Building an email list isn’t easy. The idea that just throwing an opt-in up on your website with a free gift — any old free gift — will create a giant list of ready-to-buy email subscribers IS A MYTH. Putting in a little effort for a few hours and then raking in 6-figures based on set-it and forget-it sales pitch isn’t going to work.
Successful Email Marketing Requires You To Build A Strong Marketing List. Successful email marketing comes from constant effort, hard work, and providing amazing value — such amazing value that you think you really should be charging for what you’re giving people, and even consider turning this into a paid offer and using something else as your opt-in free gift.
Here are 10 ethical (and highly effective) tips on how to build a great email marketing list:
1. Give Away Something Free, But of High Value
We live in the land of the free gift with purchase. This technique draws hundreds of thousands of shoppers to retail locations daily and it is just as effective when used online. While retail stores provide a gift or future discount in exchange for a sale, you can provide a free gift of value in exchange for an email address.
Giving away something that is relevant and valuable — an irresistible free offer — to your prospects and customers not only helps you build your list, but it gives people a taste of the products and services you and your company offer, and a feel for what it would be like doing business with you.
Here are some examples of give-aways that will build your email list:
- Special Reports
- White papers
- Coaching Session
- Strategy Session
- Physical Products
- Coupons and Discounts
- Trial Memberships
- Video Series
- Special Kits or Bundles
- Product Reviews
- Tips and Strategy lists
- Done For You Templates
- Audio Class
- Audio Interview
- Audio CD
- Video DVD
- Tickets to an Event
- Insider Information
- Print Newsletter
- Resource Lists & Tools
- Quizzes or Assessments
2. Add a Sign Up Form or Opt-In Box to Your Website
Adding a subscribe form or opt-in box to your website (i.e. every blog page and every general page of your website) ensures that no matter what page a visitor may land on first, they will learn about your ezine and your special offer.
NOTE: This is not meant to be a blanket statement that overrides your website sales strategy. There are some pages where your opt-in box does not belong. If the primary action on that page is something other than getting visitors to opt-in — like buying from you or hiring you — do not include your general opt-in on the page.
3. Promote Your Ezine in Your Email Signature
At the end of your email signature, after all of your usual contact information, include a quick 2-3 line mini advertisement for your ezine. If you’ve got a special offer or free gift, let people know about it!
4. Announce Your Ezine to Your Network
Be sure to send a promotional marketing piece to announce your ezine to your clients, prospects, business networks, and friends. You can send them a single sample issue to read with an invitation to opt-in to your list and continue receiving your ezine — but, make sure you are clear that they have NOT been automatically added to your list.
Also, if you belong to any professional organizations or associations, find out if you can place an advertisement in their newsletter or trade publication.
5. Use Social Media
You can promote your email newsletter across your social networks, but please never post an update to Facebook or Twitter that says, “Sign up for my ezine”. It doesn’t work, it will offend your audience, and it will seem pushy. Social media sites are definitely not the place for in-your-face sales and self promotion. Instead say something like, “Phew! Just finished writing my latest newsletter about XYZ . Now off to Starbucks for a mocha!” Change up this formula and post it every time you write your newsletter.
Using this approach personalizes your social media posts, and if the topic of your newsletter that week strikes the right nerve with someone in your network, odds are they will check out your profile, learn more about you, and click through to your website to opt-in to your marketing list.
6. Use Your Business Card
If the back of your business card is blank, print new cards and include a mini ezine advertisement on the back. Include a call to action or irresistible offer that drives them to your website to get a free gift and complimentary ezine subscription.
7. Attend Live Networking Events
The people you meet in person will be your most loyal and valuable prospects and customers, and if they opt-in to your email list, the probability that they will purchase something from you will skyrocket. After all, people do business with people they know, like, and trust. Taking time to connect with people in person accelerates the “know” and “like” factors, and a consistently well-done ezine will help you build the “trust” factor.
When you are networking, be sure to mention your ezine when talking to people or in your elevator pitch. If you have time, or someone wants to know more, chat about the benefits subscribers receive, let them know when your next issue will be sent and offer to sign them up. If they are still unsure, offer to send them a single sample copy to review.
8. Use Article Marketing to Promote Your Ezine
Article marketing is the use of a written article to market and promote your business, products, services, or programs. You can write value-added articles on your area of expertise and post them to several article marketing websites, then include a promo for your ezine and free offer in your author resource box.
9. Get Published in Other Ezines and Blogs
Bloggers are HUNGRY for fresh content and if you approach them the right way, they will usually welcome a well-written guest post. Be sure to look at the blogger’s target market is and what the theme of the blog is prior to contacting them. You want to submit a blog post idea or article that fits their market and stays consistent with what the regular blog readers are expecting to receive.
Just as bloggers are looking for new fresh content, so are other ezine publishers. Find other entrepreneurs that also publish weekly ezines, and offer complimentary, not competitive services or products, and offer some of your articles.
The same criteria for supplying bloggers with content, applies for ezine publishers too. Make sure your article provides information of value to their readers, and be sure your article topic fits the overall theme and reader expectations.
It also doesn’t hurt to offer a reciprocal post for them on your blog or in your newsletter. Check out what they are doing in their business. Are they planning an event or getting ready to launch a product? Offer them a post around that time to promote their efforts.
10. Start Speaking
Public speaking is a great opportunity to do some ethical, permission-based list building. And with an ezine, your post-event follow up can be easy and inexpensive. As a speaker at an event, you already have the audience’s attention, now it is your responsibility to give them an easy way to sign up for your newsletter.
Here are three ways you can build your list as a speaker:
- Offer to send a free copy of your presentation notes or a copy of your PowerPoint slides to attendees who give you a business card and tell them they’ll also receive your newsletter as an added bonus.
- If you have a table or booth at an event, hold a drawing for a free gift. To enter the drawing attendees simply have to drop their business card in a bowl. Be sure to clearly communicate that they will also receive a free subscription to your ezine, so they aren’t surprised when it shows up in their inbox.
- Mention your free offer and send around a sign up sheet so people in the audience can opt-in to receive your gift. Include a reminder on your sign up sheet that they will also receive a subscription to your ezine, or include a checkbox to allow them to choose whether or not they want a subscription.
There Are Several Ways To Make Opting-In A No Brainer.
From an opt-in box on your website, to live networking, to speaking, you have the opportunity to build your email list and grow your audience with the right message and high-value, high-quality content.
Just make sure you are always up front and crystal clear about how you’ll be contacting or marketing to them by email in the future — this will prevent recipients from being surprised that your ezine showed up in their inbox and help prevent spam complaints.
What About You?
Have you tried any of these ideas in your business and had success? Do you have any other great ways to connect with people and build a quality marketing list? Did you learn something new?
We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
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