Recently, I have seen an increase in the number of imported lists stating they are comprised of LinkedIn connections. While LinkedIn can be an extremely helpful tool in growing your email list, there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to utilize its capabilities. Before you use a tool, program, or website to gain interested contacts for your email list, it’s important to keep in mind that explicit permission is key. By explicit permission, I mean that each person you intend on emailing has agreed to, and is expecting to receive this communication. With that in mind, think about all of the people you are following on Twitter, friends with on Facebook, and connected to on LinkedIn. Did you specifically agree to be added to each and every one of their email lists simply by becoming a connection? Do you expect to start receiving their weekly newsletters? Most likely not, and it wouldn’t be right to assume this of your connections either. “But, I know my LinkedIn connections are connected to me for a reason- they want to hear from me." You’re right! They are connected to you for a reason. Maybe you’ve met at an event, they’ve done business with you in the past or they would like to hear from your business on a one-to-one basis. In addition to these contacts however, there may also be people you’re connected with who’ve never interacted with you in the past. Quite honestly, it’s possible they may have added you to grow their network to appear more credible or to have their posts seen by a larger audience. Resist the urge to export this list and mass email them from your email service provider. This is not only an open invitation for increased spam complaints, but it can negatively affect your business’ reputation as well. Set expectations and gain permission first.
How can I add LinkedIn connections to my email marketing list?
LinkedIn offers multiple communication channels to do this:
- Share an update with all of your connections by posting an update on the Home Page.
- Compose a message to a small group of connections. Click here for LinkedIn’s’ help center article outlining these directions.
- If you manage a group, you can send an announcement to all members. Click here for directions.
- If you do not manage a group, but are a member of a group you’d like to connect with, you can also post a discussion introducing your business and giving them a way to opt in.
The easiest way, in my opinion, is to provide a link that redirects to your landing page where an opt-in web form is located. If you use an InfusionSoft hosted web form, contacts will automatically get pushed into your application upon submitting their information. This not only makes it easier for you, as this will eliminate the import process, but it is more delightful for your contacts as well. What you write exactly is completely up to you and your business, but remember to ask yourself:
- Did they provide me with 100% explicit permission to be added to my company’s email list?
- Are they expecting to receive what we are planning to send them?
If the answer is no, or if you are hesitating to say yes, I highly recommend that you implement another method to gain permission from the contacts on your list. However, if you can confidently say “Yes!” to the questions above, then you are on your way to building a clean and healthy list.
About Katrina I joined the Email Ops Team in July 2013 as an Email Marketing Import Analyst. I received my bachelor's degree in Business Communications from the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU and will be graduating with a master's in Business Administration from University of Phoenix this summer 2014. Prior to Infusionsoft, I worked at a digital marketing firm which sparked my interest in email marketing and ultimately led me to work for the best ESP for small businesses! When I'm not in front of a computer, I enjoy spending quality time with family and friends, a nice glass of wine and gourmet food (e.g., McDonald's french fries).
Photo Credit: JuliusKielaitis / Shutterstock.com