Advertising by email has many benefits over the more traditional forms of marketing; it is more cost efficient – the average cost of sending a single email is less than half of one cent, it has a higher response rate than most other forms of direct marketing, and it keeps the lines of customer communication open.

There are two ways to collect address, one is to buy a list and the other is to create it yourself. The downfalls to buying a bulk email list is they can be expensive and there’s a good chance many the addresses may no longer be valid. If you plan to purchase a list choose a reputable vendor that can match a list to your target audience.

The other way to collect addresses is by creating a list yourself. Here are some suggestions for obtaining your customers’ email address.

If you send out direct mail you can invite customers to receive further information via email.

At conferences you can provide a sign up sheet.

At trade shows you can offer a prize that requires the customer to fill out a form with an option to be included on your company’s email list.

Have a sign up option available on your website.

Include the option to receive more information in your customer survey forms.

Make sign up sheets available in store for customers to fill out that will enable you to send them product information.

When you create your email list you are gaining permission to use an address, as opposed to buying a list. Because people have opted to receive a message from you, it is likely they will read the message. It’s also important to establish how you will be using their email address. Some people may be open to receiving information on product sales but it doesn’t mean they’re open to accepting other forms of communication.

For effective email advertising:

Use a short and well defined subject line. For example if I were to send out a newsletter on behalf of my business I would most likely use the name of the newsletter, such as The Cascadian Times, so my clients would know exactly what they are receiving. If it’s a mass mailing use a valid subject line indicating it is an advertisement.

Keep the text short and easy to read.

Use the email to entice readers to visit your website and use the website to sell the product.

Use a signature tag with the name of an individual and/or company name along with contact information.

To remain legally safe, you should ensure that your email message contains a valid “from” address. You can use a from address that is not your own company, provided it is used with permission, and so long as it’s a valid domain name. The other legal requirement is to provide an opt-out or unsubscribe option that recipients can use to prevent future mailings.