Introduction to Mailing Lists for Small Businesses

Have you ever visited a web page and given your email and name in exchange for a special offer, newsletter, or some form of information? Chances are you have.

Mailing Lists are used by most successful online local business owners as they allow them to build long term relationships…and long term income from their websites!

By having peoples contact information, you have the ability to connect with them at any time in the future, notifying them of special offers, bonuses, industry news, or company info.

Building relevant mailing lists is a very powerful component of any Internet business, as it will allow you to send out notices, service announcements, tips, techniques, promotions, or anything related to your product. This will equate to long term income and will allow you to make money from offers without incurring any money on advertising. Mailing lists allow you to have continued contact with your potential buyers, which is a very powerful position to be in.

The word “opt-in” means that all of the emails that you collect have been voluntarily offered. This differs from SPAM email because the owners of the email addresses are giving you consent to send them information on your product. SPAM email marketing doesn’t work and is illegal while “opt-in: email marketing is 100% legal and ethical.

The questions that many people have about opt-in email lists are very similar:

  • How do you effectively obtain leads?
  • Which company should you use to handle your data?
  • How do you create a webpage that will entice your visitors to join your mailing list?
  • How to get traffic to your website that includes the sign up form?

All of these topics will be discussed in this article.

What is an Autoresponder?

An autoresponder is a tool that allows you to manage, organize, and automate the process of collecting and distributing information via email. All of the best company’s use paid autoresponders services such as, Get Response and MailChimp to handle their mailing lists, as they are the most well-known autoresponder services online. Their tools and features are excellent and are highly recommended if you are serious about building your mailing lists.

Once signed up to an autoresponder service, you will have access to a vast array of services that include list building tools, form generators, tracking, analytics and reports. The great thing about a system like this is that you don’t have to worry about anything. You can simply create a new list, then paste the web form code on your web page, and you’re done. The autoresponder will take care of the rest.

Perhaps you want to provide a series of emails that are sent out once a week for 8 weeks. It’s simple! All you have to do is create a follow-up sequence of email messages, save them in within your autoresponder control panel, and each time a new visitor signs up to your mailing list they will be sent the 8 emails, all staggered at intervals that you choose.

Benefits of Building an Opt-in Mailing List

Online Marketing can generate a lot of money for your business, and successful marketers know that not all customers that you bring to your website are ready to buy right away. Some are just browsing for information, while others need a small push to make a purchase.

Either way, unless all of your paid traffic converts into sales, you are wasting some money on the clicks that don’t convert. One great way to offset this cost is to provide a mailing list sign-up form on your web page. If your visitors don’t purchase the product, they may be interested in signing up to your mailing list (if your offer is appealing). This will allow you to contact them in the future to sell them on the products that you are promoting and provide them with valuable information.

Generally it is a good idea to provide your mailing list members with some kind of follow-up email that further sells your product on the page. The key, however, is that once you have a member on your list, you can send them whatever email that you want.

It is also a very smart idea to cross-promote products that are similar in nature. For instance, if you are promoting cameras on your website, you could promote camera accessories, photography courses, online picture storage services, etc. This way you can create repeat customers and fulfil all their purchasing needs within a particular industry. A single person on your list could easily amount to $100’s in commissions!

With that being said, you cannot simply provide sales letter after sales letter to people on your list. You need to provide some kind of quality content. Perhaps you can send an article that you’ve written or a tip. The key is to teach your list and educate them about industry news and information. I’m sure you hate getting spam, and perhaps you despise getting endless sales pitches about products and services. Your subscribers won’t like this either, so don’t just send them promotions. Try to splice some of your promotional material with some information and value.

The idea of a mailing list is that you will have personal contact with your subscribers far past the time they visited your web page. You will be provided with more than one chance to make a sale and the opportunity to create a long term business relationship with this person.

There are people out there that have mailing lists in the 100,000’s of people.

Can you imagine if 0.5% of those people make a purchase once you send out an email promoting a product? Online business owners with large lists have spent time, energy and money building their lists, but if you can make 1500 sales by sending out a single email to 300,000 people you could make upwards of $70,000 by selling a $45 product. To make a very comfortable living you would only have to send out ONE OR TWO full promo emails per year!

There are few people with this many people on their list, as lists of 10,000 are much more common and definitely much more achievable. Even at 10,000 you could still make $3500 by simply sending out an email. Why not start generating your list now? It is the single most cost-effective way to build a long term business online!

Building a List

To effectively build a mailing list, you will need to understand how to add a form to your page…and more importantly, how to make this form appealing to your visitors. There are two methods that you can use to get visitors to sign up to your mailing list. You can add a pop-up or form to your existing web page, or you can create a web page that has been specifically put together to build a mailing list, also known as a squeeze page.

Adding a Form to Your Existing Page

You are going to need some basic website knowledge if you are going to add a

form to your web page within your autoresponder you will be provided with HTML OR JavaScript code that you will need to add to your web page (you have the option

to use one or the other). The code that you are provided with will be generated automatically by your autoresponder, so the only thing that you will need to do is copy and paste it to your pages source code. Upon adding this code to your page, a form will be added within the text of your page or a pop-up will be displayed, allowing you to start collecting email addresses.

Adding a form to an existing web page is a great way to further monetize traffic that you are already receiving. You don’t have to spend any extra money on advertising, but by adding a simple mailing list form can drastically improve the amount of sales you generate and you will be building a list.

How will you generate these sales? Within the autoresponder that you are using you will be provided with a number of functions that will allow you to send out automated email sequences to your subscribers. We highly suggest that you send out follow-up emails further promoting your products as this will save you time as your entire list will be automated. There are ways to send out ‘one-time’ emails as well, and these are called broadcasts. Both are effective methods of earning money through your mailing lists.

Creating a Squeeze Page

A squeeze page is a web page with one purpose in mind; to collect email addresses and names from the visitors. There is generally nothing but information on a squeeze page. Common squeeze pages include messages that have one general idea: “We have a great product that we want to tell you about, but first we’d like you to sign up for our mailing list”. Most squeeze pages follow a format similar to this. The rate of signups on a squeeze page is typically much higher than that of a typical website because there are no other distractions.

Writing Emails

What should you write in your e-mails that you send out to the subscribers of your mailing list? This is a difficult question to answer, because there are many techniques that work very well. For the purpose of this tutorial we are going to touch on one very common technique that many successful marketers use.

To get people to sign-up in the first place, you need to grab their attention and make it worth their while to sign up. Many website offer “FREE” information or products to people who sign-up with their mailing lists. This technique will work if you offer the website visitors something that is of “value” to them.

Value has to go hand-in-hand with promotional materials within your emails. No one wants to be bombarded with sales pitches every time they open an email from you, so don’t bother even sending out such emails. The best way to promote your product is to provide information that relates to your product, then add a few sentences that make reference to your product and how it can help with the reader achieve something.


Let’s suppose you have an “anti-virus” website where you are promoting various products that scan your computer for viruses. You could send emails out to your list that explain what viruses are, or what new viruses are out there and how you could be infected. Then, you can mention that the viruses can be removed instantly by product A and product B. At that point you will want to add your affiliate link in the email or direct the visitor to a review page of your choice.

Providing quality content that will genuinely HELP the reader is a very important aspect of building a relationship with your list. Don’t be pushy about the promotion of your products. Sending out quality content within your emails will entice the members of your mailing list to open your mail-outs on a continual basis and actually read your emails. When they read, and like the content, they’ll read again, and again. You want to build “TRUST” between you and your members, so don’t bombard them with too much of a sales pitch!