Building Your List

How To Get Your Customers To Opt In

The regulations concerning the use of email marketing mean that messages should only be sent to individuals who have given their consent to receive them. While this may initially present something of a barrier to using email, it is also great opportunity.

A list of customers who have given permission to contact them is an extremely valuable resource and so it is well worth taking the time and effort to build one. The following shows a number of ways you can approach building a list from scratch.

Even if you already have a list it is likely that you would benefit from supplementing it using some of the techniques below.

Data Capture

By far the simplest way of gathering email addresses is to ensure that they are collected when taking other customer details. While this may seem obvious, there are many companies who don’t ask for email addresses when capturing the details of new or potential customers, often because they don’t currently use email marketing. The problem is if they don’t collect email addresses they will never be able to!

Incentives and Competitions

Clearly a free gift or prize draw will encourage customers to provide their details. Many people are wary of being bombarded with messages and may need some encouragement, while others simply realise their information is valuable and expect something in return. We suggest any incentive should be small and relevant, otherwise you will end up with a list of people interested in your incentive rather than you.


Indeed one of the best ways to build a list of high value prospects is to offer a newsletter by email. Generally this should have some perceived value to the recipient and not just be a sales brochure. A good example would be a bulletin covering important industry issues, such as changes to regulation, that demonstrate your expertise and thereby help build the relationship between you and your customers.

Member Get Member

Of course for many businesses the people who are most likely to be able to find new prospects are their existing customers, who are highly likely to know other people similar to themselves. Most of us like to share a good thing, so next time you contact your database with an offer or incentive why not encourage them to recommend a friend so you can add them to your database too?