Posted: Mon 5th Mar 2012
The most important part of having an enewsletter is having people to read it. We've looked at how you can promote your newsletter to pick up subscribers. But once you have a mailing list, you have to manage it - not least to comply with data protection laws which are strict about storing and keeping personal information.
Here are our mailing list dos and don'ts:
Update your list before each mailing, by removing people who have unsubscribed and adding new subscribers (remember to have an easy to see 'unsubscribe' option on your enewsletter).
Keep your list secure. If you keep your list on your own PC or server, it must be securely protecte, ideally with some for of encryption. The best option might be to allow your enewsletter platform to hold and manage your mailing list for you. They'll automatically add and remove subscribers as the list changes.
Give people options to sign up for different things on your sign-up form. For example, if you want to send third party offers to people, make sure they have a clear choice to opt-in or out of your offers emails. You can't send people things they haven't signed up to.
Ask people you meet at networking events and during the course of sales if they would like to sign up to your newsletter.
Ask subscribers for information you don't need. Everything you ask for must have a specific purpose. You'll definitely need their name and email address, for example. For some businesses, other information such as age and gender may be useful - but only if you actually need it to help deliver your product or service. It's a good idea to keep the personal information you ask for to an absolute minimum anyway, as sign up should be quick and easy.
Send emails to people who haven't specifically signed up for them. There is an exception to this rule, however, known as the 'soft opt-in'. That's when you've collected someone's details in the course of sale and the emails are marketing similar products or services. You should also give them a clear opportunity to opt out of future mailings.