Email marketing might seem outdated and dull compared to social media marketing methods like Twitter and TikTok. Still, email marketing offers significant value to businesses and consumers, because nearly everyone has an email address and uses email daily.
One of the most important aspects of email marketing is your email subscriber list. Your email list can be the difference between the right people seeing your message and your message going completely unheard.
We’ll explore email lists and why they’re crucial, and outline 15 ways to build a quality list that will boost your marketing campaign’s effectiveness.
An email list – also called a “mailing list” or “subscribers list” – is a collection of email addresses a business has gathered from visitors and customers. These individuals have opted in to receive communications from the business, including updates, announcements and discounts.
Email list-building is the process of getting more people to subscribe to your emails. An effective way to entice people to join your list is having a call to action (CTA) on your website’s homepage.
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Because email lists are a critical marketing element, it’s essential to devote significant time and effort to ensure your list is working for your business. Keep three major priorities in mind when building your email list.
With these priorities in mind, you can begin the process of building your email list. Here are 15 of the best ways to build up your list with quality email addresses from your target audience – the people who genuinely want to receive your content.
CTAs offer an opportunity for organic website visitors to sign up for your emails. Including CTAs on every landing page throughout your website (e.g., “Sign up for our mailing list to receive special offers”) increases the likelihood of consumers signing up as they navigate your site.
While email is a major communication method, many consumers find businesses through social media, so including an email sign-up form on social media posts is a surefire method to add interested consumers to your list.
In addition to including email list sign-up links in your regular posts, consider creating social media posts, such as Facebook ads, specifically to tell customers about your email list and the content they’ll receive if they sign up.
In some instances, you might be able to partner with other websites by contributing guest posts to a blog or website. This opens up your business to a new audience and lets you access new email addresses and prospects.
Include a sign-up CTA in your guest posts, or invite others to write guest posts for your blog or website. These contributors will bring some of their audience to your site and improve your outreach.
Incorporate email list-building into your everyday tasks. For example, when a new customer calls for a quote, or when you’re providing information about your business, see if they want to join your email list. Be sure to ask explicitly if they consent to receiving emails from you.
To improve your email open rate, consider segmenting your email list to provide content relevant to customers based on their behavior.
An exit-intent pop-up appears when a visitor is about to leave a website. You can customize these pop-ups, such as by inviting visitors to sign up for emails so they can receive more information about your business.
Opt-ins are one of the most reliable ways to build quality email lists; however, visitors need clear incentives to sign up, and the process of providing their contact info must be fast and easy.
If you find that your content isn’t enticing enough people to sign up for your emails, consider providing an incentive. Offer a discount code, free download or free item to encourage people to sign up. A popular incentive is actionable information, such as a checklist or webinar related to your industry.
Email-only specials are an excellent email participation driver. Whether you’re using a buy-one-get-one sale, limited items or another specialized offer, driving specials through email rewards participants will also incorporate enthusiasm into the email list.
Challenges and giveaways work a lot like incentives. You can create a challenge, like running a 5K, donating food or hosting a giveaway where customers provide their emails to participate.
Provide your customers and prospects with premium content in exchange for their email addresses. This is known as putting up a paywall or creating “gated content” exclusively curated for those on your email list.
Ask your customers to give you their email addresses to earn perks, rewards or discounts by joining a free customer loyalty program. Make sure your enrollment process is straightforward, and be transparent about your offerings – the more specific, the better.
Try sharing your email lists with another business in your industry. You likely share a similar target audience, so you both can benefit. Propose a swap or offer another business an ad in your next email campaign in exchange for their email list. [Read related article: 5 Reasons Your Business Should Have Strategic Partnerships]
Encourage your audience to share your opt-in link on social media and other forms of digital communication. You can also add your opt-in link to the bottom of your email signature and encourage your employees to do the same.
Recruit your employees to get emails from friends, family members and other potential customers interested in your product or service. Hold a friendly competition to see which employee can gain the most subscribers.
When customers get to your checkout page after shopping, give them the option to subscribe to your email list. Keep in mind that, under the General Data Protection Regulation, you cannot check the box for your customers; they must opt in themselves.
These days, most people prefer electronic forms of communication over traditional mail, but there are still ways to use technology in direct mail marketing. If your business is still using the postal service for direct mail marketing, consider providing customers with a QR code that will send them directly to your opt-in page or allow them to switch to electronic communications, providing their email address in the process. [Related content: The Best Direct Mailing Services]
Your local chamber of commerce has access to an extensive network of business owners and a list of community events where you can find people potentially interested in your content. Once you join, you can send people on the chamber’s mailing list an email with an opt-in link and information about your offerings.
A quality email list can be extremely valuable to your business, since email marketing has one of the highest returns on investment among marketing methods.
Email marketing is a powerful communication tool that is:
Without an email list, your business could miss out on thousands of potential customers. Since most consumers have an email address, building a quality email list should be your top priority when beginning a marketing campaign.
Email marketing templates can help you quickly format and target messages to your audience and can include images, content, CTAs, and links.
There are some telling statistics that show successful email marketing is a powerful tool for your business’s success and growth.
Because building an email list the old-fashioned way can take time, many businesses have considered purchasing pre-made email lists or an email database that promises hundreds or thousands of email addresses instantly. However, you rarely get what you pay for with these purchased-list schemes, and they’re often more trouble than they’re worth.
“Buying email lists can not only hurt your brand’s reputation, but your domain’s reputation as well,” said Jeff Moriarty, marketing manager at Tanzanite Jewelry Designs. “It might get you a few quick sales, but it is not worth the harm it can cause by giving your business and domain a bad name. Focus on the long game.”
When you buy an email list, many “subscribers” could have old, fake, or invalid email addresses, and the legitimate ones probably don’t have an active interest in your business or industry. Furthermore, you run the risk of being flagged as a spammer, which could result in your actual customers never seeing your emails.
“When you purchase an email list, even if it’s from a reputable source, you could be putting your email and ad accounts at risk,” said Danielle Miller, social media marketer at Miller Media Management. “If too many people flag the email as spam (because they’ve never heard of you), all your future emails to them and others could end up in the spam folder.”
Buying an email list could damage your reputation and is not a reliable method of finding email addresses.
Once you’ve built your email list, there’s still plenty to do to get your marketing campaign up and running, and each campaign will need significant maintenance.
The best email marketing software and services can make your campaigns easier to manage and more professional. Most services include email list management to verify that your hard-earned email list is working well for you.
Here are some of our best picks for email marketing software that can improve your email marketing campaigns:
Sean Peek contributed to the writing and research in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.