Gathering email addresses of reliable and engaged email subscribers takes time, so think of the process as a grassroots campaign—you’ll have to start small and build momentum.
Getting an email list isn’t as easy as purchasing a postal mailing list from a mail house—and it shouldn’t be. While companies are out there that will sell or rent you a list of email addresses, this won’t allow you to reach the audience you want. Your email list should to be stocked with people from your community who want to read your information and won’t mark your email as spam.
Bombarding people with unsolicited spam emails violates the commercial email law, the CAN-SPAM Act, and each offense can be punished by a fine of up to $16,000. Email service providers, such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, and VerticalResponse, adhere to spam laws, and you’ll have to provide the source of your list to them.
5 Ways to Collect Email Addresses
Ready to get started building your email subscriber list? Try some of these methods to collect the information you need.
1. Add a pop-over to your website.
When readers are already on your site looking for information, a lightbox asking them to subscribe to your emails can be very effective. You can trigger the pop-over to launch when a user is on a page for a certain amount of time or exhibits other specific behaviors. HubSpot's free tool, LeadIn, is a great place to get started.
2. Collect email addresses at the front desk.
While collecting email addresses on a clipboard placed near the check-in or checkout area at your office might seem basic, it’s also extremely effective. As your visitors are waiting to sign in or to schedule an appointment, they can add their email to the list. This won’t provide you with the details you need in order to segment your email list, but it’s a start.
3. Offer email signups at events.
If you’re hosting a health fair, lunch-and-learn, or a screening, offer a small gift—such as a pen or a notepad featuring your logo—to people who opt in to receive emails from you.
4. Provide opt-in information on patient registration forms.
Add a line to your patient registration forms that allow patients to provide email addresses and opt-in to receiving messages from you.
5. Use Facebook.
A Facebook status on your hospital’s page—or even a Facebook ad—can encourage already engaged audience members to become more engaged. Put a link to the registration page in the status or the ad. Facebook ads give you the ability to hyper-target your subscriber personas for very little cost.
Confirmed Opt-in Process
Simply getting someone to sign up for your emails isn’t really enough. In order to make sure you have an engaged audience that wants to receive your emails, you need to offer a confirmed opt-in process, also known as the double opt-in. After your subscribers have provided an email address, send an initial email that tells them what they have signed up for—whether it’s an e-newsletter, emails about events, or communication about the hospital. By clicking on a button in the email, they can confirm they want to be a part of the fun.
Keep the Show Going
Make sure you continue to engage your audience with actual emails, offering them access to tools or creative content. Start the conversation by getting their email address. Propel the conversation forward by introducing new topics. Also, create space for them to interact with your platform by either sharing stories or comments.
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