Heads up, this is a bit of a rant. (If you prefer, listen to it here.)
I need to get something off my chest.
I know I've been harping on email newsletters a lot lately and I will continue to do so because they are (this is) still the most effective marketing tool – my most effective marketing tool
And I’m thrilled to see so many people following the advice and putting so much excellent thought and effort into getting their newsletters up and running – and it’s already paying off for many of them.
But something’s bugging me. And it’s about how to ask permission to put someone on your email list. Because yes, of course, you need their permission or at least to let them know you’re doing it. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this.
Please please please stop saying, "Can I put you on my email list?"
No one wants to be on any more lists!
What they will want is for you to keep in touch so they don't forget about you.
So here's what I recommend you say instead:
"May I keep in touch with my email newsletter?”
"May I keep in touch with a regular email message?"
"May I keep in touch via email?"
Any of these would work so much better than “May I add you to my list?”
In the same way that, as Ann Handley says, "email newsletters" are less about the news and more about the letter, sending your email newsletter to someone is less about adding them to your list and more about staying in touch. That’s the point to focus on, people!
Glad I got this off my chest!
Update: Here's a cool list of 25 ways to sign people up for your newsletter by Dan Oshinsky via Ann Handley (of course!).