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Transform an e-mail list into a gold mine

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

With all the hoopla over social-networking web sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, we sometimes forget that e-mail is still the No. 1 way that many businesses do online marketing.

Nearly 90% of marketers plan to spend as much or more on opt-in e-mail marketing in 2010 as they did in 2009, according to a recent survey by Silverpop.

Are you more experienced than your boss with social-media sites? You can use those sites to help build your business’s e-mail marketing list, says Julie Waite, an e-mail marketing strategist at Bronto Software.

A bigger marketing list equals more potential business, which is probably one of your boss’s top goals.

Here’s what she recommends:

Use a Facebook or LinkedIn group or fan page as a place for a “call-to-action” for people to sign up for your e-mail list.

“Be sure to make the benefits of opting in clear, like exclusive offers, resources, etc.,” says Waite. “And tell them about any incentive you’re offering—free shopping, PDF or a discount.”

Tweet a link to your opt-in form, saying something like “Exclusive 25% off coupon in this week’s e-mail. Are you on the list?”

Waite says, “I would recommend limiting these shout-outs to avoid turning off your followers.” Once or twice a month is adequate.

Does your company have a blog? Convert blog commenters into e-mail subscribers. “These folks are the most engaged in your blog, why not ask them to subscribe?” she says.

As a final note, Waite says, “Trust is key in the communities of social media and blogs. You can turn off followers immediately by pushing the sales pitch too heavily or abusing their loyalty.” So tread lightly.

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