How to Build an Email List

How to Build an Email List

It’s no secret. Today without a growing email list your business is handicapped. Doors will open for you faster when you have the power of a loyal subscriber base behind you.

  • You can work joint ventures with others who are in a similar arena, but are not direct competitors.
  • You can send special offers to stir up business when things are slower than normal.
  • You can offer close out prices to clear out old stock.
  • You can introduce and take pre-orders for new products

And those are just the tip of the iceberg.

So now that you are aware of the benefits of owning a good email list, you probably want to know how to increase the value of your list. There are so many possible ways to build your list, I will break this topic up into 3 articles. This is the first of 3.

List Building 101 – Give them something worth opening your email for

There are a number of ways to build an opt-in e-mail list.  Some will cost more than others, some take more time and effort, and some generate a higher quantity or quality of addresses. Generally you can sometimes get two of three, cheaper, faster, or better, but it’s difficult to get all three.

One thing that is clear is that building your list will probably take work and patience.  This is a case where you definitely need to work smarter, not harder.  Your own efforts are certainly needed, but you may also want to enlist the help of others.

There are many quick fix schemes on the internet that advertise list building in 48 hours, but  even if the list was high-quality which is unlikely, you wouldn’t have a relationship built with those people on it. So they would be unlikely to purchase much from you, if they would even open your email in the first place. Many of the offers are nothing more than a scam, so be careful. Don’t rely on them to build your business.

Your chosen method of list building may be determined by the type of business you have.

Building your list using a free newsletter

The simplest and most popular way to build your own e-mail list is to offer a free e-mail newsletter.  Your customers need to give you their e-mail address to be able to receive your newsletter.

Just the offer of a free newsletter on its own is unlikely to entice customers to sign up.  You will need to give them some high quality content to persuade them that your newsletter will benefit them.  It may help to publish an archive containing some of your previous newsletters, or show an example newsletter so they have an idea what they will be getting.

You may also want to give away a free downloadable product when your customers sign up for your newsletter.  Good quality e-books and free reports make great incentives to sign up, although you may find another more original freebie that is particularly relevant to your business.

Alternatives to a newsletter

A recent survey conducted by MarketingSherpa suggests that people are willing to enter their contact details to receive a much wider range of products that perhaps we previously thought.   Some of the products you might ask customers to register for include:

  • Free reports
  • White papers
  • Demos
  • Product brochures
  • Business related literature
  • Case studies
  • Analyst reports
  • Video interviews & Expert Tips

Think carefully about the type of customer you want to attract to your list.  What would they benefit most from?  Is a traditional newsletter your best option, or would one of the above products be more suitable?

You might think academic products wouldn’t suit your customer base, but often something written by an expert can be very effective.  Imagine you have a parenting website for example.  Many parents would be interested in a scientific study on child development, and the academic nature of the work might make them more confident in its content.

Be sure to read all the articles in this series. Not all the ideas could fit in this one post. More are coming.
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You might also be interested in 9 Expert Email List Building Tips

About Denise Sonnenberg

Denise Sonnenberg is the Social Media Dot Connector, coaching you to Connect with Your Target Audience by developing your Social Media Marketing Strategy.

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