Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Grow Your Email List with 10 Resources You Already Have

ROSEMARY HARRIS: I've been using Constant Contact for years and recently I attended a free seminar given by Ellen DePasquale, Constant Contact Regional Development Director, New York area.

I couldn't take notes fast enough - and happily Ellen has agreed to pay us a visit and share some of her marketing tips.

ELLEN DEPASQUALE: When it comes to your email marketing efforts, you always want to be growing your contact list. But what’s the best way to do that, and which tools are available?

You can build an email list that is highly responsive, creates connections with your current and potential customers, and allows you to market your brand over time simply by using the resources you probably already have.

 What resources? Here are 10 you can combine to build a quality email marketing list:

 1. Website

Add a sign-up link to your website to give current customers and those who discover you online a chance to stay connected.

 2. Social Media

Add a Join My Mailing List tab to your Facebook Page and share your newsletter on all of your social networks for greater visibility. Let your social community have a chance to subscribe.

 3. Blog

Consider linking blog posts to archived emails and encourage readers to learn more by subscribing to your newsletter.

4. Email

Add a sign-up link to your everyday email signature. Include a brief reason why someone should subscribe.

5. Networking events

Follow up with a personal email to the people you’ve exchanged contact info with. Ask if they’d like to join your list and include a link. Never add someone to your list without their permission.

6. Speaking engagements

If people are interested in what you have to say, there’s a good chance they’ll be interested in what you write in your emails. Let people know you have a resource they can sign up to receive.

7. Current customers

Word-of-mouth is a valuable tool for growing your email mailing list. Sometimes providing a simple call-to-action like: “Did you enjoy this email? Maybe your friends will too!” can get them to tell a friend and help you grow your list.

8. Family and friends

Ask your friends to share a link to your sign-up form on their social networks they may be connected to someone who could use your emails.

9. Business partners

Reach out to other businesses and see what they have done to get people to sign up for their emails. If you share a similar audience, think of ways you can help promote each other. You may be able to put in a good word for each other. (Remember: Never share your list or take one from someone else; always protect your customer’s information.)

10. Local media

You can make the most of any media coverage you receive by telling the person who is writing the story about your email list. Even if they don’t include it as part of their story, they could sign up themselves as a way of keeping up with your business – which could land you more coverage in the future.

Combining all of these resources can add up to a big difference in growing your contact list. Once you’ve got the best possible emails going to the best possible audience, success is bound to follow.

ROSEMARY HARRIS: Although she's technically STILL ON HER HONEYMOON (!) Ellen will be stopping by to answer questions or you can check out Constant Contact's website or contact Ellen at 

AND...why not share some of YOUR marketing tips with the rest of the Jungle Red family?? As a very wise man I know says - All for One and One for All!

Tomorrow I'll be blogging about my very special trip to San Francisco this past weekend where I met with The Literary Giants (insert tongue in cheek) an extraordinary group of women who had agreed to act as my own focus group for my new book. The LGs are a book club that's just entered its third decade in existence and they let me pick their brains - wow...what an experience.

And on Friday international bestselling author Lynda LaPlante (Prime Suspect - the fabulous one with Helen Mirren...and dozens of other books and television programs) will be visiting to tell us about her latest Anna Travis mystery, Blood Line.


  1. Ellen, thanks for visiting us--on your honeymoon!! I know we're a lot of fun, but really that's above the call of duty:).

    How often do you recommend sending a newsletter? Or is it ok to send out occasional news and announcements?

  2. Thanks for sharing your resources with us!

    It looks like to create a tab on my Facebook author page I need to add an iFrame. Is that correct? The procedures I find on the internet look complicated. Any advice?

    As for Constant Contact, I was reluctant when my friend and publicist suggested handing over to her my gmail contact list last month before the launch of my first published novel. My newsletter went out to everyone I have had email contact with in the last six years - yikes! But then I got some really nice messages back from long-lost friends and relatives, some book sales, and an invitation to a book group, so it seems it was worth it.

  3. There's such a fine line between inform and annoy. Ellen, any thoughts on how to recognize it?

  4. Excellent advice! Thank you! Many writers are looking for just this kind of succinct direction! Thelma Straw in manhattan

  5. Welcome, Ellen! Answering questions and responding to comments on your honeymoon really ought to qualify you for the Jungle Reds Award of Honor.

    I'm about to start sending formal email newsletters. Until now, I've sent occasional group emails with news and announcements. Can I go ahead and use that email list to start off my newsletter? Or do I need to ask each of those people who've been on my list for ages to sign up separately for the new email newsletter?

  6. Yes, that's what I wonder, too...does anyone actually read them? How long should they be? What's a good click-though buy rate?

    Yes, inform versus annoy. SO critical.

    Edit,your whole gmail list? Did that work..?

  7. Ellen, Thank you for all this!

    I'm finding today's topic of particular interest and have many of the same questions asked here already.

    Inform versus annoy - ahhh. A very fine line, I agree. One of those "I recognize it when I see it" things, for sure, but how do you gauge it before you've gone over the line?

  8. What a great post!

    Thank you Ellen and Ro!

    I am printing this out and saving it!

  9. Hi Ellen,

    Thanks for doing this on your honeymoon!

    Thank you so much for the warning, "Never add someone to your list without their permission." I subscribe to a few authors' newsletters. I signed up for them on their blog pages, because I love them so much and wanted to keep up with what they were writing or what they have to say about the world.

    I have dropped a few newsletter subscriptions, because they were nothing more than copies of the authors' blogs that I already read. Author Facebook pages often lead me to their blogs and, in this indirect way, I think I signed up for two or three newsletters.

    The authors I favor always seem to interest me in their writing, whatever it is they are writing about, and in whatever form. I was very interested in Rhy's trip to England during the Olympics, and I love when Hank talks about consumer rights. Linda Rodriguez' cookbook helps me heal from recent loss. It's a cookbook. But it talks the future to me.

    Thanks Ro. Thanks Ellen.

  10. Late to the party, but I wanted to say that I use Constant Contact at work (restaurant/theater/meeting venue) and I'm thrilled with it. I love that I can create separate lists and people can subscribe to only the information they want (i.e. weekly specials, comedy night, theater, etc.). That helps avoid over-informing people who don't care about weekly stuff but DO want to know when we have a special event. I also like the accessible, useful stats on opens, clicks, forwards, etc. for each email.

    Although I've used Constant Contact, I'm still curious about Lucy's question - how often is too often, and, conversely, how infrequent is too infrequent? I've also wondered about email length - is it better to keep the email succinct and add links to a website, or are we more likely to see better return on a longer, more informative email with all the info in one place for the reader.

  11. First: Happy Honeymoon to the Newlyweds!

    This is a great post. I too am printing it out (as PDF)--it's a keeper.

    Great questions too, Reds. I'm right in there with ya. Thanks.

  12. This is something I'll definitely keep on hand. Great advice and a great resource!

  13. Edith,

    Glad to hear about your success with Constant Contact!

    Regarding Facebook Tabs, most of these can be easily created with 3rd pary apps so you don't have to do through all the hard work with coding and iFrame. What kind of tab are you looking to create? Search their app section for something that already exists!

  14. Lucy,

    The frequency of your emails is determined by your goal.

    For informative, educational emails, the goal is usually to stay top-of-mind and to build your relationships through sharing your expertise. In that case, the next question is how long is your email? Shorter emails can be sent out more frequently where longer emails I would recommend monthly.

    For promotional, event-driven, or announcement emails, the goals are sales, attendance and awareness, respectively. The frequency of these will be dictated by the topic. If you have weekly promotions, then weekly, if you have quarterly events, then 3 or 4 emails per event started at least 6 weeks prior, and announcements should be something pretty big, and very interesting to your list, so these are less freqwuent.

    Hope this helps!

  15. Hallie,

    Inform vs. annoy. I agree there is a fine line. The good news is that with email marketing, you are sending your emails to people who have given you permission, so they are already interested in what you have to say. Keep your emails full of value and you will be able to send them more frequently.

    The bottom line is - what is your goal for sending your emails? Of course it is not to annoy anyone, but it should include some call to action so that you can measure the results of your efforts.

    I subscribe to an email call the Daily Deal. I get it daily and I knew it before I subscribed.

    Just let everyone know how often your emails are going to be sent and you will have happier recepients!

    Thanks for the question,

  16. Linda,

    List development and gaining permission are crucial to successful email marketing.

    I understand that you are moving to a more formal email marketing/newsletter versus an occasionally email with news. That's a great step, and since you already have a list of people accepting those emails, you do not need to get their permission again.

    Good luck with your new newsletter,

  17. Kaye and Sandi,

    One important thing to remember is that since you are getting permission to send your emails, you should have a good feel for the people on your list.

    Having said that, shorter emails are usually preferable, because everyone is being bombarded with information, especially in our inboxes. Make sure the informatiojn has value, and if you do have a lot to say, consider including a summary and then a link to the longer version - either as it resides online or creating a pdf document and uploading it to your Constant Contact library. This way people can get the ideas you are presenting and if they have time, will read the full version. Also, our stats show you who clicks on links, so you will quickly see which topics were of most interest to your readers.

    Typically, a good open rate is between 20 - 30%, and a good click-thru rate is much lower, about 5%.


  18. Thanks to everyone for all your questions and for your well wishes.


    P.S. Thanks also to everyone here who is a Constant Contact customer! Always great to hear from you.