Of the many ways of communicating with customers and potential customers, email takes some beating. The question though is one of how to build an email list, particularly in Canada where we have to contend with CASL (Canada’s Anti Spam Legislation).

Your shop’s email list can only consist of people who have explicitly agreed in writing to receive commercial or promotional information from you. You must review CASL before embarking on building an email list.

That said, email remains a way for your business to proactively appear before customers and potential customers rather than passively sit around hoping that they’ll contact you. The chances are that they won’t take the initiative for any number of reasons. So it’s up to you. Fortunately there are a few things you can do to build your list.

The first thing to do is set up an EMS (Email Management System) that allows you to not only conveniently manage your lists but to creatively compose them and then also easily transmit them in bulk. MailChimp, Constant Contact CovertKit, and ActiveCampaign are popular.

To build your list it is helpful to have a POS system that integrates with your EMS. There are also other methods including sign-up forms and opt-in forms on your web site. new customers should be asked if they agree to be on your email list. Everyone in the organization should be aware of the importance of an email list and should be instructed to recruit signups at every opportunity.

Writers on the topic encourage giving people a reason to sign up. They suggest incentives and reaching out through social media. Then, having signed them up, consistently send them useful information. There’s no point to building a list and then not using it.