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Shop Talk : 6 Ways to Acquire Consumer Email Addresses

December 1, 2012 By Arthur Middleton Hughes
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Q: "I own a retail dealership selling powersports maintenance parts and would love to gather quality leads from potential customers for targeted email campaigns. What are the five best ways to garner quality leads? Thanks!" - Michael B. Manthey, owner, Up North Powersports

A: Most businesses need more leads than they have right now. They need people signed up for their emails who want to hear about their products and services. How can you get them? Here are five ways (plus an extra bonus tip):

1. Have a great website filled with interesting and useful information as well as links that show all of the products and services you have available. On that website must be an invitation to sign up for emails — an invitation that stands out, that provides a reason for signing up and makes it easy to do so. TIP: Make sure those who sign up get a welcome message right away. How fast is right away? Within five minutes, while the visitor is still at their PC. If your welcome message comes tomorrow, she will forget that she even signed up for your program and think your email is spam.

2. Get people to come to your website. That means getting noticed by the major search engines. There are many companies that can help you with search engine optimization. They'll tell you to do the following: include a sitemap page; do keyword research; include a title and meta description on every page; start a user blog; and sign up for Google Webmaster Central.

3. Give consumers a reason to sign up for your emails. This could be free shipping offers or something that people not signed up don't get. Make it clear that signing up for your email program is a good thing for the subscriber. To make sure that people sign up, try a pop-over — i.e., a sign-up sheet that slides over your web page once while visitors are viewing it. Pop-overs are very annoying, yet very effective. Make sure that your visitors see the pop-over only once.

4. If you're selling hard goods, make sure that inside the packaging of each product you include a card inviting the purchaser to sign up for your email program. This tactic helps customers remember where they purchased from in case they need to return something or they want to buy more.


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