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How to Build Your Email Marketing List (EM103)

How to Grow Your List Effectively


Obviously, at the heart of email marketing the idea of growing your list. More emails addresses mean more potential customers.


Before we go too far, here’s the one huge rule : Don’t buy email lists. There is almost never a time to buy email list from a list service. Simply put, those email addresses are generally crap.


Often, they are “scraped” from the internet. The company sends a program out onto websites to find anything that looks like an email address. They end up with a ton of addresses the simply are old, defunct, or fake. There’s laos very little control over what type of business the emails come from. In my experience, if 10% of the email addresses are good and go to people you really want to talk to, you’re doing well. Meanwhile, most email service providers (ESPs), like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and AWeber, will shut down your account because they need to avoid being tagged as source for spam. Just don’t do it.


A note on the above: If you are buying a list from a trade show or a magazine for their subscribers, etc. that’s a different purchase. It’s the companies that are offering email lists exclusively that tend to be the problem. If a company is getting email addresses incidental to the primary work, they tend to be fairly reliable.


Always Grow Your List


The one thing that you should always be doing is growing your list. Building your email list is something that you simply need to be doing every day. In many ways, it will be better to focus on gathering more emails than trying to make sales directly.


When you make a single sale, that tends to be all you get. With an email address, you can sell to the same people over and over again. This can be a plan that you carry forward for years.


How to Grow Your List


Here is a brief list of ways to grow your email list:


Swap lists with other list owners: This will often work if you’ve got some complementary businesses that you work with. For example, a roofing company can share their list with a siding company and not lose any business. Be careful that their (or your) terms and conditions don’t stipulate that you can’t share email addresses. If your T&Cs make it clear that you’ll never share or rent email addresses, a violation of the contract can land you in court. It doesn’t happen a lot , but…


Co-Registration Advertising – It’s simple and you’ve probably seen it. When you sign up to a mailing list, there’s a line that says, “You might also like…” This gives business partners a chance to get in front of people who have registered with you voluntarily.


Email List Rental – This can work if you find the right source. Note: The right source will always be expensive. There is no cheap list rental service that you’re going to find that has anything quality to offer. Also, the more active the niche is that you’re marketing to, the more likely you are to pay a lot of money.


Share Buttons – Put social media and email share buttons on everything you do. Every ESP offers share buttons are part of their base service. In fact, it’s usually simply a click to put it in place. Put these onto everything that you send out. If someone likes what you’re saying or doing, they can share it with a single click.


Archive Email Content – One thing that most businesses don’t do is to archive their email content on their website. Every time you send out a newsletter, you can post it onto your website for anyone to see. As people search for information on the internet, they can land on your newsletters. If they like what they see, they are likely to signup to receive some emails.


Put a Signup Sheet on the Counter – If you own a brick and mortar store, you can simply put a signup sheet on the counter. Promise exclusive deals or insider information and people will signup with you.


Contests are Awesome – A simple contest on Facebook or in your store can be a perfect way to gather tons of emails. People will gladly give up their email address in exchange for a chance to win something awesome. Make sure that the contest is fair and that it meets all local and state laws.


Make Your Email Signature Work – Your email signature can be used to encourage people to contact you and sign up for your newsletters. It’s as simple as adding a link. There some great signature design services that can help you to have a dynamic and interesting signature.


Notes on YouTube – If you’re making videos, you can add notes in the videos themselves, overlay links on the videos, or encourage people to sign up in the notes attached to the video. Lots of people will look for ways to continue to learn from you and follow your videos.


Advertising – There are a lot places to advertise online. Facebook and Google are the biggest, but every social media site and many websites offer advertising opportunities. You can set up a simple ad that will encourage people to sign up. This can be paired with a giveaway, like a white paper or an ebook.


Trade Shows – A trade show is a great place to gather email addresses. You can either use a signup list on your table or you can gather business cards or both. There are a bunch of apps that will let you scan in a business card so you don’t have to enter the information by hand.


Facebook CTA – On your Facebook page (and you should only have a Facebook page for a business; see my book <title> about this), you can out a call to action. A  CTA is a button that potential customers can push that will let them sign up for your newsletters easily. You can also set it up so that it makes a phone call and more.


QR Codes – Those odd little squares that you can see on lots of things are designed to allow smartphones to read them and take a certain action. Your QR code can send someone directly to your signup form.


Landing Page – A landing page is simply a one-page website that serves a single function. In this case, it can be just to collect email addresses for your newsletter. Lots of ESPs offer free landing pages for exactly that purpose. Very often, they’re free as part of their overall service.


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