The effort you put into building your email list is one of the best investments you can make online. Having access to the inboxes of targeted prospects means you can continue to build and nurture relationships over time, and become a trusted source of valuable industry knowledge. Then, when it’s time for your prospects to buy, you’ll be the first one who comes to mind.
There is hardly anyone who doesn’t get excited at the prospect of winning something without making an effort and that too, for free. And if subscribing and giving my email is all it takes, I, for one, am going to participate! Think about it. If a landing page asks you for your email address, why would you give it, unless it was going to give you something in exchange?
Matt Ackerson founded AutoGrow (Petovera Inc.) in 2010 as a conversion-focused web design agency. The company has since worked one-on-one with over 500 customers and clients to create their sales funnels. Matt is a graduate of Cornell University. He and AutoGrow have been featured in Techcrunch, Forbes, Inc, Venture Beat, Mashable, and Popular Science among others. He and the team write in-depth articles on digital marketing, sales funnel design, and also offer an advanced funnel training course here on AutoGrow.co
Now that you’re all set up to starting collecting emails, the fun part begins (when I say ‘fun’, I actually mean ‘hard’). If your site receives a good amount of traffic and you have a truly compelling offer, this shouldn’t be too difficult. However, if you’re like most business owners, you’ll need to look outside your own audience to start building your list.
How do you go about getting people to join yet another newsletter — let alone actually buy your stuff once they've signed up? At the end of the day, you need the right mix of incentives, signup forms and high quality, valuable content to send out. Let's take a look at how to put all these ingredients together so you can drive more signups and sales.
One often overlooked strategy for list building is to step outside of your immediate market, and get known in new verticals. Take for example, my list building advice: it works for bloggers, but it can also work for photographers, dentists, and jewelry designers. I’ve been able to repurpose my content and do short focused bursts of list building in these different markets.
If that’s not enough to convince you to toss interstitials in the bin and never look back, there’s also the fact that users report these interactions as among their most-hated advertising practices (defined as ‘modals’ in this study by the Nielsen Norman Group). On a one to seven scale, modals (interstitials) landed at 5.82 for desktop users and 5.89 for mobile users, beating even autoplaying videos without skip for most-dreaded advertising type.
Giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook have imposed countless rules that limit what you can and can’t do to promote your business. If you repeat content, you’re in trouble. If you “keyword stuff,” you’re in trouble. If you backlink to shady sources, you’re in trouble. If you violate their rules, they penalize you by not displaying your content, moving you down on their results, or banning you entirely.
If you need to grow your email list quickly, there are a number of services that will allow you to rent or purchase email names. However, doing so comes with several risks. Most list purchases or rentals are somewhat expensive, and you may not make your money back as quickly or as regularly. Additionally, a rented or purchased list means that you are buying email addresses of individuals who have not been exposed to or shown and interest in your brand or product. This may mean that they are less likely to respond to your email, and may even mark your email as spam. This could create domain reputation problems for you with future email sends. Finally, if you do choose to rent or purchase a list, be sure to use a credible agency. If you rent or purchase a list that includes a high number of bad email addresses that will bounce or be undeliverable, you will incur sender reputation penalties that will impact your ability to email market moving forward. While buying or renting an email list can help to quickly grow your email list and show returns, proceed with caution when soliciting and buying lists.
Before people hand over their email address, you’re going to have to offer them something enticing in exchange. This could be a free eBook, access to a Webinar, or the promise of discounts or deals exclusively for your subscribers. You could even repurpose some of your existing blog content and turn it into a guide or resource list. Whatever you decide to offer, just make sure it’s something people will recognize as holding true value!
Offline events like trade shows are highly anticipated growth opportunities for professionals in your industry. Demo your latest product at an appropriate conference and collect signups in-person. Once you're back at the office, import these signups into your contact database. Be sure to send these contacts a welcome email that confirms their opt-in to your list. (See #8 in this blog post for tips on sending welcome emails.)
Some ad platforms will ask more of your landing pages than others, when running ads. For example, AdWords is much stricter, when compared to Facebook. AdWords typically requires that you do not have a ‘thin,’ site that is designed solely to collect leads. Because of this it might be a good idea to focus on using Facebook or Twitter, to begin with.