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What is a mailing list?

A mailing list is a great way to reach customers or members to create a (long-term) relationship. But how do you make a mailing list? And what kind of mailing lists can you make? Read on, because you will find out in this article.

What is a mailing list?

A mailing list is a collection of email addresses to which you send information and updates. Such a list consists of a specific group, for example, customers who purchase a particular subscription from you—or club members from a specific year. You can communicate effectively and purposefully by creating one or more mailing lists.

How does a mailing list work?

A mailing list works as follows. Your website has a registration form where interested visitors can sign up. Once signed up, one or more lists of email addresses are created. It could, for example, be a list of people interested in updates on women’s clothing and a list of children’s clothing. You can email one group and not send it to the other and vice versa, making it possible to send targeted emails.

6 types of mailing lists

You can create different mailing lists depending on your goal and who you want to reach. Below are 6 examples:

  1. Newsletter
    A newsletter lets you inform people or give updates about a product, service or company.
  2. Marketing mail
    In a marketing email, you can include offers, coupon codes, and discounts.
  3. Service message
    In a service message, you inform people about a product or service, for example, when maintenance is needed.
  4. Member letter
    In a membership letter, you can inform about activities, events and the association itself.
  5. Geographical email
    A geographical mail is intended for people from a specific location, for example, if you are an international company and want to mail Dutch customers.
  6. Demographic email
    A demographic email targets people with specific characteristics, such as age and occupation.

What do you use to create a mailing list?

You create a mailing list with software, making it easy to track who subscribes and unsubscribes and create groups.

Mailing list software

There are several tools available that allow you to create mailing lists easily. For example, with Mailchimp, HubSpot or ConvertKit. Do you use WordPress? Link a plugin to your website to quickly set up a sign-up form—for example, Popup Maker, OptinMonster or Ninja Kick.

A mailing list and the GDPR

When you create a mailing list, you process personal data. However, you are not allowed to use that personal data just like that. You need permission to do so since the introduction of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Among other things, you must:

  • Clearly state what you will use the data for;
  • Enabling someone to opt out easily;
  • Store and process personal data securely;
  • Be able to prove that someone has given consent.

You can find all information about sending emails and the GDPR on the GDPR website. Note: also check whether your mailing list software is GDPR compliant.

Building a mailing list

But how do you build a mailing list? You can do this in several ways. Below are 4 options.

1. Give something away

Almost every business that is online collects email addresses. So how can you stand out from the rest? By giving something away! With this, you reward people for signing up. For example, you can discount their first order or send them a free e-book with tips.

2. Give exclusive access

You can also collect email addresses by giving people access to something exclusive. It could, for example, be access to specific content, a webinar or luxury products.

3. Use pop-ups

Pop-ups are also an excellent way to build your mailing list. A pop-up is a window that appears automatically (on the part of) a page. In such a pop-up, you can place a giveaway to make it attractive for visitors to sign up.

Note: Do not overdo it with many pop-ups on 1 page or huge pop-ups. This creates frustration among visitors, making them less likely to sign up.

4. Use social media

Finally, you can build a mailing list on your social media channels. For example, create a (paid) post that includes a prize draw when followers sign up for your newsletter. Just make sure it is clear to people what they are leaving their email addresses for.

Buying an email list?

Do you need to manage to collect email addresses? Or have you just started your business? Then there is the option of buying one or more mailing lists. According to the GDPR, you can use contact data from a third party when this party has informed the receivers.

Not a good idea

Often, buying a mailing list alone is not a good idea. This is because it is no guarantee of success, as chances are that people are not interested in what you send. In addition, a bought mailing list may contain outdated information, so your emails may arrive later. It would help if you also were sure that the third party had asked permission from the receiver. If this is not the case, you can not email them.

How to create a mailing list?

You create a mailing list in a few steps. Which ones they are, you will read below.

1. Define the target audience

First, determine your target audience. In doing so, ask yourself questions like: 

  • Who do you want to reach? 
  • What are they interested in? 
  • What is the goal? 
  • How do you achieve this goal?

By explicitly writing down the target audience, it is easier to determine the content of the email (s) and create specific mailing lists.

2. Purchase mailing list software

As a second step, purchase your mailing list software. Choose a tool that suits your goals and budget. Examples include Mailchimp, HubSpot or ConvertKit.

3. Collect email addresses

Of course, you also need to collect email addresses. For example, place a sign-up form on your website, show a pop-up or create a separate sign-up page. Make sure the threshold is as low as possible, for instance, by only asking for a name and email address. The disadvantage of this, however, is that you need to create specific mailing lists.

4. Create the content of the email(s)

Next, determine the content of the email(s). Ensure the content is relevant to your target audience or mailing list. So sending an email about children’s clothes to someone interested in menswear will not work.

Reading tip: In our article on email marketing, you will find tips on how to write a marketing email.

5. Send the email(s)

It’s time to send the email(s). For example, you can send a weekly or monthly email. But don’t overdo it. After all, no one is waiting for an inbox with dozens of emails from the same company.

6. Analyse

Finally, you want to know how the email is performed. Did people open the email and take action? Or did nothing happen with it? By evaluating emails regularly, you can make adjustments if necessary.

To mail your mailing list, you must create your email address. Need one? Then purchase email hosting from one.com today so you can mail it under your domain name.

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