Email lists are the foundation for an effective email marketing campaign. Building an email list is ongoing for as long as you need it to.
In other words, you should continue to build your email list for as long as you plan on using email marketing. Of course, a lot of companies leverage the full potential of email marketing all the time. Despite what some experts claim, the main reason is that email can outperform social media in terms of ROI (Return on Investment).
Research suggests that email produces around $42 ROI for every $1 spent. That even outperforms both organic and paid search combined. This is way too good of an opportunity to let it slip through your fingers.
Whatever you use email marketing for, you can't do much without an email list, to begin with. Building an email list can be quite a daunting task. You can't just hope that people will sign up for it. Therefore, you have to encourage them to do so. With that in mind, here's how to build an email list from scratch.
Research Your Target Audience
Before you start crafting your email newsletter and growing your email list, you will have to research your target audience extensively. The main reason is that your email list is a marketing strategy, and your email newsletter is your product. That said, you must know how to present your product to your audience as best as possible and consider the best way to do it.
Even though your email newsletter will see significant improvements and upgrades as time passes, making an excellent first impression is of the utmost importance. That's where audience research can be of great assistance to you.
Here are a few factors you should focus on when researching your audience:
- General demographics
- Common pain points
- Needs and expectations
The more you learn about your target audience, the easier it will be to craft an email newsletter that your audience will subscribe to instead of ignoring altogether. It will also be much easier to grow your email list when you know how to cater to your audience's needs and demands.
Choose an Email Platform
Once you're done with your research and obtain the necessary information about your target audience, you will have to choose the right email platform to create an email newsletter and your list. However, email platforms such as Gmail and Outlook have limited capabilities and features you need for a successful email marketing campaign and creating an effective email newsletter. There are many other email platforms for you to choose from.
It's pretty much the same when choosing a hosting service for your website.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right platform for your email list.
- Integration features - The email platform you chose must be capable of integrating with your other systems, such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software.
The main reason is that you must be able to pull information about your customers and target audience to tailor personalized messages seamlessly.
- Automation - An email platform that has automation features is simply a must.
The more subscribers you have, the more difficult it becomes to manage everything manually. That's why automation is more than necessary for sending messages and growing your email list.
- Uniqueness - Unique email newsletters tend to stand out from generic ones.
When you choose an email platform, you also get your unique email signature and address, among other things.
This will help you make your email newsletter more appealing to potential subscribers than newsletters created using generic means.
- Analytics - Every email platform has some analytics tool to help you monitor your email marketing effectiveness and performance.
This information is of vital importance, especially when determining if the content of your newsletter is properly optimized and when determining if your contacts are reading through your newsletter or not.
Create an Email Newsletter
The first step in building an email list is creating an email newsletter. A newsletter is a type of mail you'll be using to inform contacts about promotions, events, discounts, and any other relevant updates.
Therefore, you must make it interesting enough for users to enjoy. Here are a few things you should focus on:
- Consider your target audience - Make sure you research and learn all you can about them. When preparing an email newsletter, you should have your audience's best interests in mind.
- Make it valuable - Consider answering an important question or solving a problem your audience may have. A newsletter that provides value to your audience is a newsletter worth signing up for.
- Use your newsletter to gain feedback - Your email newsletter should be a two-way communication channel. You provide the audience with information, and they give you feedback. This feedback will help you learn more about your audience's needs, wants, expectations and preferences.
Once you come up with a general idea, make sure you design your email newsletter so that it's visually appealing, aside from it is valuable to your audience. This will ensure a higher open rate and encourage subscribers to actually take the time to read what's in your newsletter.
Treat Your Newsletter as a Product
When you treat your email newsletter as a product, you can devise ways to promote it efficiently.
As mentioned above, you can't expect people to sign up out of the blue. People don't even know that you have an email newsletter to begin with. Some top email marketing agencies suggest you create a marketing campaign for your newsletter. Once you manage, you can promote your newsletter alongside your products or services. You must promote your newsletter and use every chance you can to let people know about it.
Here are a few examples of how you can promote your email newsletter:
- Social media promotions - Add your newsletter sign-up to all your social media pages and profiles. You can display it as a banner or promote it alongside other social media promotions, contests, giveaways, and offers.
- Use it on your website and blog - When people visit your website or blog, they do it so they can browse your products or services and your content. You can invite them to sign up for your newsletter so that you can update them whenever there's something new they might be interested in.
- Events, podcasts, webinars, etc. - If you organize any event, such as a webinar or a podcast, you can also use the opportunity to invite people to sign up for your email newsletter.
This will allow you to attract more qualified and organic leads because people who come to watch or listen to your event are already interested in what you offer. Once you start to promote your email newsletter effectively, you'll see a growing number of subscribers. This is the beginning of your email list that will only continue to grow for them from now on.
You now have at least a few subscribers to work with as you continue to expand your list. You have to start somewhere, and even something is better than nothing.
Create Powerful Lead Magnets
Often, some consumers won't budge and refuse to subscribe, no matter how useful or valuable your newsletter may be.
Fortunately, there's always a way to convince consumers to take the necessary action. In this case, that action is to provide their contact information and subscribe to your email newsletter.
The key is incentivizing subscriptions and making them even more valuable than they already are. In other words, you give something to your potential subscriber for free, and in exchange, they subscribe to your list. These incentives are also referred to as lead magnets. As the name suggests, lead magnets serve the purpose of attracting potential subscribers with a unique offer and encouraging them actually to subscribe.
Here are a few incentives worth considering:
- Free eBooks
- Free seminar or webinar access
- Educational material
- Video tutorials
The more relevant the lead magnet is, the greater the likelihood your audience members will convert and subscribe.
You can even promote these lead magnets to encourage more people to convert. Social media contests or giveaways are excellent examples of how to promote a lead magnet effectively.
Create Specific Landing Pages
Landing pages designed specifically for newsletter sign-ups are an ideal way to grow your email list. Remember that these landing pages need to be separated from your home page. You can use backlinks in your content to lead consumers to these landing pages.
You can use other methods to help your leads navigate their way to these landing pages. The more methods you use, the more people will end up at least checking out what your email offer includes.
Once there, consumers should be faced with an intuitive and visually appealing design. Moreover, ensure that the contact forms are simple and easy to navigate. Too many forms and your leads will start bouncing off. You can even create a sense of urgency in these landing pages to nudge leads in the right direction. For example, present them with a limited-time offer that only those who subscribe can access. You can even use the fear of missing out (FOMO) effect to encourage leads to subscribe.
For instance, include a countdown timer that indicates when the promotion ends or shows the number of products left in your stock. In most cases, this encourages leads to take action and leaves no room for them to reconsider.
Create a Referral Program
More often than not, potential leads will more likely subscribe to your email newsletter if another consumer recommends it. It's no secret that consumers trust other consumers more than they trust businesses or brands. Therefore, word-of-mouth is one of the most effective marketing strategies.
Creating a referral program encourages your subscribers or customers to refer others to your newsletter. For each new subscriber they manage to bring in, they get a reward. Such rewards range from discounts and coupons to cashback rewards and other incentives in most cases. Your customers will likely start with their friends and family, but they will soon begin promoting your newsletter and, thus, your business on their social media accounts and other channels.
A good incentive works nicely when you want to encourage customers to refer you to others. Of course, when you have happy and satisfied customers, they will recommend your business for free. Still, it's a good idea to have at least some form of a referral program to encourage your subscribers to bring in more. That's how you ensure your email list will grow more organically.
In most cases, promoting your email newsletter organically is the best way to proceed. Needless to say, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and its best practices will result in an organic increase in qualified leads and traffic for your website or landing pages.
However, sometimes you need to boost your email list quickly, and you need an effective way to do so. That's precisely when you should consider purchasing some ads for your email newsletter. Paid traffic costs money, but it's an investment that can help you achieve business goals within a preferred time limit.
You'll get your ROI once you obtain more email addresses for your newsletter, which is why paid traffic is a much more efficient strategy when looking for short-term results.
That being said, here are some of the most reliable paid traffic sources to consider should you decide to opt for paid traffic in the first place:
- Facebook ads - Facebook has numerous advertisement features that can help you target a specific group of consumers with a particular message at a specific time.
They have powerful segmenting options that can help you get results fast and efficiently.
- Twitter ads - Similar to Facebook ads, Twitter has its own advertisement platform that allows you to grow your following and improve traffic for your landing pages.
Twitter ads are shorter and more specific, which allows you to relate the right message to your target audience.
- LinkedIn ads - As you may already know, LinkedIn is a B2B social media platform. If your target audience is other companies and individual entrepreneurs, LinkedIn has your back.
They have native ad features that allow you to reach out to any audience you wish in a fast and reliable way.
- Google ads - Known as AdWords once before but now known simply as Google ads, is a powerful PPC (Pay-Per-Click) feature that can help you grow your email list very fast.
Instead of relying on social media, Google ads utilize search engines for their advertisement campaigns. This can help you grow your email list tenfold because everyone today uses search engines for one purpose or another. In other words, Google ads provide you access to numerous potential leads worldwide, and they have systems in place that will allow you to craft perfect advertisements for your email newsletter.
Paid search is not a necessary option, but it can prove to be very capable of providing you with the required email subscribers when you need them the most.
Creating an email list from scratch can be very time-consuming and, at times, quite a daunting process. However, while the process itself is challenging, the benefits are quite rewarding in the end.
Once your email list starts to grow, it will only continue to do so. And the larger the list, the more qualified leads you'll have. More qualified leads mean more sales and, ultimately, a positive impact on your company's bottom line. That's why you must treat your email newsletter as a product that needs to be exposed, promoted, and presented to your target audience in the best way possible. Once you achieve that, your company will continue to benefit from your email list and your email marketing campaign.