You know you need to get the word out about your business in order to grow and to stay top of mind with customers. At VerticalResponse, we often get the question, “How do I build or get an email marketing list?” We’re also often asked if it’s okay to use a purchased, rented or scraped email list. If you’re just starting out, or trying to grow your list quickly, building an email marketing list organically may seem like a waste of time when you can just go out and buy one, right? Sorry to burst your bubble, but not so much.
There are no shortcuts to growing a loyal base of subscribers, fans and followers. In reality, that purchased list can tarnish your business and get you banned by your ESP (Email Service Provider), rather than get you the results you want. So, how do you grow your list with engaged subscribers who want to hear from your biz? We’ve got 5 wicked awesome ways (with real-life examples), so read on.
1. Offer Something of Value
In exchange for giving you their email address, subscribers expect to get something of value. What will you deliver? Whatever it is, from discounts, exclusive deals, advance access, tips, how-tos, advice or something else, make sure the value is crystal clear in your sign up. Take for example, these subscribe calls to action (CTAs):
2. Show ‘Em What They Get
By providing tangible examples of your emails, newsletters and invitations, you can give people a sneak peek of what they’ll get by joining your email list. At VerticalResponse, we archive our weekly VR Buzz newsletter so folks can preview what they’ll see before they hand over their email address. Also, once they’re a subscriber, if they happen to miss a newsletter, they always have easy access to it.
3. Give Them a Chance to Subscribe (Opt-in) Everywhere
The point of sending emails is to build a relationship with your subscribers. Like an anxious young man asking a girl’s father for permission to marry her, you need to get subscribers permission to send them email.
Here’s where your subscriber form, or opt-in form, comes into play. An opt-in form is a true gem because when people willingly give you their name and email address, they’re blatantly saying they want to hear from you. When you get opt-in permission, you build a relationship and gain trust. It’s a win-win for both parties.
You need make sure the opt-in process is super quick and easy to sign up. Also, give folks the opportunity to sign up nearly any place they can contact or interact with your business including the following:
Website – Place your opt-in form on as many relevant pages of your website as possible. Your homepage, contact us page, pricing, navigation bar at the top or bottom, and product pages are perfect places to start as they typically get the most traffic.
Blog – If you’ve got a blog, it’s a natural place to capture readers and turn them into subscribers. Like the examples we showed above, use a visually engaging opt-in form that extols the value of subscribing.
Facebook Page – By incorporating a tab on your business Facebook profile with a subscribe CTA folks can sign up for your email list right from Facebook.
Pinterest Boards – While attending Social Media Marketing World recently, we heard Melanie Duncan speak about growing your email list with Pinterest and we couldn’t wait to share the news with our readers.
Twitter Feed – Make it part of your social media routine to share a link to your subscribe page at least once a week. You can also make use of Twitter Lead Generation Cards for this purpose. These enhanced Twitter Promoted Tweets provide the ability to capture a name, @username and email associated with a Twitter account to enhance the reach of any business.
Events/Trade Shows – If you’re hosting an event in your place of business, another location or are exhibiting at a trade show, make sure you offer attendees the opportunity to sign up for your email list. You can use a good old fashion sign up book and manually type email addresses into your ESP lists, or bring a laptop, tablet or smartphone and let people sign up that way.
Email Signature – We all send email from our personal email addresses to friends, family, vendors, etc. Make sure you include a link to your sign up page in your email signature.
Transactional Emails/Invoices – If your business sends any type of transactional emails or invoicing, you’ll definitely want to offer customers a link to subscribe to your marketing emails.
Content – If you’re creating any kind of content like guides, eBook, infographics, videos, etc., you want to make sure to include a call to action to subscribe to your email list at the conclusion of the content or somewhere in the body. Your reader is someone who’s already engaged in the content you’ve produced so they have a greater propensity to want to get more from you.
4. Make Your Emails Easy to Forward – The ability to forward to a friend seems to have been around since the dawn of email marketing, but it’s amazing how many people don’t use it in their messages. This is a missed opportunity especially since we live in an age where people are apt to share things with friends or co-workers they think they might enjoy or get value from. You can even ask for the forward by saying something like, “Share this email with friends you think might enjoy it!” Most ESPs allow you to insert a forward to a friend link very easily when you are creating your email. The bonus of using an ESP provided forwarding link is that they’ll usually include the option to sign up for the mailing list in these forwarded emails, easy list growth!
5. Make Your Emails Easy to Share on Social Media – You want to make sure your email can be shared by your current subscribers on their social media networks. This can be done in most ESPs by including social media icons that allow recipients to share your message on networks like Facebook and Twitter. You should also get reporting and tracking on this so you can see how many people are sharing your messages.
There you have it. 5 wicked awesome ways to get more people to sign up for your email marketing list.
Want more marketing tips and tactics? Sign up for the free VR Buzz. (See what we did there?)
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