Recent security issues with Facebook and other social media challenge present a double-edged sword for marketers.

On the one hand, news that data had been compromised is a reminder of why it is important for businesses to own their communication platforms—as if dwindling organic reach figures and constantly-changing news feed algorithms weren’t enough.

It also means that customers may be less willing to provide their email addresses—which is, obviously, a crucial component of any email marketing campaign.

Email marketing, however, is a low-cost and generally successful revenue generator, making it a value in regards to its Return On Investment. It is one way to guarantee you’ll be able to deliver your message to your customers when you want it, without having to worry about if they will see it pop up on their social media feeds.

It has other advantages, too:

  • They are not intrusive. When your customers provide you with their email addresses, they’re expecting to get marketing emails. They can read them on their own schedule and opt out if they wish. Just make sure to not overwhelm their schedule, and provide great content.
  • As already mentioned, they’re cost-effective. You can send messages to a large audience and personalize them to provide that small business touch.
  • They have multiple purposes. A good email marketing campaign can be used for direct sales, to educate (like your business blog) and therefore add value. They can also help build up relationships with customers.
  • They help you gather data. And data, as you know, makes the business world go around.

Because of those reasons, building an email list should be a top priority for your business. Getting that information from your customers is not always easy, but here are some of the best ways to go about it:

  • Ask for it at each point of contact. Have your staff ask customers when they are cashing out or paying for services. Include it in your blog, or as a tagline when you answer questions in a public forum.
  • Establish a rewards program that requires an email notification
  • The old tried and true fish bowl, where customers can place their business cards at the register
  • Use our social media channels
  • Make several Calls to Action on your web site—not just on the landing page, but on several subsequent pages, particularly ones that advertise seasonal specials or other discounts
  • Reconnect with old subscribers

Building a strong email list is important for your business, but it does not happen overnight. Be patient and remember: it is time well spent.

How do you populate your email list? Let us know in the comments!