Growing your email list
John M. Haddad
All business owners know that they need to get the word out about their business in order to grow and to stay top-of-mind with customers. One of the best and fastest ways to do that is through email marketing. But I’ve found that many small business owners have questions about how to go about building or acquiring an email marketing list.
You certainly can go out an find email lists to purchase or rent, but if you are just starting out and trying to grow your business and you don’t have a lot of money to invest in these lists. In addition, no one likes to get unsolicited email messages from an anonymous list. The best way is to build your list from the grass roots.
What you want to do is build a base of loyal subscribers, fans and followers. So how do you grow your email list and target subscribers who truly want to hear from you and will take action on the messages you send? Here are some ideas and tips.
Give them useful content
If you want someone to give you their email address and trust you to not send a bunch of junk to their inbox, then you better make sure you offer them something of value. As the saying goes on the web, content is always king.
Do you have useful information to help their business? Do you have discounts or exclusive deals that are only available to subscribers? Do you have tips, how-tos or advice to help their business? Whatever you have to offer, make sure you make it clear to them on the sign-up form. Also, ensure them that their email address will only be used for the purpose you specify and that it won’t be sold or used outside of your business.
Also, make sure you give the the right amount of content. Sending an email out each day may quickly get them to unsubscribe because it clogs their inbox. Conversely, sending out an email every six months may also make them lose interest. Find a balance, that is right for your subscribers that will keep them engaged as well as help you promote your list.
Getting them to sign up
The point of sending email for your business is to build a relationship with your subscribers. And to build that relationship, you first need to get subscribers permission to send them email. This is where an email sign-up or opt-in form comes in handy.
An email sign-up form is an embedded or hosted Web form that you can place or link to on your website, blog or social media sites, and visitors fill it out if they want to receive your newsletters and emails.
Sign-up forms are powerful list-building tools because when people willingly give you their name and email address, they’re saying they want to hear from you. When you get permission, you build a relationship and gain trust.
Making sure your sign-up process is quick and painless. Don’t ask for too much information, as that may turn away many potential subscribers. Only ask for the bare minimum in your sign-up form such as a first name and email address. You can see an example on this on my blog post page.
In addition, make sure you give folks the opportunity to sign up nearly any place they can contact or interact with your business, including your
- Website: Place your email sign-up form or link in a prominent place throughout your website. Don’t settle for having it on just one page; test having a sign-up link on every page to maximize its potential.
- Blog: If you have a blog, it’s the prefect place to capture readers and turn them into subscribers.
- Facebook Page: Incorporate a tab on your business Facebook profile, and folks can sign up for your email list right from Facebook.
- Twitter Feed: Make it part of your social media routine to share a link to your sign-up form at least once a week.
- Events and Trade Shows: If you’re hosting an event or exhibiting at a trade show, make sure you offer attendees the opportunity to sign up for your email list.
- 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, offer customers a link to subscribe to your marketing emails.
- Content: Make sure to include a link to your sign-up form in any content you’re creating. Your readers are already engaged in the content you’ve produced, so they’re more inclined to want more from you.
Give them tools to help spread the word
Now that you are building your list by using the tools and techniques I’ve described above, you want to make it easy for subscribers to share your emails with their contacts and social media networks.
To do this, simply include share-to-social icons for networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in all your marketing emails. Most email service providers offer these icons or buttons. This strategy places your messages in front of a whole new set of people who may have never known about your business.
This will give your subscribers easy, one-click access to share your message on social media. As business owners, we know that the best way to advertise your business is by word of mouth. Using social media icons on your emails is the digital version of word-of-mouth marketing.
I hope these tips have given you some solid ways to grow your email list. At Bisinet Technologies, we can help you with the technologies and skills necessary to implement these techniques. Feel free to contact us for a free consultation.