Here’s the question that’s on everyone’s mind when they start thinking about mailing lists: “Which service should I use?”
You’ve probably wondered yourself, and maybe even spent a few hours (or days, or weeks) researching your options.
This is not the question you should be asking (yet). And it’s exactly why so many entrepreneurs get stuck in the planning stage of list building. Making the wrong decision on your ESP can leave you with a service that doesn't meet your needs, wasting both time and money. To find the provider that is right for your business, you need to do a little homework.
The First Step In List Building
Before you need to think about tools, you must ask yourself this:
“How can I best serve my market?”
It doesn't matter what type of business you have. Your customers and prospects have a need that only you can fulfill. And when you discover what that need is, you’ll have two valuable pieces of information:
- What incentive will be a true no-brainer for your ideal client to opt-in to your list?
- How can you use your mailing list to provide the best value for those who join your list?
Don’t over-think these questions, though. Your opt-in incentive can be as simple as a resource guide or a short how-to video that answers a common question. You don’t have to go overboard with dozens of downloads and a 100-page eBook. Rather than providing value, these massive downloads are more likely to overwhelm your reader than encourage them to learn more.
And when it comes to providing value to your list members, keep three things in mind:
- Regular communication is a must (consider an autoresponder series if you’re not good with scheduling email updates)
- Marketing is second to information—too much selling will cause your opt-out rates to soar.
- It’s your responsibility as a thought leader in your market to distill and provide the information, tools and products your audience needs.
What is your list-building goal?
How will you be using your list? Will you:
- Send a weekly or monthly newsletter?
- Create an autoresponder series that delivers content on a pre-determined schedule?
- Use affiliate links as an income generator?
- Promote your own services and products?
The answers to these questions will help you determine not only the right tool for your list-building needs, but will also determine the path for your ongoing mailing list content, promotions, and growth.
There are many choices in Email Service Providers. Do your homework (above) and then do your research to make sure that the ESP you choose will make it both easy and affordable to reach your goals.
To your success!
P.S. I personally use and recommend Constant Contact for both email and social media management. Click here for a free trial.
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Laura Olson-Oxley is an entrepreneur, coach, speaker, marketing and business consultant, and sales professional. She has over 25 years experience working with small businesses in a variety of industries, focusing on strategic business growth through effective marketing and advertising. Also a strategist, numbers nut, project manager, and life-long learner, Laura looks at the big picture to analyze and recommend the most effective tools to take businesses to the Next Level.