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RISMEDIA, August 12, 2010—While the philosophers debate whether a tree falling in a forest makes a sound when no one is around to hear it, real estate agents and brokers know that if no one’s reading your e-mails, they’re not going to make any noise for your sales.

The start of a great list is one that is filled with clients and prospects who have said “yes” to receiving information from you. But your list needs to grow if you want your business to grow. Follow these six tips and you’ll soon find you have an e-mail list that helps win business—and is the envy of your competition.

1. Ask for e-mail addresses at the open house. If visitors are walking through your open houses, there’s a high likelihood they’re looking to buy. Tell them they will be notified about new listings, price reductions and local information, such as school news or schedules for farmer’s markets and baseball leagues.

2. Hold a contest. You can offer a prize (or series of prizes) to anyone who signs up for your mailing list, such as a free home valuation or tips on adding curb appeal.

3. Use social media to encourage sign-ups. Ask your Twitter followers and Facebook fans to sign up for your e-mail alerts. Explain that the e-mails will include information not available anywhere else.

4. Make your ad work double time. Make your local advertisement or direct mail piece go further by promoting your e-newsletter in the copy. Let your readers know they can get more information on your website.

5. Capture friends of friends. Encourage the people who are already on your list to pass your e-mails along to their friends. You can ask people to do it out of the goodness of their hearts, or offer a reward if the friend signs up and mentions them.

6. Get out and mingle. If there are events in town, such as “Your Town Days,” a chili cook-off or a classic cars weekend, sign up to exhibit and be a part of them.

Get your list-building mechanism going and you’ll soon find you have lots of people to whom you can send your incredibly creative e-mails. You still may not know whether that tree in the forest makes a noise, but at least you’ll have plenty of clients and prospects listening.

Wendy Lowe is the regional development director for Campaigner. For more information, visit