Building Your Email List – The Right Way

We’re going to assume that you have already signed up with an Email Service Provider (ESP) like MailChimp or ConstantContact. But how do you develop a robust list of targeted customers or prospects?

Well, there are a lot of ways to build your email list but let’s look at some of our favorite tricks for doing it the right way.

Priority placement for your optin form

Make it easy to find your opt-in form. A text link to “click here to join our mailing list” is not going to be sufficient to draw your readers’ attention and spur them to sign up. Have your opt-in form link from an eye-catching graphic to give it proper prominence on your site.

Likewise, a single opt-in form on your home page doesn’t offer visitors an easy opportunity to sign up after they just read a compelling article on your site. Offer multiple opportunities for visitors to sign up throughout your site.

Offer a special incentive for joining your email list

You’re asking readers to give you something…offer to give them something in return. You can send them a white paper, a checklist, discount coupons or enter them in a raffle to win. It should be of value to your subscribers whatever it is. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune but it shows them you appreciate them sharing their information with you.

Collect only the information you need

While it’s great to have a lot of data in your email list database this is really only great for you. It’s not necessarily great for your readers who may be reluctant to share a lot of personal information. So ask for only as much as you need. Even if fields are optional, the visual cues that you’re giving are “big brother is watching” and is a big disincentive for joining your mailing list.

Ask for subscribers via alternate channels as well

Make sure you’re asking for subscribers via a variety of channels. Have a sign-up sheet on the counter and ask customers to sign up while you ring up purchases. Have a sign-up sheet on your table at trade shows and expos. All printed material should have your URL and an invite to join your mailing list. Include a link to your sign up form in your email signature. Post it on your social media channels.

Where ever you are connecting with your target audience, ask them to sign up.

Give them what they want

Some readers may want to receive your newsletter, others may want to know about your specials. These are called list segments. If you are only offering an all-or-nothing approach and not segmenting your list you are missing an opportunity. Let readers choose how often they want to hear from you and what they want to receive; then consistently give it to them.

Respect their privacy and let them know you do

Make sure your subscribers know how you will be using their information, what they will be receiving from you and how they can opt-out.

Ask readers to share with a friend

If your readers are interested in your content, chances are their friends and associates are as well. Don’t be shy to ask readers to share your info with their contacts and invite them to join your email list as well.

There’s no magic bullet to developing a strong, targeted email list. But by following these basic steps you will continue to grow your list – and your business. (And if you’re upset about list members unsubscribing read our post about “When Your Email Subscribers Unsubscribe.”)

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