Now that you have a seed in your hands that contains your company’s branding and voice, it needs a home to nestle in to grow. So into the dirt it goes! Not just any ol’ dirt. Your precious seedling requires the proper soil that provides nutrients. There are at least five types of soil in gardening. Each mixture contains varying levels of clay, slit, and sand. Depending on the ratio of each material, each soil type acts as the ideal host for different seeds. Sumac and trumpet vines thrive in sandy, gritty soil, whereas birch and oak trees absorb nutrients better in clay soil. Yes, this gardening advice column has a connection to email marketing, hear me out!

Where you choose to plant your “seed,” will greatly affect your company’s success. The soil acts as the hundreds or thousands of old and new customers you are marketing to, so the demographic you choose to focus on must be compatible with your company’s image.

For example, if you own a trendy shoe company, would you email a knee high boots blowout sale newsletter to a bunch of old men in their 50s and 60s? Likewise, what is the point of sending a promotional sale on walkers and hearing aids to a bunch of teens? All those emails are for sure going straight into Trash, and there will be a huge amount of time and effort wasted on your part. It sounds pretty obvious, but one mistake a lot of companies make is inviting anyone and everyone onto their contact list, hoping that it will get the word out faster. A much more efficient way is to narrow your contact list down to people that are actually going to care about your products.

The easiest way to invite the correct demographic to check out your company? Simply add a sign-up box into your website. You already know that teens and women are looking at what shoes your company has to offer, so why wouldn’t they be interested in weekly newsletters for upcoming sales? (If a 60-year-old man is interested in knee high boots … then that’s cool too).

The one thing you must remember is that you cannot force customers to join or spam them to death. It is annoying and will be the quickest way to soil (haha) your company’s reputation. The professional way to recruit customers is to give them the option to sign up. With a sign-up box, customers will see your company as respectable and will join by their own choice. Your contact list will contain quality customers that will continue to grow organically.

At the same time, you also must give them the option to be removed from the email list if they wish to. You can’t trap them there forever! It is unfortunate if they no longer need your service, but you must provide an easy to find button or link to opt-out. Who knows, maybe the good last impression will influence them to sign in again in the future, or their absence will leave room for more customers to join!