If you consider the fact that the value of each email address in your customer list is worth $1 per month, you will quickly realize that your business must treat its list very carefully to exploit its full potential. The common mistake is to focus on building a list and forget about maintaining it. It’s always easier to keep a customer than to gain one. Here are a few best practices as you market to your email list.

1. Treat them with respect
Remember that your list is human. It consists of moms, dads, policemen, lawyers, plumbers, office workers, typists, students and business people to name just a few. As you keep that in mind, always address them as if you were standing at their front door or seated in their office. Proper social manners and plain decency will reap your business loyalty and mutual respect from them.

2. Communicate on a Regular basis
Just because you gave your list a free gift and made killer sales after that doesn’t mean you should just dump them and only resurface when you have another product to sell. People don’t like to feel used and cheated. If your list only feels that they are a money-making machine for your business, they will drop you like a hot potato and unsubscribe faster than you can sign more up. Communicate regularly like once or twice a month but definitely not daily and when you do, just talk to them. Don’t use each and every email to try and sell something. Instead focus on becoming friends with them.

3. Let your list talk too
It’s really irritating and boring to be in a conversation with someone who does all the talking and doesn’t let you get in a word edgewise! Let your list also get a chance to talk back to you. Ask them questions, open discussion on a topic, have a contest- anything that will give them a sense of ownership and importance in the relationship.

Giving your list a voice provides feedback information that benefits your business because they will tell you exactly what they are thinking and what they want- that’s free market research information right there.

4. Position your business as an expert
The advantage you have as a local business owner is that more often than not, you are also a specialist in your business field and being in the online world, people respect and listen more to experts because of the large amount of junk information available in cyberspace. Leverage your specialist knowledge by becoming the person people go to for advice and help because you know what you’re talking about. Selling will become much easier for you because people will trust whatever you honestly recommend to them.