Every Online Businesses Needs An Email List!
It’s probably no secret to you but every single prospect, customer or just anyone that is interested in what you have to offer has an email adress, a direct way right to get their attention on your terms. Email is one of the most personal and cost effective way to stay in touch with your audience. It out performs PPC, social media, content marketing, offline marketing, banner ads, mobile marketing and affiliate marketing. In other words, It’s just awesome.
I wrote more about why you need to build an email list in this post.
First You Need An Email Autoresponder
An Autoresponder or an Email service provider is an online service that allows you to collect leads, build your email list and send out automated email messages. However you should be critical in your choice of autoresponder company, here’s some important criteria they have to meet:
- Deliverability: This one’s pretty obvious. If your subscribers doesn’t get your emails they will never see your offer so you need to make sure to avoid spam filters so you hit their inbox. Using Aweber or Getresponse as an autoresponder will ensure this as they are the most reputable and best providers arount.
- Setup: Make sure to choose an autoresponder which has an easy setup process. The industry leaders mentioned above is very user friendly and easy to setup.
- Management: Managing your email campaigns should be easy. If you find it difficult to navigate an autoresponder, it will only get more complicated as you develop your email program. To avoid this use one of the above as they have very good support and tutorials to help you get started.
- Tracking: Reports should be easy to read and contain enough information for you to analyze your campaigns, track sales and revenue.
- Support: Your autoresponder should be easy enough to use without any support but sometimes you might need help so it is important that they provide you with any help necessary at any time. Both Aweber and Getresponse has 24/7 support, live chat and can be reach through phone.
Now you have five big reasons not to compromise on autoresponder quality so before I walk you through the best ways of building a massive email list I urge you to get an autoresponder account if you do not have one yet. Remember that yes both Aweber and Getresponse cost money but is also the best providers out there so get one now, both offer free trials.
You Need To Send Awesome Emails
You need to send emails that people actually want to read. As obvious as it is many fail miserably to do this and if you fail nobody will want to read your emails and it won’t matter if you have a list with 100k subscribers so pay attention and I’ll give you some tips how you can develop some great content.
- Do your research: Subscribe to other marketers in your niche and see what they write, take notes and read articles about your topic to get inspiration to your emails.
- Create a content calendar: Once you have an idea about what to write set dates and times that you will send out your. Remember to stay consistent with your sending frequency, once a day or once every two days or even twive a day, test what works best for you and stick to it.
- Design a branded email template: This can be anything from a proffesionally looking template to just an email signature with a link to your blog or a picture of yourself at the bottom of each email. By doing this you make your subscribers remember you way better than if you just have a different style in each email.
Here are a few email content tips to help you…
- Make emails easy to share. You can add social sharing buttons using “tweet this” links from ClickToTweet or other social buttons.
- Share your best content. Whether its your latest blog post or ebook, make sure to share your best performing content via email.
- Curate. Shine the spotlight on someone else. Promote content from industry leaders and let them know you will be sharing it in your newsletter.
- Ask your audience what they want. Instead of just trying to read the minds of your customers, ask them what they want. Who doesn’t want to have their voice heard or their questions answered?
- Tie in current events. Try to find ways to integrate important holidays and major events within your email content.
- Experiment with subject lines. Check out our post on email marketing statistics to find a few subject line tricks that might work for you.
- Give extra value. I’ll cover this more extensively under the “Incentives” category in the deck below but the idea here is to run subscriber-only contests or give them something they can’t get anywhere else.
Once you have your email plan ready to go, it’s time to start building your list…
Opt-In Forms (Subscription Form)
- Sidebar: Add an Opt-In form to the sidebar of your blog and start collecting subscribers from people reading your articles.
- Hellobar: Use http://hellobar.com/ to collect subscribers from the top of any website. Encourage people to sign up to your newsletter.
- Main Menu: Add a “subscribe to updates” to the main menu of your site and state the most important benefits of becoming your subscriber.
- Custom: Place a custom Opt-In form on your homepage and convert visitors to email subscribers, works like charm on blogs.
- Popups: I know I know, they are annoying but they work. So put a popup on your site but don’t overdo it.
- Footer: Place an Opt-In form in the footer of your page or blog posts. There’s one at the bottom of this page for an example.
- Put Opt-In forms everywhere: Every page of your site should have an Opt-In form, everything to increase chances of your visitors subscribing to your list.
- Great copywriting: Write an an amazing copy for your opt-in forms and greab the attention of the reader to increase chances of opt-ins.
- Something extra: Add some extra value to your opt-in form, it can be a dollar value of your freebie, testimonial, social proof or your results.
- Keep it simple: Don’t ask for too much information on your opt-in form. All you want is their email adress and maybe their name but remember that the more information you ask less people will convert.
- Special Promotions: Customize opt-in forms for special promotions. Are you anticipating a traffic surge from a new campaign or guest post? Tailor your forms to the guest audience.
- Optimization: Optimize opt-in forms to improve conversion rates. Test small changes to your opt-in forms such as location, design, copy, call-to-action, and more. Something as small as changing the voice from first to third person can have a major impact.
- Interactive: Develop a super unique opt-in form. Want to really stand out? Create an interactive signup form or video game that prompts signups. This can quickly turn into PR opportunities.
Incentives (What to offer in exchange for their email)
- Ebook: Create an ebook on a popular niche and combine your knowledge with some research and you can easily craft a valuable source of information based on the demand in your niche.
- Email Course: Write a series of emails that educate your subscriber and offer a solution to their problem. Use an autoresponder to automate the emails that should go out to your subscribers.
- Webinar: Run a webinar on a weekly or monthly basis with live training (and of course with a sales pitch at the end).
- Contests: Run a contest, select a serivce or product to give away every now and then and announce the winners through email.
- Club: Create a club for your followers and offer a ton of incentives only given away to your “club members”.
- Audio: Record an audio, if you don’t know what to talk about take an ebook or a blog post of your niche and talk about it in an eucating way offering value to your subscribers.
- Discount: Offer a discount to a product or service you sell exclusive to your subscribers.
- Free trial: In exchange for their email you can give them the opportunity to try your product or service for free for a limited time.
- Free Samples: If you have a product give away samples of that product in exchange for their email.
- Video: Give away a valuable video Create a screencast video for your subscribers with a tutorial or training to teach them something valuable.
- Unique tools: Develop an online tool that they have to sign up for in order to use.
- Confirmation Page: Create a custom email subscription confirmation page that welcomes new subscribers into your email community.
- Gratitude: On the confirmation page, show gratitude to new subscribers by offering them a genuine thanks and links to free content they might find valuable.
- SPAM Avoidance: On the same page, request subscribers to add your email address to their contact list to avoid SPAM filtering.
- Sharability: Near the bottom of your confirmation page, add social media links and encourage subscribers to share your subscription with friends.
- Confirmation Email: Create a custom confirmation email with ExpressPigeon that redirects subscribers to your confirmation page after they confirm subscription.
- Welcome Email: Create a custom welcome email with ExpressPigeon that effectively delivers on the opt-in gifts you promised in your opt-in forms.
- Family and Friends: Ask your friends and family to help you, the ones closest to you are always the most likely to help you out in the beginning and you never know who they know.
- Reengagement: Do you have an old email list? Send an email to them and invite them to join your new email list.
- Old Contacts: Send emails to any old business contact that you may have, even if you have not been hearing from them for a long time they might still be interested in your emails.
- Linkedin Connections: Find connections on Linkedin that are in the same industry as you.
- Linkedin Groups: Find targeted Linkedin groups and introduce your newsletter to their members. Remember to start early and build relationships before you go ahead and promote your email newsletter.
- Go Public: Create ab annoncement all over your social media accounts to encourage friends, fans and followers to sign up for your email newsletter.
- In-House Promotion: Get your team to reach out to their friends and promote your newsletter.
- Craigslist: Promote your newsletter on Craigslist, write an ad that states the benefits of your newsletter.
- Email Signature: Att a link to your opt-in page in your email signature so everyone you email get a chance to sign up for your list.
- Paper Sheet. Add a paper sheet at your business where visitors can sign up. Make sure to highlight the incentives of subscribing and place the sheet where people can see it.
- Conversation. Ask people to sign up for your emails in conversation. This works particularly well for B2B. After a meeting with a prospective client, tell them about your newsletter and ask them if they want you to add them.
- Phone calls. Turn phone calls into subscribers. If someone calls you trying to pitch you on their business or you have a call with a prospect or customer, give them a chance to subscribe to your emails. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
- Signage. Use your outdoor or window signage to promote your emails. Let passerby know about the benefits of your emails and give them an easy URL or QR code to easily find your subscription form.
- Print Materials Add-On. Promote your email subscription on all print materials. This works best when you offer irresistible opt-in incentives.
- Dedicated Print Materials. Create postcards or other print materials dedicated to your email subscription. This works great if you have a special club for subscribers or run recurring contests.
- Trade Shows Display. When you have a booth at a trade show, give people an opportunity to sign up for emails. A contest can be encouraging, but make sure people know what they are signing up for.
- Hosting. Organize industry events. Put together a one-time or recurring Meetup, seminar, blogger dinner, or hackathon, and collect emails at each event.
- Industry Events. Attend key industry events. Bring your email subscription print materials with you to the next event you go to. Beyond making connections, you might attract new subscribers.
- Direct Mail. Include email marketing in your direct mail campaigns. Request an email address or include a URL and QR code to your subscription page. Encourage direct mail recipients to go paperless.
- Phone Line. Does your business have a phone line? Replace that dreadful elevator music with recordings about your website and email sign up. Even your answering machine can help you get the word out!
- Website Advertising: Advertise your opt-in page on other websites related to yours.
- Google Adwords: Run a campaign and make sure you are offering a great and relevant opt in as your traffic will come from people actively searching for keywords of your choice.
- Social Media Advertising: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and almost any other social media platform offers ads to their members with great targeting.
- Solo Ads: If you are in the make money online or biz op niche you should by solo ads which basically means that you pay list owners for an amount of clicks generated from them sending an email to their lists. Solo ads are highly targetet and warm since the list owner who has a relationship with their subscribers recommend you. You can buy solo ads here: Udimi.com
- Checkout. Place an opt-in form on your checkout page. Checkout is a great time to convert one-time customers into email subscribers. Offering a product discount on a future purchase is a great opt-in incentive.
- Email Receipts. Offer an opt-in option on email receipts. Some people are weary of subscribing during checkout, so make sure you reinforce your subscription benefits and offer an opt-in option directly in email receipts. This could be the reinforcement they need.
- Abandoned Cart. Send abandoned cart emails. When someone leaves your site with products in their cart, it’s important to send an email reminder. Once they come back and complete a purchase, they should have an option to subscribe for email on checkout and in their receipt.
- Special Offer. Offer a product discount in exchange for subscription. This is a great incentive to encourage visitors to sign up for emails. Who wouldn’t sign up for emails if it saves them 10% on their first purchase?
- Recurring Deals. Run recurring deals only available to email subscribers. Give people a reason to sign up for deals. This keeps retention up and gives visitors incentive to sign up.
- Goodbye? Let your unsubscribers tell you why they leave your list,give them an option to tell you why. This gives you the opportunity to improve your email marketing.
- Come Back! After they unsubscribe give them an incentive and an option to sign back up. It may seem tricky but you have no idea of how powerful an incentive might be.
- See you soon: Let your audience know whenever you go on vacation or take a break. This actually builds trust as they see that you are an ordinary person just like them and it also helps them NOT to forget you.
- Inner Circle: Offer your most active subscribers an option to subscribe to a special inner circle newsletter with special deals and information you do not share anywhere else.
- Spotlight: Ask your subscribers to offer their information, knowledge and tips to your list and of course be sure to give them credits for it as well.
- Suggestions: Ask your subscribers straight out what they want to hear about in your emails. This will help you to optimize your content for your subscribers.
- Check This Out. Tweet a link to your subscription form and tell followers why they should sign up.
- Coming Soon. Tweet about upcoming deals or content available only to email subscribers. Tell your Twitter followers to sign up for emails to get access to the deal or content before you send your email.
- Bio Link. Include a link to your email subscription in your Twitter bio. Use a URL shortening service like bit.ly to avoid taking up too many characters.
- Content. Make sure you have opt-in forms on every page you link to on Twitter. When you promote a new blog post or eBook with a tweet, visitors should be able to easily subscribe.
- Direct Messages. Send a welcome direct message (DM) to new followers and include a link to your email subscription. Some people hate automated DMs, so consider personalizing them to each follower. You can also link to specific content that might interest them.
- Email Tweet Links. Include “tweet this” links in your emails. You can use a service like Click To Tweet to add links to your emails that encourage subscribers to share your emails on Twitter.
- Embedded Tweets. Include tweets in your emails. You can use content from Twitter in your newsletter, and when you do, reach out to those Twitter users and let them know that they were featured. You might want to request permission before using their tweets.
- Incentive Promo. Develop a Twitter campaign to promote one of your eBooks or email courses. As long as you have your opt-in process optimized, driving traffic to your content is always a great way to build your list.
- Miss It? Send a “did you miss our newsletter” tweet. No one enjoys feeling left out, especially if other people that follow him or her received something that they didn’t.
- Thank you. Thank people or send retweets to people who are tweeting about your business, newsletter or emails. This adds exposure to those who may have missed your tweets about your emails.
- #Hashtag. Join discussions and mention your site. You can target your audience by observing hashtags and joining appropriate discussions. Once followers begin reading and retweeting, it’s easier to grab their interest in your newsletter signups.
- Subscription Tab. Add a subscription tab to your Facebook page. Design a beautiful call-to-action image for the tab and link it to your subscription page. Or use Facebook Email Sign Up to create one in minutes.
- Content Tab. Create tab for gated content in your Facebook page. You can build a custom tab that houses your free ebooks, email courses, or other content that requires email signup to access.
- Contest. Run a contest on Facebook that collects emails for entry. Learn how to do this in my recent post on how to integrate email and social media.
- Cover Talk. Add a call-to-action in your Facebook page cover. Include a message that encourages people to sign up for emails in your cover.
- Pay To Play. Run a Facebook ad or create a promoted post that highlights your subscription.
Social Media Continued
- YouTube. Promote your emails in YouTube videos. At the end of videos, encourage viewers to sign up for emails. Include an ending slide with a visible URL for your subscription page. In video descriptions, you can add a link to your subscription page or a piece of related content.
- Google+. Share your email subscription in a Google+ community. Just like LinkedIn Groups, Google+ communities
- Vine + Instagram. Create a short video for Instagram or Vine that tells people about the benefits to your emails. You can share your video on other social sites and embed it in a blog post.
- Pinterest. Promote on Pinterest. Create “Pins” that link to blog posts and especially content on your site that requires email signups, like eBooks or email courses.
- Leaders. Learn from the best. Want to know how to use social media to better reach new eyeballs? Take a peek at what other prominent bloggers and other thought leaders are doing in your space to build their email audience via social.
- Talk To Audience. Engage your audience while you create your emails. When you’re working on a newsletter design or content for your next send, don’t hesitate to tweet about why you like working on it and why you find it interesting.
- Something New. Get out of your Twitter and Facebook comfort zone, and jump into the world of Google+ and Pinterest. The more platforms you’re on, the more opportunity you have to reach new users.
- Follow Us. Encourage users to follow you on different platforms. If someone already follows you on Twitter, give them an option to connect with you on Google+ or another channel and you build a deeper connection. The deeper the connection, the more the chances they have to find your content and eventually subscribe.
- Become The Solution. Were you hoping to find a way to integrate your social media with your email acquisition but found the options available lacking? Create a better way! There’s no better way to become an authority than creating the next great tool.
- Buttons. Make your content easy to share on social media. Add social media buttons at the bottom or on the side of your blog posts and emails to encourage readers to share your content with one click.
- Content. Create posts that highlight specific incentives that you use to promote your email list. Promote each incentive separately on all social channels.
Other Online Tactics
- Guest Blogging. Guest blog on industry sites that target an audience likely interested in your emails. Make sure to link to your email subscription page in your author bio. You can also link to your emails in the post, but only if it is genuinely relevant.
- Partner Up! Team up with a partner or affiliate site and run joint promotions. Hosting a webinar with a partner site or running a collaborative blog series can help you attract a valuable audience, or people who instantly trust you, to your site and your emails.
- Blog Link. Mention your email subscription in the context of your article. Try to tastefully slip in a hyperlink to your email signup. It makes for a good article.
- Industry Talk. Engage on industry sites. Is there a blog that you read regularly? If you have true value to add, leave a comment. People will recognize your tips and click on you, finding your website, and eventually will find your email. Don’t comment just to comment. There is enough noise already online.
- Interviews. Unless someone wants to interview you for a site that goes against your beliefs, do the interview. Showcase your expertise and make sure to drop your URL and tell the audience about your emails. Embrace your inner celebrity! 😉
- Outside The Box. Contribute outside of your niche. Take your expertise to a leading site in another industry, create a guest post that benefits that audience, and watch your list grow. This is a great way to reach new markets and try new guest blogging tactics.
- Start A Conversation. Content marketing expert Andy Crestodina wrote a great article on how to start a conversation online. A new connection can often lead to a new email subscriber, directly or indirectly.
- Speak Up. Turn any interaction into an opportunity. Anytime someone engages with your site by posting a comment or doing anything interactive, try to get a prompt in front of them to get them on your email list.
- Be The Answer. Actively seek out questions on discussion boards, like Quora, on topics related to your industry. Provide detailed, thorough responses for people. This establishes your expertise and will ultimately drive traffic to your site and help you grow your list.
- Get In Touch. Contact key targets in your industry. Don’t be afraid to reach out to important thought leaders in your space via email or Twitter. Let them know about your emails and you might open up a world of cross promotion or add value to them and their business.
- Go Local. Don’t sleep on locality. Look for prominent businesses and bloggers and news publications in your community. Reach out to them, and let them know about your emails. People are generally more likely to support other locals to help enrich the community.
- Clean It Up. Get rid of your website design clutter. When you give people too many options on your website, they often walk away and choose to do absolutely nothing. Clean up your website and watch your list grow!
- Patience. Email marketing can be quite a bit like fishing. Just because something doesn’t take at first doesn’t mean you should completely abandon your fishing hole right away. Take the time to test out your ideas before moving on and trying a new one.
- Keep Learning. Never think you know it all as there is always something new coming on the horizon. Every list like this you read is merely capturing the best practices of internet marketing today.
Building a mailing list is not done over night, it is in fact a long term commitment. To get results using the strategies above you need patience , testing and tweaking every tactic until you dicover what works and what does not work. And I mean testing them individually, yes it will take time. I’m sure you’ll discover thousands of tricks of your own though and most important don’t never ever give up and quit!
Any ideas or feedback? Please leave a comment below!