After talking to a few colleagues on Facebook and Twitter about potential uses of direct mail, I know that some of you are considering implementing it in your marketing efforts. But the ever recurrent question is as follows: where should we take good leads from? And by good leads I mean prospects, potential customers, who are interested in what you’re sharing, but also at some point may need your services.
And it’s not an easy task to establish a healthy base of subscribers interested in translation for direct mailing. Don’t ever, ever add people to your mailing list without their explicit consent – it’s illegal. So, in other words, if you’re a Polish English legal translator like I am and you find a list of law firms based in London, you can’t just fetch all the email addresses and add them to your subscription base. It would get you into big trouble. How can you build your subscription base then?
1) Add existing customers
The first step to building your mailing list is to add your existing customers. Of course, ask them first if they’re interested in receiving regular updates on the topic you write about. Apart from keeping in touch with your clients on a regular basis, you’ll be providing them with added value.
2) LinkedIn contacts
By now you’ve probably developed a strong network on LinkedIn. You may even be in a similar situation to me: every now and then you connect with somebody who could be a prospect, but you don’t want to jump at them and offer your services the first thing. Instead, it’s a good idea to invite them to join your mailing list.
3) Networking contacts
When you go to a networking event or a conference and you’re exchanging business cards with a potential customer, let them know that you’re running a monthly newsletter on a topic that may be of interest to them. If they indeed show interest, drop them a line after the event and invite them to subscribe. If you have access to the attendee list, you may try following up with all attendees and offering subscribing to your list but only if you know they’d be interested (e.g. based on the theme of the event).
4) Careful targeting
Going back to my Polish English legal translation example, if you’re writing content that you know would be of interest to lawyers in London, you can approach potential companies indeed. Drafting an email inviting them to join your mailing list and pointing out how they’re going to benefit from it will surely get you a few sign-ups.
5) Guest blogging
In terms of acquiring leads online, guest blogging is a good idea to build your mailing list. Using the same example, a Polish English translator can write a guest post for a legal blog on the importance of professional translation with a mention of her excellent newsletter.
6) Email sign-up forms
Careful placing of email sign-up forms on your own website is crucial. Make it easy for your visitors to sign up. Some of the best places for sign-up forms include the header, the footer and side bar. Encourage potential leads to subscribe by offering free content, for example a guide to doing business in Poland.
7) Use QR codes
QR codes are a very handy way of encouraging sign-up offline. You can give out minicards with a QR code printed and just a short call to action explaining why your lead should subscribe.