Chapter 2: Starting and Building a Mailing List
There is only one way to be successful with an email marketing plan: You need a list of email addresses.
That might seem so insanely fundamental, but you’d surprised how many people try to start an email marketing program with no list.
Here are a couple of rules that you need to follow right from the start:
- Be careful buying any lists. Most list selling companies are not supplying quality email addresses. They often “scrape” email addresses, meaning that they use a program to steal email addresses off of the internet. Almost without exception, these list are unproductive and useless. In fact, they are often likely to get your account closed by your ESP for spamming.
- Don’t wait to have thousands on your list. Even 25 email addresses are great, as long as you’re sending the right message to the right people.
- If you do buy lists, they should be purchased from organizations that get only opt-in emails. Some great examples are trade show organizers.
- The very best way to get email addresses from people that want to do business with you. That’s what the rest of this chapter will be dedicated to.
Attracting people with Lead Magnets
The concept behind a lead magnet is simply to get people to volunteer their information, usually in exchange for something that the person wants.
The process of having someone give you their email address and giving you permission to contact them.
Why can’t I just ask for their email addresses? In truth, you can, but most are unlikely to give your their addresses. In most cases, people know that you want to market to them and they might not want to have you send them emails.
Here’s something that most people don’t think about: Your email address is one of the most valuable commodities you have.
Lead magnets need to be valuable. A lead magnet should be something that is important enough to want and be willing to give their email address for. Compelling, valuable, and interesting is the only way that content will be interesting enough to continue to get people’s email addresses consistently.
Something to know: Do NOT spend months and weeks trying to put together a lead magnet. It’s better to offer something simple and easy than to not have anything to share for a long time.
The Types of Lead Magnets
There are several different types of lead magnets that you can create.
- Free reports or white papers – The most popular type of lead is the free report. You can find these everywhere on the internet. Many of the best websites and marketing companies offer dozens of reports that are useful and interesting. The key to this type of report is to take the time to write something really good.
- Resource List – It might seem odd, but a simple list of useful websites and resources is hugely popular. So often, if you’re looking for the right things, it can be impossible to locate good and reliable resources. A great resource list compiled by an expert is a treasure.
- Free trial – A free trial is one of the standards of the internet. If you have an SaaS (software-as-a-service), you can offer people a chance to try it for free. There are two advantages here: 1) they will give you their information that you can use for marketing and 2) they get hooked on your service and keep using it and start to pay for it.
- Catalog – A catalog is a great lead magnet. It can be excellent to have customers reading through your catalog while you message them about your services.
- Downloads – There are lots of things that you can offer as a download: videos, software, music, and more. It’s a simple matter of buying and sharing something that people might enjoy.
- Training videos – If you have something that can help people to make their own lives better, you can make a video that you can share with them. They’ll give you their email addresses.
- Discounts and free shipping – Trading an email address for a discount or free shipping is a great exchange. It’s a simple trade that customers love.
- Products – If you have a product that people might like, you can ship it to them in exchange for their information. It’s an easy idea. If you want, you can even ask them to pay for shipping.
The Actual Messages
Now we get to the fun part of the email marketing campaign: the actual emails.
An email has several simple pieces: the subject line, the hook, the body, and the closing.
The Subject Line – The subject line is the way that you get people to open your emails. Very often, people agonize over subject lines. In fact, there even books written about how to write a subject line. Let me make your life easier. It’s not nearly as hard as it seems.