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Email marketing is one of the best ways to connect with clients and prospects. But to get results from your efforts, you need to make email list building a priority.

My series, The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Email Marketing, helps financial advisors understand how email marketing works so they can properly use strategies to connect with prospects and gain more clients.

Now it is time to dig deep into the various aspects of email marketing and see how to make it all work.

It all starts with an email list. This is a list of emails that you’ve gathered from people who have agreed to receive marketing communications from your company. Email list building refers to the actions you take to get more people to subscribe to your emails. The better you are at attracting people to subscribe to your email list, the more effective your email marketing will be.

Building your email list

If you are wondering if you should buy an email list, the answer is “no.” In the past, buying email lists was a common practice and could be effective, but those days are long gone. Buying an email list is a waste of money and time. The leads are often outdated, and because people are more and more protective of their inbox, they are likely to mark your messages as spam.

There are a number of best practices you should follow when building an email list. Most importantly, be respectful of people’s wishes and follow regulation guidelines, but don’t be shy about pursuing subscribers.

Start with who you know

Because you have an existing business relationship with your clients, they expect you to be in regular communication with them. Start by adding your clients to your email list. This will help to keep you top – of-mind with them and, as long as you’re providing valuable information, it will also give them something they can easily forward to their friends.

While you are adding clients to your list, you might be tempted to add people in your network to your email list as well. Unless they have given you their permission, stop and resist the temptation. Not only can it be a turnoff because people don’t like receiving email they didn’t sign up for, but adding subscribers without their permission can result in getting your email account shut down and lead to hefty penalties.