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How to Build Your Email List: 25 Tips From the Pros
Posted on May 2nd 2014
If you own an eCommerce store then you know how important email lists are. If you don’t know, then let me educate you. According to Custora email marketing accounted for 16% of all eCommerce orders in 2013, making it the second most popular channel after organic searches.
Logically, this statistic makes a lot of sense. People sign up to receive your email because they want to get updates from your company. You send out updates about new products, sales, or special deals, and at least some of these fans will buy your products.
Now that we’re on the same page, let’s move on to what’s most important – how do you build up your mailing list? After all, if you can’t build up your list, then you won’t be able to tap into that potential for sales. There are a lot of great ways of accomplishing this, and in order to provide you with the best methods possible, we went to the pros for their advice. This post will cover 25 tips from different experts in the online marketing world.
My best tip for creating an email list of value is to cross pollinate with social. Use your social presence and blog, to drive email sign-ups, and vice versa. Then be sure to provide value from both. If you simply sell, people will turn you off and stop listening. If you create valuable content, and not just about what you are selling, your open rate, and click-throughs, and ultimately your sales, will thrive.
Melonie, known as Canada’s #1 LinkedIn expert, is the CEO and founder of Top Dog Social Media.
Have an irresistible offer for people to get on your website by providing their name and email. It could be a free report, coupon or something else that would be of value to them. You can also have a landing page right within your Facebook page to enhance sign ups to your email list. Your goal should always be to use social media to build your email list as selling through email is much more effective.
Ted is the founder and co-CEO of SwitchandShift.com where he is the host of Switch and Shift TV. He is a Forbes top 50 influencer.
If you're asking for someone's email address (and permission to use it), you've got to give them something of value to them - a free ebook, access to a webinar; something. Then, you've got to make sure that each time you activate that list, you are again providing them with value - not merely an opportunity to buy your (certainly awesome) product, but something along the lines of knowledge or... something... that they will find valuable.
I've found the most effective way to build up an email list is to stay away from "Join Our Mailing List." Rather, uncover something your ideal customer would find valuable. Maybe it's a white paper, or a checklist, or discounts to your online store. To access this information or special discounts, they need to register for your mailing list. We increased our signup rate from 2-3 signups a month to several hundred with this technique.
Paul is the principal at Chaney Marketing Group and author of four books on social media.
In his book, Unleashing the Ideavirus, author Seth Godin said that there are two types of people who will share (or "sneeze") you content: "promiscuous" and "powerful." Promiscuous sneezers, according to Godin, are those who can be motivated by money or rewards. If we apply this theory to email marketing, one of the best ways to build a list is through the use of incentives. You give something (a reward of some type) to get something (permission to email the person). Incentives can include things like exclusive offers, discounts, loyalty club membership, contests, sweepstakes, rebates, product samples, and so forth. While a brand may prefer not to have to "purchase" permission, based on the understanding that most consumers have a WIIFM (What's In It For Me?) attitude, in order to accelerate list growth, use of incentives is often warranted.
Nate is the founder and president of NR Media Group, a blogger, and a teacher at Ohio University.
Make sure to think through how you can use your social media presence to add email subscribers. Most email service providers now have plug and play apps that make it easy to capture email addresses right from Facebook application tabs. Produce some short but helpful video content, add a strong call to action to subscribe and integrate your form. Next, invest in campaigns of highly-targeted Facebook ads that drive users directly back to your tab.
Neal, a Forbes top 50 influencer, is the founder of Maximize Your Social and the author of a book by the same name. He is also the founder of the social media for business blog Maximize Social Business.
Provide something of value in exchange for an email address opt-in. It really is that easy - but the "something of value" will depend on the company, product, and target audience.
Besides incorporating the typical email signup forms on the site, you may want to consider adding a signup link in the author byline of each blog post that your company does. A simple “Sign up to receive more posts by this author via email” that links to a pop up opt-in box works well.
Marketing that looks like marketing is 3rd rate marketing. Stop pushing yourself on others and let them come to you. You can't be chased by someone you are busy chasing.
Lori is the Lead Social Media Coach and Sr. Trainer for Integrated Alliances, Forbes Top 50 Influencer, Keynote Speaker, Author, Consultant.
Communication is essential for success. If your customers, friends and fans don't know what's happening in your world, they won't likely engage with you. Combining a list of your customers, friends and fans with a strong communications plan will help ensure your success. The plan should not just include specials and opportunities to buy, but also share the story of your company, share the story of some of your customers, friends and fans! Give them content they'll be interested in and they'll be interested. Using your communications to build relationships will strengthen your list as it grows. Value and authentic caring about your community will cause them to want to offer you value and authentic caring as well.
Kristi is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and ghost writer who specializes in online marketing. She is also a Forbes top 50 influencer.
The best way to build your email list is by offering something of value that your target customer will love. It could be a guide to summer fashion in 2014, a free consultation, a great discount code, or something similar. Just make sure it's something that really fits your target customer - you want to get people who would buy from your business on your list as opposed to paying for subscribers who won't be interested in anything after the initial freebie / offer.
My best tip for merchants to build up their email list is cover all the bases. Offer discounts to customers in exchange for joining their mailing list. Collect email addresses at checkout with an opt-in button. If the store has a physical location also, ask for email addresses at check out. If they have a Facebook page, add an app button to sign up for the store newsletter. People usually only sign up if there is some clear benefit, so use a clear CTA and state the benefit.
Mike is the Co-founder of Tabsite, a promotion and contest platform for Facebook.
Promotions offering a simple incentive are a low-cost but effective way to grow your email list. We have seen many people have success using their Facebook page as a way to drive signups. By creating a post with an engaging photo that links to a landing tab or a landing page where users can enter their name and email address for a chance to win or to download an immediate discount coupon, we have seen high conversion rates. The key is offering something of value and something connected to your product or service.
Kim, a Forbes top 50 influencer, is the CEO of Boom Social, a digital marketing company, and she has a great blog.
My #1 tip that I use for building my list is to share my value based free offers on my social channels. I direct the traffic to a landing page on either Facebook or my website. The conversions have been incredibly high.
My favorite way to build an email list is guest blogging. Nothing beats top-quality content published on well-trafficked sites. I'm also experimenting with popups and like the results so far.
Kathi is an automotive social media marketing expert, blogger, consultant, author, speaker and founder of Kruse Control Inc.
Drive people to your site and offer them something useful (free) in exchange for their email. Provide a nifty popup that's tolerable to visitors and builds your list well.
John Lee Dumas
John is the founder of Entrepreneurs on Fire, a daily podcast that features interviews with some of today’s most successful and inspiring entrepreneurs.
A valuable and RELEVANT opt-in giveaway is my best method for building up an email list. With EntrepreneurOnFire, my guests recommend resources on each show. I have compiled the most commonly recommended into a top 12 list, and my listeners and website visitors LOVE this PDF and sign up in droves!
Jason, the founder of Social Media Explorer, now works as the head of digital strategy at Café Press. He has co-authored two books (and one of them is about email marketing) and is a Forbes top 50 influencer.
My favorite way to build an email list is to develop some exclusive, "Holy Smokes!" content that you only share via the email list. By giving people something there you can't get anywhere else, the subscribers sell your list subscriptions for you. Make the content so good, people will dive in to sign up and you've got it made!
The best way to build a list is to offer something of value for free. Usually, this comes in the form of a free download or a free trial of a product or service. About the only thing I'd recommend against is buying an email list. There may be legitimate email list providers out there somewhere, but I've never come across them.
Emeric is the co-founder of Agorapulse, an all in one platform for managing your Facebook page.
Here is my best tip to build an email list: don't collect random emails, collect emails from people who would buy from you! Too many people forget that emails are only worth something if they are from prospects or customers. Focus on your strategy (prizes, communication channels) to make sure that's the kind of emails you'll get.
Donna, founder of Socially Sorted, is a social media strategist and visual marketing expert.
Provide something of irresistible value to your target audience - a lead magnet that encourages them to opt in to your email list and receive great content from you. Your lead magnet should be highly relevant and useful to your ideal client/customer. The best types of lead magnets are:
- Easily digestible, and give instantly useful information
- Cheat-sheets, valuable tips, or top 5 or top 10 tool lists prove over and over to be the most successful and easiest to produce. Everyone loves a short-cut!
- 3 part video series can also be valuable but should include content that is relevant and useful
Follow up on your lead magnet
- Provide regular, quality, helpful content in subsequent emails to subscribers. Above all else, the reason why someone will stay on your list is because of the value you give to them, not what you are trying to sell to them.
- Include your products and services in your email content, but focus on helping your subscribers - sales will come when you provide massive value.
Daniel is the growth and social media manager at News Room. He is also the co-founder of Steamfeed.com, a resource for business owners to learn how to start marketing.
Popups work to capture emails. But if you're going to use them, don't be intrusive (like popping up half-way through an article). Use a tool to capture leads with a customized pop-up right as your site visitors are about to exit your website. This has worked wonders for us at SteamFeed.
Brandon is the CEO and founder of 90DayEntrepreneur.com, a consulting company that assists businesses with marketing and social media.
Your email list is one of your most important digital assets. Here’s how we build our email list. We set up specific landing pages, then we market each specific landing page to each specific demographic. We don't just want email addresses from people, we want pre-qualified people in our target audience joining our email lists. Once we have the email, if the person isn't active and engaging in what we're sending out, we remove them from our list.
There is one piece of advice that I think is important to convey. Everyone talks about tips to help you build a bigger list, but often they are taken out of context. Someone may find that a particular tactic works in the travel sector for a particular customer/audience persona, but what works for one market sector, may not work for another. That’s not to say that you should ignore ‘best practice’ advice, but you should make sure to use it as a starting point. What's most important is to then follow it up with testing and monitoring for improvements so that you can see what works best for you.
Yariv is the co-founder and CEO of StoreYa.
The best way to get a potential customer to sign up for your mailing list is by offering them something in return. If you want to make sure that you get only quality leads, then you have to make sure to offer something brand related -- something that only someone who would buy from you again would want in the first place. A great way of doing this is by using our Coupon Poptool. This tool pops up coupons to your site visitors which are redeemable in exchange for joining your mailing list.
To Sum Up
There are a lot of different ways to build up your mailing list, and these tips should give you a solid basis. You should always strive to continue growing your mailing list, and to find new methods for doing so.
We have found that for online merchants the best method is to offer some sort of immediate reward like a discount, free shipping, or a coupon. This way you will attract more people who are interested in your products.
Do you have a unique method for growing your list that wasn’t covered in this post? We’d love to hear your questions and insights in the comments below!