Building an email list is one of the most critical factors for your startup, as entrepreneurs rely more and more on digital marketing to generate and increase sales. Some say cash is king. Well, now email is king when it comes to building a business online. Creating an email list based on your target market is one of the first priorities when you’re starting. Email lists not only have higher conversion rates, they also act as an owned media resource providing full control to the owner.
In other words, if Facebook, Twitter, or any place where you build a following disappears, you will still have your list. Use it anytime you want, at the launch of new product/service or when offering discounts at special occasions, to get instant results.
The best way to build an email list is to just use your own website. But is it that easy? It takes time and patience and, of course, creativity. Here is how you can get started.
1. Use an Opt-in Form
The first step is to capture your web traffic. If you get 1,000 visitors a day, the opt-in form is the best way to determine how many of that 1,000 will repeatedly come back. Return visits ain’t loyal. A visitor will most likely opt-in if they vibe with your content and if the written copy is right. Check out Darren Rowse and his team at Copyblogger’s solid piece on putting together an opt-in page.
2. Create a Lead Magnet
A lead magnet is simply an item you give away in exchange for the visitor giving you their email address. The opportunities are pretty endless here: eBook, report, resource list, special interview, podcast, etc. You should know what your audience wants most and have them give you their email to get it. One of the first lead magnets we had at The Phat Startup was a book that James and I wrote: How to Grind Like Diddy. We knew the majority of our visitors were Hip Hop-influenced, business-minded people. It was a no-brainer.
Tip: Make sure you are offering your incentive with a clear, loud, catchy, and visible headline. The next rational step is to place the headline at the most visible and readily seen area on the website or on every web page.
Try Smart Bar app by SumoMe, a great online resource that offers tons of paid and free resources for building email lists. Smart Bar allows websites to create an opt-in header bar at the top of each web page.
3. Make Social Media Useful
Make sure to integrate the opt-in form to other possible platforms of traffic like social media. Use the same incentives to lure more followers/fans to provide their email addresses. Make sure to create a standout tweet/post on social media platforms promoting your opt-in magnet on the website every week or two (based on the growth rate of your SM platforms). This will not only drive traffic to your website, but you will gain new emails every time.
Similarly, use and manage Facebook ads to grow your target list. Make use of the WCA (Website Custom Audience) feature by Facebook which allows you to target audience who has previously visited your website.
4. Consistent Content
Ever heard of content marketing? It’s basically using content to get new eyes on your product or service. Are your reading this article right now? Then you are a product of our content marketing. Our hope is that by coming to this site, you will subscribe to our newsletter. Maybe then, you’d be interested in attending one of our conferences, booking us to speak, etc. You have to keep making content that you know your audience wants to read, then you give it the opportunity to opt-in.
5. Online Tools and Resources
Make use of exceptional online tools and resources developed to assist businesses as they build and manage email lists. Free resources like AppSumo and Hello Bar can help collect emails when integrated on your website. Use AWeber or MailChimp to store email addresses; note that they are not free (except for a trial period). If you are managing a WordPress website, there are tons of free and paid online plugins that can help you create and manage email lists. For example, use the MailMunch plug-in to create an opt-in form. Use of a pop-up, especially after 10 to 20 seconds, can result in the highest conversion rate.
There are tons of more resources available today for building email lists out of which many are free. Follow the steps in the article and choose the tools wisely to build a highly effective email list with greater conversion rate.