Many businesses consider their email marketing list the single most valuable asset they own. Here are some tips for helping you get your first mailing list up and running.

Select Your Service Provider

The first step in setting up a mailing list is to ensure the proper infrastructure is in place to handle a high volume of outgoing messages. Selecting a service provider to manage and administer your list is an efficient and cost-effective way to ensure a timely and consistent email stream. In order to find the best fit, consider the various features offered by a service, its pricing structure, and its ability to meet your particular needs. Please consult the previous post for a rundown of the leading autoresponder providers.

Determine How to Target Prospective Contacts

It’s not enough to announce your new mailing list and invite people to sign up. You have to convince them that their subscription will benefit them. One common method is to provide something valuable (such as a downloadable informational product), in exchange for their email address. Depending on your niche, this could be an ebook that introduces basic concepts, a checklist to help them accomplish a specific project or goal, or transcripts of interviews you may have available on your website.

Enable and Review Your Analytics

Regardless of the email service provider you’ve selected, several data collection options will enable you to monitor and analyze your email marketing activities. To avoid a backlog, collect as much as possible, and start reviewing this information immediately and on a regular basis. Over time, your database will grow and progressively become more valuable, and the information derived will serve as an excellent resource to consult when making business decisions.

Plan and Prepare Your Messages

Even weekly broadcasts should be prepared at least a day or two in advance of the delivery date. Being proactive allows you to take a fresh look at the content before it reaches your readership.

If you plan to send a series of emails, consider drafting them all before you load them up individually. This may seem daunting, but to keep your audience interested and engaged, your autoresponder series needs to maintain logical flow throughout its entirety. Conversely, if you choose to draft and upload entries individually, you risk fragmented writing that lacks cohesiveness, which may cause your reader to lose focus. Furthermore, if you draft each email only after the last one has been sent, it’s likely that you may overlook certain points that should have been made in earlier emails. Review all of your emails, in order, before you send any of them out.

Make Use of All Available Resources

Technical and administrative elements of mailing list implementation will vary depending on your chosen service. Fortunately, most service providers offer tutorials, videos, and other educational materials that can make this process much easier. Be sure to explore the resources available to you, and take advantage of any that could eliminate any guesswork.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of email list set-up, we can move on to common messaging methods. In the next post we’ll discuss the differences between autoresponder and broadcast messages, and how to use both appropriately and effectively.

About the author: Keith is the co-founder of Summit Evergreen, and helps course authors, product creators, and self-funded businesses increase their revenue from their existing traffic.