How To Build Your Email Marketing List

Email marketing has changed quite a lot in recent years. Its reputation has as well, cycling from a legitimate means for companies to stay in touch with their customers in the early days, through a period of being seen as spammy if not a bit scammy, and back to a fantastic way to keep customers engaged.

Email contacts are key to successful marketing efforts, here are our suggestions for growing your list.

When approached with the right ethics, attitude and goals in mind, email marketing can have a massive impact on your business and your customer’s satisfaction with the service you provide. We’ve written about how to accomplish this without sales-y pitches or coming on too strong. When in doubt, check your country's or region's spam legislation to ensure you comply.

Today is all about setting up your email list and how to go about growing it organically and sustainably.

Start Off On The Right Foot: The CRM

Where do you keep your general business contact list? Is it some combination of in your phone, a stack of business cards from interested prospects you collected at conferences that now resides on the corner of your desk, and somewhere in your email program? You’re building a business and you need your leads, email subscribers, and other assorted business contacts to be in one easy to find and easy to parse location.

You need a solid Customer/Contact Relationship Management (CRM) solution that will scale with your business.

There are myriad productivity suites on the market that offer different combinations of marketing tools, social media integration, CRM functionality, and even email scheduling and automation—all in one cloud-based dashboard for easy scaling. Do your research and pick one to build a solid foundation for your email marketing needs.  There are free versions available that can get you started.

Leverage Existing Contacts

Remember those phone contacts and business cards? Get them all entered into your newly selected CRM and do some outreach.  Send an email to your existing business contacts with a legal basis for communication (e.g., a prospect showing interest), asking if they’d like to subscribe to your new email newsletter and include an opt-in link. That will mark them as subscribed in your CRM so going forward they’ll get your messages.

Then send a follow up asking those same people (the ones who opted-in, that is) to forward your first newsletter to anyone they think would benefit from hearing from you. Good contacts have other good contacts, so take advantage of your existing network to start building your marketing list.

Craft Awesome Content

If you want people to subscribe willingly, and that is the ultimate goal here, you need to be offering them something they value. The best way to do that is with a solid content marketing strategy built around regularly publishing engaging, informative blog posts. Offer industry news, in-depth looks at how your product is impacting your sector, personal interest stories about your team and how the work they’re doing is shaping the future of your company, and anything else you know your target audience will be interested in.

Then promote that content across channels. Tweet out links to each story you publish (can be done via marketing automation), post to Facebook with additional updates along with links, and don’t forget to let your LinkedIn connections know when a piece goes live. And, of course, don’t forget the call to action in each of those updates. These CTAs are crucial for getting people to click through and subscribe for future updates.

Create Engaging Email Content

Once you’re generating awesome content and promoting it, give consideration to exactly what you’re going to send to your growing contact list. You don’t want to bore them with rehashed posts from the blog or they’ll unsubscribe just as quickly as they signed up in the first place. You also don’t want to be off-putting and send nothing but pushy sales pitches. Instead, work up a section of your content calendar that’s specifically for your email newsletter.

Write custom articles that are only available to subscribers. Conduct polls asking for feedback on recent updates, or create contests where the prize is some branded swag or free product. You get the idea, your emails need to be crafted with the same care you give your other content so your readers remain engaged.

Gate The Good Stuff

Once your list begins to grow and people are reading your content via social media, email links, etc., it’s time to create some gated content. Technically, gated content is simply any content that is only available in exchange for something from the viewer. For content marketing purposes, this usually means asking for email contact information in exchange for access to an eBook, whitepaper, or other special content not available more widely.

Don’t just pick a blog post to gate, however. You’ve got to make it something special in order to justify your audience giving up contact info for it. So do a deep dive into a particular topic that’s been popular on the blog, or maybe write a whitepaper on the state of a certain segment of your industry that you’re a thought leader in. Anything that goes deeper into a subject that you know your audience is interested in is a good candidate for a piece of gated content.

Use Pop-Ups And Slide-Ins

This one requires some finesse to do right. What you don’t want to do is send readers running away from your site when they’re hit with pop-up after pop-up or a slide-in form so tenacious they can’t get rid of it.

What you do want is to remind visitors that you have an email newsletter that offers more value than a quick visit to the site can provide, and a simple form where they can get signed up. Don’t forget an easy way to close the message should they not be interested or already a subscriber, and remember to only set these messages to appear after a pause and not to return too frequently.

Remember That Exclusivity Sells

We touched on this earlier but it’s important enough to warrant it’s own section. Your email needs to offer something beyond what a person can get by browsing your website. Special offers exclusively for subscribers or deeper dives into subjects that matter to them. Then you promote the fact that these deals and information is only available to those who subscribe and make the form easy to find. 

The fact is that exclusivity sells. People like feeling special, and having access to sales and data that nobody else has access to accomplishes this quite well. Key to all of these suggestions is including sign-up forms on every page of your site, linked from social media updates, and at the bottom of every email you send out. That way, an interested party won’t have to go digging to get on the list.

Get Your Email Marketing Checklist

Jesse
Jesse
Jesse hails from Seattle, Wa. When he’s not creating great content, or staring at his laptop screen waiting for inspiration, he’s probably walking in the trees somewhere in the foothills of the nearby Cascade Mountains.

 

Find what you're looking for

Search our blog posts by keyword