They say, “the money is in the list.” When I first started my website, I didn’t have a way of collecting email addresses. Now, I collect emails every day and I email them every week with news, updates and specials.

I’m sure you already have a mailing list — an old fashioned snail mail list — but I’m talking about email addresses. They are much easier to obtain and much cheaper to send to, which will allow you to send advertisements AND useful information to your customers.

Setting up an email marketing campaign is simple. You can start collecting email addresses at the store level by putting out a sheet of paper and a pen and asking your customers to sign up for your mailing list. All you need is a name and email (or just an email). Intice them to sign up by offering a one-day-only coupon, or send them a coupon once they sign up.

I use online email software from I’ve worked with other software in the past, but this one seems to be the best.

You can start a mailing list for under $20 a month. This software will track and store the emails you collect, and will also send bulk email blasts to all your contacts when you’re ready. They have easy to use templates and you can even set it up to send emails automatically. If you’re interested, I suggest checking them out.

The software is just one piece. You have to put a marketing strategy behind it in order for it to be successful.

Here is a brief overview of how I would set this up:

1. Start an Aweber account

2. Create an incentive for customers to sign up. I suggest a really great offer or coupon that will automatically email to them when they sign up. Make it an offer they can’t refuse.

3. Install a sign up form on your website. They make it very easy to do.

4. Create an email signup sheet to put in your store(s) and to take out on the road.

5. Put together an email marketing plan. Send a useful email to your customers every week on the same day at the same time so customers come to expect it. For instance, Old Navy emails me a new offer every Monday at 9:00 am.

6. Track all your marketing efforts. Make sure you come up with a way to know that your email marketing campaign is working. Add tracking codes to your coupons. Tally it up on paper if you have to. What gets measured gets managed.

If you have any additional questions about setting up an email marketing campaign, feel free to contact me.

If you have additional wisdom to add to this blog post, I encourage you to comment. Happy Swimming!

Matt Giovanisci is the creator of Swim University, an online guide to pool and spa care, and has over 15 years of experience in the industry. He is also an award winning web designer and has been featured on Martha Stewart Radio as a pool & spa expert. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.