Seven Ways to Build Your Email List
By Neil Anuskiewicz
February 26, 2009 — Building and maintaining email lists is a challenge for all email marketers. However, if done well and consistently, the rewards in terms of new business and customer loyalty can be great. The following outlines seven strategies for tackling the list building challenge.
1. Make your list or e-newsletter sign-up forms very easy to find
On many Web sites it is difficult to find the sign-up forms. The forms are often hidden below the fold and only on the main index page of the site.
When someone comes to your site and leaves without even realizing you had an e-newsletter to sign up for, then you have missed out on a valuable prospect for your product or service.
Put your sign-up forms or buttons leading to forms in prominent places and on as many pages of your Web site as you find appropriate. That way, you capture the subscription of everyone who is interested before they click away, possibly never to return.
3. Provide good incentives to subscribe
In many cases, special discounts and offers available exclusively to email list subscribers are all the enticement that a website visitor needs to subscribe. If you are an expert in your field, many people will be enticed by the prospect of receiving valuable information through your e-newsletter. You can further leverage your knowledge by offering whitepapers or webinars as an added incentive to sign up for your list.
4. Ask for just the right amount of information
There is a fine line between asking for too little information and asking for too much. You do not want to end up with lists where you know very little about the industry or preferences of your subscribers. On the other hand, you do not want the sign-up form to be so long that the potential subscriber decides it is not worth the trouble. It is a tough balance to strike and may require some testing to get it right.
5. Make use of your Email Service Provider's multiple forms feature
Some Email Service Providers (ESPs) provide a multiple forms feature. Multiple forms enable you to have different offers right on the same site or on separate pages and websites. For example, you could have an offer for coupons and another for a whitepaper or webinar in the same place. A simple sign up for your email list or e-newsletter form can work very well, too.
6. Use the Forward to a Friend feature of your ESP
Most ESPs have a forward to a friend feature. If your subscribers like your content, some will forward to a friend, which can yield you more valuable subscribers. It is best to go beyond just the "forward to a friend" link or button and create more of a call to action in the email: "If you know someone who might find value…" To make it easier to the receiver of a forwarded email to subscribe to the list, you might want to put a link to the subscription form right in the email.
7. Share your Knowledge
If you share your knowledge of your industry in articles, blog posts, etc., you can drive more traffic to your website and get more email list subscribers. For example, many websites that publish articles have a space for you to include a "bio" section where you can include a little bit about yourself including a link to your website. Try to make this a text link to drive traffic and work toward increasing your search engine ranking. Sharing your knowledge is a great way to get more email list subscribers and prospective customers.
Once you have people on your lists, continue sharing your knowledge as well as making offers. Emails that your subscribers find relevant and timely will keep them on your list and keep them interested. Consistency is the key to long-term subscribers and customer loyalty.
Neil Anuskiewicz is the Business Development Director for StreamSend Email Marketing service.