Listbuilding: Sending Unsolicited Emails

An actual photo of me reading an email.

An actual photo of me reading an actual email from an actual mailbag.

From the Mailbag

I was asked the following question and thought I would share the answer with you…

“Judy” asked me what her options were with respect to sending emails to a group she belonged to and sponsored. I gave her two pretty good options to build a list of prospects.

Hi Kurt!
How are you?
I would like to pick your brain about a dilemma I am having.
Please respond if you can offer advice.
I have been a member and my business Hair by Judy has also been a sponsor of a local women’s social club.
This is my second year of being both member and sponsor.
Last year and the beginning of this year I have been able to email our 500+ members with our informative newsletter with value to them.
Just recently I have been informed that I can no longer email to us members and post only on our yahoo group page.
My question to you is, since I am a member and sponsor, does the no email unless subscribed apply to me?
Of course I do not want a $16,000. fine for each email complaint.
Is it against the rules to email as a member asking if they’d like to subscribe to our newsletters and receive them in their mailbox of choice?
I would love your feedback and direction. Thank you for your time. “Judy”


Hi Judy!

I’m not certain I understand your dilemma, but if you were a member and/or sponsor of a group that allowed you to email the group, it is the group owner’s option to let you email them or not. If you’re a sponsor, what benefit do you get in return?

Somehow acquiring a bunch of email addresses, regardless of where they come from, and sending out email is a violation of the CAN SPAM act. People do this all the time at networking events; they get your business card and put you on their list. It’s illegal and probably generates more ill will than good. I report people who do that to me hoping they’ll get blacklisted. They deserve it.

Contacting people one on one in the group would not be a violation, but scraping their email addresses to build an email list is.

I think you should build your own email list using aWeber or Constant Contact or something similar would be a good thing. Most people will tell you that you need to offer a ‘lead magnet’ – something of value – to get their email address. Offering a newsletter doesn’t really work much. But a simple checklist does! You can send them an eBook, video, whitepaper or something else of value.

Then you could follow up with newsletters.

I recently attended a listbuilding summit and one of the panelists made a good point in that if people sign up for something and never read or watch it, it’s a lost opportunity. Sure they might be on your list, but you haven’t built a relationship with them, so they might never open your emails.

Instead send out a ‘quick fix’ that someone can implement immediately, like a checklist or short video. Solve their problem quickly and you may have a fan for life!

Savvy bloggers are using “Content Upgrades” to build their list. They offer additional information to something they’ve blogged about. You could write a blog post about “5 Ways to Keep Your Hair Healthy” and then offer another 5 tips if they opt in to your list.

I have a client who sells employment assessments to corporations. I have recommended that they write a blog post on “10 Ways to Improve Hiring with Employee Assessments,” then saying something like, “If you like the ideas we’ve shared today, sign up for our free guide “21 Ways to Hire More Productive Employees and Reduce Absenteeism and Turnover.

In their case, if the hiring or HR manager can get some useful ideas quickly, they will be much more likely to open followup emails.

Whatever you do, I would not just send out a bunch from your email as you can get blacklisted for spam. The email service providers are known to the people who host our email accounts and more of it gets delivered as a result.

Another option would be to create a group on LinkedIn. You can email members once a week and with it being LinkedIn, there’s a good chance they’re using their best email address.

I wouldn’t be overly promotional in the group or the emails. Be a community leader. Add value. Share resources.

You could do something similar with a Facebook Fan Page or Public or Private Group.

I hope this helps!

If you have tips, please share them below.

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