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How to Grow Your Email List

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How to grow your email list.

Seems like a rather silly subject for a blog post, doesn’t it?

I mean, your email list should just build itself, right?

You have customers so they should be on your email list already, right?  And you have a process for capturing email addresses from new customers.

Your business is well known. Has a solid reputation as an expert – so people that have any interest at all in your field are lining up to get on your email list so they can get a steady stream of insight, tips, wisdom.

Well, building an email list is not as simple or easy as many believe.  Building and maintaining an email list takes time, energy and flawless execution of some proven tactics that many overlook.

But first - a word from the lawyers

Hopefully, you are aware of CAN-SPAM ACT and are compliant.

Well, for those of you that are using email marketing in Europe, you need to be aware of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will be enforceable as law in all EU member states on May 25th, 2018.

That’s enough about the law…now, back to tips for growing your email list.

1. Make sure your current customers sign-up.

Seems rather silly to start off with this one – heck, to even have to put it on the list.  But sometimes the most obvious things go unnoticed.  So, make it part of your process to ask current customers if they would like to receive your email.  Also, make sure that your employees know why (benefits of being a subscriber) so they can sell it.  Finally, make sure there is a process for getting the email into the system.

You might want to make a contest out this so you can motivate everyone to ask.

2. Offer valuable options that appeal to your audience.

From topics to delivery frequency – offer options that make it tougher to say “No!”  Now, that said, don’t go crazy and create so many options that suddenly your audience members are signing up for 15 lists because too many choices make people stop, wonder and walk away without making a commitment so they can “think about it”.

3. Include Link to Subscribe in Email Signatures

Another one of the “so obvious it gets overlooked” class.  But it works, so standardize email signatures and make sure this one is in there.

4. Revisit Stale Emails, Get Them to Opt-in Again

They signed up long ago.  Some never really engaged – maybe all they wanted was the free offer. Others engaged for a while and then stopped.  Some of them might not be at that email address anymore – but there might be some that are still there and are interested in seeing what you have to offer now.  So, take those that [ex] haven’t clicked in 20+ campaigns or haven’t opened in 30+ campaigns and ask them to re-opt in or you will remove them permanently.

Now, some of you just freaked out a little because I said: “..remove them permanently.”   Cam down.  And remember that it’s a good thing to clean out the list on a regular basis – it lets you focus on those that are engaged, rather than being distracted by those who just won’t.

5. Gated Content & Lead Gen Campaigns

The person meets the criteria for your target audience – but they have never contacted your business or purchased from your business.

But they do have an interest in the same subject matter you/your business does so when you create new content, think about that as your offer for your lead generation campaigns.

For those not looking to buy now, the newsletter offer should be addressing their desire for relevant, valuable content that helps them achieve their goals.

For example, I am not going to be purchasing Marketo anytime soon for a variety of reasons starting from it’s too expensive for my current situation.  That said, I do need to be aware of the topics they address in their content so after

Create something new and valuable – then promote it.  For example, when I work with colleges and universities, I recommend checklists that will help prospective adult students identify and select the best institution and program for their wants and needs.  Why does this work better than the typical “Enroll in our MBA Program” PPC campaign?  Because at the top of the funnel, these many of these people are struggling to figure out how to make that decision.  They have several colleges in mind but beyond “how quickly can I complete your program” and “how much will it cost”, they need some help – and since colleges would rather not get into a “Battle of the Lowest Tuition”, this content helps the adult learn other critical factors.

6. Your Website

Paste the opportunity to subscribe all over your site.  Tie it to free content like white papers, eBooks, checklists, webinars…and have a link to a landing page so people can subscribe.

7. Social Media

Tweet it. Pin the tweet to your page. Post it on your Facebook Business Page.  Use Pinterest to promote offers that require email sign-up.

Place calls-to-action and URLs in your YouTube videos.

8. Traditional Marketing

If you participate in events such as trade shows, conferences, ed fairs…be sure you promote the email list and capture the email address on any forms you use at the event.  Just be sure to send them an opt-in email after the event so everyone is on the same page and no one starts calling the lawyers.

And include a shortened URL in any of your traditional marketing efforts – especially direct mail.

9. Webinars

And let’s not forget the importance of capturing email addresses for those that register for your online events/webinars.  After all, you want to send them all a thank-you email for attending along with a link to the event archive, right?!

Well, that’s a pretty good start – if I missed any, feel free to comment below and share the knowledge!

Oh yeah – once you have that email list up and running, you should check out these email subject line tips that can really help your open rates increase.

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