Are you collecting customer contact information?

Being able to connect with your customers can be extremely beneficial to your new business, especially if you’re keeping a master email list.

We asked Janine Popick, the CEO and founder of email service provider VerticalResponse, to explain the top reasons you should collect customer email addresses, and the best ways to get that information.

See Also: Target Marketing 101

Why you should collect customer emails:

Email marketing can increase buying opportunities

With a list of email addresses, you can send promotional emails to entice customers to buy from you. Send an email that offers a deal or a discount, Popick suggests.

The trick to a good promotional email is to put a deadline on the deal, which encourages customers to act quickly. Without a deadline, your customer can say, “Oh, that’s nice, I’ll have to check it out later.”

Odds are, they won’t get around to it.

Whether customers shop online or print off a coupon and bring it into your business to use, that email has the potential to increase sales.

It keeps your business at the front of your customers’ minds

By sending emails to your customers, you keep your business and brand top of mind.

One of the best ways to stay in touch with your customers, without trying to sell your products, is to send a regular newsletter. From company news to upcoming events, a newsletter serves as a little reminder that your business is here and ready to help when needed.

See Also: How to Pitch Your Business by Email

It’s an affordable marketing option

There are dozens of email service providers online and many of them offer a free plan. With a price like that, it’s hard not to give email marketing a test run.

As your list of contacts grows, you can upgrade to a paid membership, which usually starts around $20/month.

PC Magazine has a helpful spreadsheet that compares the features of free email service providers.

Here’s a quick list of free options:

Now you know why you should collect email addresses, but how do you go about doing it?

How to collect customer emails:

Set up in-store signup sheets

If you have a brick-and-mortar store, put a signup sheet at the register. While the customer is checking out, ask him or her to sign up.

Popick suggests telling the customer what they get when they sign up. For instance, if you plan to send out coupons via email, make sure to let your customers know what’s in store for them if they choose to sign up.

Create online signup forms

Customers should also be able to sign up on your website.

Allow customers to fill out a quick signup form, and submit their information online.

Keep the form short though—if the form is too time consuming, your customers won’t go through with it, Popick says. For example, VerticalResponse has this sign up option on their blog:

Add sign up options on your website like this.

Add signup options like this to your website.

Offer a webinar or mini class

If you offer a class or a webinar, you can collect contact information as people register for the event.

Wondering what kind of class or webinar to host?

Host a class about what you know. If you’re a retailer, host a class on finding trendy and affordable outfits. If you run an online marketing company, host a webinar to teach people search engine optimization tricks.

Utilize Square

Square is a payment app that lets you accept credit cards through your smartphone.

Customers have the option to get the receipt emailed to them; if the customer is willing, you can add their email address to your growing list.

Try Twitter lead generation cards

If you have a little social media savvy, you can try Twitter’s lead generation cards.

These promoted tweets offer customers a deal via email; all a customer has to do is provide their email address.

Here’s what they look like:

An example of a Twitter lead generation card.

An example of a Twitter lead generation card.

It’s not a free service, but it’s an affordable option that can result in an influx of customer contacts.

How do you collect customer contact information? Let us know in the comments!

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AvatarLisa Furgison

Lisa Furgison is a journalist with a decade of experience in all facets of media.