Email List Building Strategies Your Dog Could Do
Imagine if building your email subscriber list was as simple as snapping your fingers.
Just image if you could make one simple tweak to your website and see a boost in email subscribers…
And then those subscribers became customers…
And customers became repeat customers…
And you were growing in revenue just from a few website changes.
List building strategies sometimes can feel like the quest for the Holy Grail of email marketing.
But what if I told you it wasn’t such a long and tortuous quest?
What if there were list building strategies so simple to do you could hire your dog to do them?
Okay, maybe Fido can’t work a mouse, but these list building strategies we’re going to share with you are super simple.
It’s actually really pretty easy to build your email subscriber list.
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Check out the following list building strategies:
List building strategy webinar
We teamed up with Privy a while ago and talked about list building pitfalls many companies fall into.
It was a really popular webinar, and what better place to share it than when we’re talking about list building strategies.
Check it out! (And there’s more list building info below)
Start with your existing database
Before you start building your list, you need to ensure the list you’re starting with is primed for use.
Think of your existing email contact data as the foundation to your home.
You need a solid foundation to build on in order to have the home of your dreams.
When preparing your database, or uploading to a new email provider, keep these five tips in mind:
1. Make sure your data is clean.
Look for malformed addresses. Most import processes will not insert obviously malformed addresses (like “bsmith@yahoo” or “bob firstname.lastname@example.org”) but by taking a good look at the addresses before import you may catch errors and correct them to avoid importing multiple times.
2. Eliminate unnecessary information.
If you’re exporting records from your CRM system, not all fields may be needed.
Think about how you’re going to use that information.
If you plan to send different messages to people living in different areas, and you’ve collected ZIP codes, then you may want to import and use our geographic segmentation tool.
Or you may wish to personalize your message, in which case you may decide that the recipients’ first and last name (or other relevant info) be imported.
3. Think ahead.
Do you need to include information to filter these addresses into a segment of their own?
If you’re not segmenting or personalizing your message, you may only want to import the email address.
Or on the converse, if you want to segment based on location, preferences, or some other criteria, bring it in on your initial import and make each member much easier to manage.
4. Check for duplicates.
Is it possible some addresses may already exist in the database and you simply need to update the records?
If you’re not updating demographic info, you might want to just import new records (cutting down on the time spent importing records so you can work on your content.)
5. Properly format your import file.
Files can be saved as .txt or .csv format. Traditionally each column of data needs to be assigned appropriate headers utilized by our system. You can search for lists of commonly used headers and formats.
Grow your list using signup forms
You need to add your signup form in places that people will see it and have the opportunity to signup.
Here’s our newsletter signup form in the footer of our website.
So where are some places that you can add a signup form where people are likely to see it?
If nothing else, make sure that you have a signup form on your website – that way when consumers or potential clients are looking for information about your product and service they can signup to receive your emails.
Many email marketing service providers, including Delivra, provide form building tools for you to create this signup.
You can then take that code and drop it right on your website, landing page, blog or social pages. Pretty simple.
By doing this, your new opt-ins can go straight into your email list with very little work on your end.
You can also add a signup form to your blog placed beside your blog feed for readers to signup to receive additional information through your emails or to receive blog posts by email.
Something you may want to consider is a popup form to collect email addresses.
It’s important to keep in mind Google’s latest search algorithm update on pop-ups and sign-up forms (we just wrote a killer article detailing this and best practices for tackling email newsletter popups).
Opinions vary on how effective using these forms is – some find it captures the reader’s attention and others just find it annoying.
Be careful asking for too much information
Long signup forms are the worst.
Especially forms that ask for a ton of information.
Many consumers are concerned about privacy, and there is widespread disagreement about how much privacy one should be expected to give up in exchange for signing up.
Identity theft is a rampant problem, and even reputable brands have been victims of hackers, or otherwise found to have mismanaged personal data provided by their customers.
Given these circumstances, it’s natural for customers not to want to share any more information than is strictly necessary.
Therefore, don’t scare them off by requiring them to provide more than is needed to deliver the emails they’re signing up for.
This form has a boat load of fields:
If your program truly requires responses in seventeen different form fields, then set expectations clearly about how you will and won’t use those responses.
On the other hand, if you don’t expect to use all that information, why overwhelm the user by asking for it?
They may decide that subscribing to your email is more trouble than it’s worth.
Consider asking for minimal information up front, to lower the barriers to subscribing.
Then, after building some trust with the subscriber (by sending relevant content that doesn’t abuse the opt-in permission you were given), follow up with a request for more details to serve the subscriber better, and give some incentive for them to cooperate.
Consistently create stellar content
On your website, or through social media platforms, promote a free webinar or whitepaper that your target audience would find relevant.
Set up the content so a reader must provide an email address to download or access what you’re offering.
You can also provide a teaser.
Think about a really solid white paper you’ve created.
Share the first few hundred words of an article or white paper, and ask viewers to provide an email address in order to continue reading.
This is a practice known as “gating” content.
However, be warned, readers won’t supply an email address unless those few hundred words really pique their interest.
If you don’t have an excellent writer on staff, hire a freelance content genius to create this single piece of material, because it must be compelling.
Solicit guest content from writers or industry insiders who already have a broad social media following, and ask your customers to submit photos or stories that you can use in your newsletter.
When you include other voices – people outside your company – in your content strategy, you will likely reach a much wider audience and see an uptick in subscriptions.
Consider adding a preview of your email newsletter on your website, or include on the sign-up form a few bullet points that explain what readers can expect, such as:
- Exclusive sales offer
- News about free webinars and training
- Guest articles from industry experts
In your welcome email, you can explain to subscribers in more detail what to expect.
Then provide them with a link they can click to update their email preferences so you can segment your mailings to specific wants indicated by your list.
Launch a referral campaign
Offer your current subscribers a discount or special offer for any new subscriber they refer.
Include a “subscribe” link in every email you send, to simplify the referral process for both your subscriber and the person they’re referring.
When you get a new email subscriber, consider offering a friends-of-friends promotion.
One of the easiest ways to do that is to send a promotional code to a subscriber, who in turn can send that to friends and family.
Anyone who signs up using the promo code qualifies the sender for some type of discount or deal.
Promote your newsletter via social media
Yes, you can intertwine your email marketing channel with social media.
Facebook allows businesses to include a drop-down sign-up form on their profile page, and you can also use Twitter to promote a link that leads to a sign-up page, a strategy that may be even more effective if signing up qualifies subscribers for entry in a contest or giveaway.
This is one of the most commonly overlooked email list building strategies.
Why can’t I just purchase an email list?
You need to find people to email, and you’re willing to spend to get them.
We get it, but we don’t recommend it.
Reputable email marketing providers, like us, require you use opt-in email lists in order to send through their platform.
And in many cases, you’ll need to prove they did opt-in and you’re not just saying they did.
Buying an email list can kill your email deliverability, too.
Did you know floating out there on the Internet are planted email addresses that specific watchdogs monitor to look for spam senders?
When you purchase a list, you have no way of knowing whether any or how many email addresses are in this honeypot, planted to catch you spamming.
Once you’re flagged as a spammer, you get blacklisted and can kiss sending emails goodbye.
There’s more to it than a number
It is important to keep in mind that getting people to sign up isn’t everything.
Think about why you’re using email.
Think about how it helps you accomplish your goals.
Whether those goals are to spread information, sell more of a product or service, increase brand recognition… each of those should influence not only what you include in your emails, but the type of information you’re providing to entice them to sign up, as well as what metrics you need to measure to ensure effectiveness.
At Delivra, our Contact Builder provides clients with a simple way to collect new email subscribers from the website and social media traffic.