Can you imagine what life would be like without the invention of email? It is arguably one of the most amazing technological developments of the 20th Century and is the cornerstone of so much of what we enjoy today digitally – from instant messaging applications like Whatsapp which we enjoy on our phones, to Skype, which we use to voice call and visually communicate with anyone from the around the world. The fact that the email endures as a communication medium despite there being so many other new ways to communicate with other people shows us that a simple text based way to receive information is truly timeless.

Canadian digital marketers get it. Email marketing spend has been increasing by more than ten percent every year, and we spent $21.8 million on it last year. The majority of this was for permission-based email marketing, due to the strict Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) laws introduced by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. First introduced in 2014, this law has actually had a positive effect on email marketing by cleaning up mailing lists and refining target markets. With eight out of 10 consumers still willing to receive communications from brands via email, its value speaks for itself.

If you are new in the business world you won’t have a list of previous customers or suppliers, nor will you have any other kinds of relationships with other organisations. So how does a small business go about building a mailing list that meets the anti-spam criteria and be of a good enough quality to provide you with leads? We’ve found that there are two easy ways a small business can start building their email lists that don’t cost much – and you won’t believe how simple they are:

  • Social Media –

Email marketing might be 40 times better than Facebook and Twitter at acquiring new customers, but if you want to get their details and remain in contact, then LinkedIn in the way to go.

LinkedIn in the secret weapon of many small businesses, and it’s a great way to build up a list of contacts that are in the right market and receptive to what your business has to offer. According to an article in CIO.com, Canadian freelancer Nathan Segal was able to build a list of 70 email subscribers in just a week by joining groups and answering questions posed by other members in his areas of interest. You can even take this one step further and create a group for an area of interest and limit it according to area or business size – whatever your target market happens to fall into. The best part is that you aren’t limited to doing this on LinkedIn. You could easily do the same on Facebook groups, or in Twitter conversations.

  • CTAs –

A CTA can appear pretty much everywhere you share communication – from your Facebook and Twitter pages, your advertising in local papers/directories or even at a point of sale. You’d be surprised at how many email addresses you can get just by requesting them in your actual store.

For online communications, a CTA can work anywhere. Adding one to your Facebook page can increase your click-through rate by 285% and the numbers are even better for having them on your website. Yet shockingly, many small businesses don’t even list their email addresses or provide contact forms on their home pages. This allows your organic and paid traffic to slip through your fingers when you could easily optimise your website to include an up-front call to action.

Integrating a squeeze page into your website is a great way to get email addresses if you aren’t willing to tinker with your web design or development. This pop-up page prompt will appear to anyone attempting to view your web page, requesting a certain action that they can dismiss if they are not interested.

Email marketing can seem daunting if you’ve never done it before but it really doesn’t have to be. These two tips alone are enough to get you started with a reasonable mailing list, and if you find you’re still stuck after that, you can always give Digital Resellers Canada a call.