12 best ways to build your email list and grow your business
Building and maintaining a quality email list is the foundation for any successful business. The most significant benefit that email marketing offers is that the leads you have in your distribution lists are already warm. They are already your targeted audience and interested in your products and what you have to offer. Unlike new visitors to your site or users coming from social media platforms, you know where you stand with email subscribers and your email campaigns.
There are two critical components to a successful email marketing strategy;
- Build, grow and optimize your email list.
- Create professional and personalized content.
Grow, build and optimize your mailing list.
Before diving into how to grow your list, one crucial thing upfront, do not buy email addresses from brokers. Usually, these addresses have been scraped from many different places. Those users have not opted to get emails from you. As you want to build your email list on trust, it's probably not the best way to add people that don't know you.
With that out of the way, let's dive into the different tactics on how you can start collecting email addresses and grow your mailing list.
Landing pages and Online Ads
Typically, the standard way to build a list online is by attracting people to a landing page with a sign up form. Most of the time, you would offer something for free in exchange for an email address. You see this a lot with ebooks or other guides. Creating an appealing free offer is how most businesses begin building a list. It's a powerful lead-generating tactic that many deploy. If you want to be more aggressive, you can even create several landing pages across multiple domains. It might work well for your business, though keep in mind that this comes with an obvious and a hidden cost.
It isn't easy to get a landing page ranked with search engines nowadays. You can use less competitive keywords, but it will most likely not generate enough traffic. A proven tactic to drive relevant traffic to your landing page is by buying lots of ads. Though it's an expensive method, hence you won't see it mention a lot. However, if money isn't an issue, it indeed is the best method to drive traffic to your online business.
What if you do not have a large budget for Google Ads or Facebook Ads? You can grow your mailing list with a blog. By creating tons of content, search engines will pick up your content over time. Producing high-value content is how many businesses build up an audience and have been very successful doing so.
You can have lots of anchor text and banners pointing people to your offer on your blog post. With many blogging platforms, such as WordPress, you can put your offers into a widget, which will appear on every page.
Though, from experience, just having a signup form results in slow subscriber growth. Suppose you are serious about growing your email list. In that case, you need to offer your users multiple opportunities to join your email newsletter before they leave your site.
Get their attention
As mentioned above, just having a signup form might not be enough. Depending on your business, you might need multiple signup forms to grow your email list. Providing your users more opportunities to join your email list might be a good technique for you. However, this comes down to your market, region, and the kind of business you are running.
There are a couple of different tools and how to go about this out there. Have a look at the List Building Tools from AddThis to get an idea.
Showing a popup window with a special promotion is something that we have seen creeping up on some websites. While the intention here is obvious, you don't want to lose the customer; it might be a bit creepy. It could have the effect of losing the customer anyhow.
It's another way to grab your website visitors' attention and might prove to be successful for your online store. Our recommendation is to stay away from it, as we have not seen successful businesses deploy it much.
After Post and In-Line Forms
A much better way than exit-intent popup or any popup windows is the after post or in-line forms.
These forms appear when a user has already scrolled down an entire article. Your user is already interested in your content and is more likely to sign up for your email list.
A very successful technique is to create in-line forms within your blog content. You would want to add the form in the middle of a long read where users are most engaged with the content. As you have more exciting content to read, notching them to sign up for your email newsletter at this point works quite well. Though, make sure your offer is valuable and not interruptive to the user.
The last thing you want is to create a blaring popup window with a little close text or icon covering the whole page. These practices scream desperation and are straight-out an insult to your website visitors. Whenever we encounter these insults, we leave the website immediately and make a mental note not to come back again.
We have written many times about email automation in the past as it's one of the best ways to keep your customers engaged. With a marketing automation tool, like Helpmonks, for example, you can create an automated campaign that follows up with your subscribers automatically.
Besides, with automation, you can trigger specific actions based on the subscribers' actions. For instance, if the user does not open your email, click on a particular link, and so forth. Of course, this is only available with some email marketing software and then only with add-ons. However, with our Email marketing platform, you get this included without further incurring any charges.
Giveaway and Contests
Another way to quickly get many new followers and subscribers is by including a link to a content or giveaway marketing campaign. You don't even need an expensive prize or something fancy to launch a successful giveaway campaign.
Users can join your contest by providing their email address, social sharing, or following you on social media. Successful giveaways create a snowball effect and help you reach many new users.
Such campaigns can become highly effective, especially if you have an extensive network of influencers spreading your content.
Discounts and Deals
While discounts and timed deals, e.g., "only the next 6 hours", are considered traditional, they still have a high attraction rate. After all, who doesn't like to get a bargain?
You can use this mentality to your advantage and only offer discounts and deals to your email list subscribers. This technique works exceptionally well for e-commerce businesses as many people wait for a promotion.
Think of how many times you've postponed buying until the desired item dropped to a discounted price on Amazon. This author for sure just waited four weeks for a thing to be discounted.
Leverage social media
Another way to get more subscribers is by using your social media accounts. Most social media platforms have options to create a button or a lead form.
For instance, you can create a Facebook page for your business and add a call-to-action button. The button is prominently displayed on top of your page and visible without scrolling.
Another platform with millions of people is Twitter. Twitter Ads allow you to run several different kinds of ad campaigns. You can encourage people to watch a video, install your app, follow your Twitter account, or drive more traffic to your website.
The "drive more traffic to your website" campaign could be used to grow your email list by offering a free ebook or guide when they sign up for your email list.
Here's a fact you won't like. Most users will not sign up to your email list or buy from your business if they don't see others doing it too.
Think of how many people take the second lane when everyone is in the first lane, even though the second lane is free and there is nothing wrong with taking it. It's a psychological fact that people feel better if they see that others are doing the same.
Converting this to the online world is a bit more challenging. Still, it's one of the reasons why so many websites have testimonials on their landing pages. There is even a whole business market around reviews, as sites like G2, Capterra, TrustPilot, etc., show.
Therefore, create some human elements to your signup form. Look at the image below from the https://backlinko.com/ landing page. That guy for sure knows how to attract people to his mailing list.
Another interactive way, definitely for e-commerce stores, could be real-time notifications of what other users are doing in the online store. I'm sure you've seen this before:
If you are wondering how to do this, check out Trustpulse (not affiliated with us).
While we are on the topic of e-commerce, another successful option to grow your email list is by offering your buyers an account creation at the end with an opt-in to your email newsletter.
These opt-in options, as outlined above, work incredibly well when coupled with a promotion, e.g., "newsletter subscribers get special discounts."
Many times overlooked, but as you undoubtedly also communicate over emails, you should put a link to your email newsletter sign-up form in your email signature. Users search for content in their emails, and then they will also see your name and link.
Create professional and personalized content.
It should go without saying, but always send your subscriber's first-class messages, whether it is information about your products and services or some promotion.
If you use a professional email marketing platform, and why shouldn't you, you most likely have the possibility to segment your distribution lists. Segmenting is a potent tool to send the right message to the right people. We've written about segmenting your mailing list in another post. I encourage you to read that to get complete insight. In short, segmenting is the practice of splitting up your subscribers into different lists, e.g., geographic location, demography, etc. Let's say that segmenting can be challenging, but if done right, a compelling way to reach the right customers with your targeted message.
Suppose the content you are sharing with your mailing list is also publicly available. In that case, you can keep the content of your email newsletter short and precise. You want to respect your subscribers' time and inform them and keep them engaged and not annoyed.
Your blog is the pace you should invest the most time. A well-thought-out content will take time and effort. It should have proper headlines, an overview, great images, and engaging and clearly written text. Yes, that is a tall order. Here's another example of backlinko.com and creating engaging content.
Luckily there are many services available nowadays to help you with this. You can use Grammarly to assist in writing correctly. You can set what you would like to write about, and its AI-driven assistant will provide you with helpful tips. If you want to trim your content for SEO with specific keywords, SemRush has an SEO assistant that quite beneficial. You add your text and add your keywords, and SemRush will analyze your content and let you know what other keywords, links, and content you should add for good SEO content.
Images are another must-have for engaging content. Unless you have a big budget to hire your photographer or have the option to buy a stock photo from Getty Images, you have to look for alternatives. As this is 2021 and there's an alternative for everything, you have sites like Unsplash, Pexels, and PixaBay, to name a few.
Illustrations are another option to stand out with your content. In case you don't have a personal Illustrator or pay for a subscription service like ManyPixels, you can use sites like IconScout or Undraw.
One more thing.
Strangers from all over the world have given you their email address, i.e., they've trusted you. Hence, maintaining a good relationship with your list should be your highest priority.
Therefore, it's recommended to respect your subscribers and not abuse your list. Do not send an email every other day. While I'm sure some marketing wizards will disagree. Here is a real-life example, United Airlines (my preferred airline) sends out an email every other day. I kid you not; their marketing department must think that we all will forget about them if we don't hear from them. However, the opposite is happening; I only look at the subject to decide to open the message. Honestly, most of the time, I delete them. You don't want this for your emails.
It's essential to remember that email is a personal message that lands in someone's inbox. Not taking up too much time and sending only relevant messages is the respect you pay to have the person on your mailing list.