Because instead of persuading them to join your list while jumping through the legal hoops, you’re offering them something genuinely valuable for free. Of course you still have to be GDPR compliant, but that is now part of treating your subscribers with respect and being transparent, rather than it being another legal hoop to jump through. Plus if you have a good relationship with your subscribers – if they actually like you and care about you –  if you did make an honest mistake they are going to be more forgiving.

It’s easy to slip into a negative or apologetic mindset with email marketing, which turns it into a chore. Instead, think of your subscribers as individual human beings and how you can make their lives better.

Treating your subscribers like human beings can mean lightening up and revealing your own human side, too. This will vary depending on your on your business, but it’s worth trying things like using humour or what goes on behind the scenes in your business. It’s easy to hide behind a professional front and boring stock photos, it’s much more scary to reveal a glimpse of the real you (or ‘yous’ if you have a team). But the results may surprise you.

The trend towards marketing automation has been with us for some time and isn’t showing any signs of stopping. After all, we expect to be able to contact businesses instantly and at any time of the day or night – email marketing is an affordable way for  small businesses to keep up with this trend. But you can ‘do’ email marketing without treating your clients and prospects like robots. It just takes a little creativity and experimentation.

Don’t know what to send your subscribers? Download my pack of copy-and-paste email templates here.

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2 thoughts on “How to grow your mailing list like a human being”

    • Thanks very much Ann. Yes, I hear so many people talking about email marketing as if it’s a chore or they need to somehow trick people to join their lists. If you’re starting from that place it’s much harder to produce something that people want to read.

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