How to Build an Email Marketing List as Quickly as Possible
Email marketing isn’t as trendy as it used to be, but it remains a consistent source of leads and eventual customers for many marketing agencies and businesses.
Successful email campaigns rely on robust email marketing lists. This guide walks you through the best tips in the business for growing your email list and getting the most out of your leads.
1. Content Upgrades
Content upgrades could be the difference between your blog post converting at 6% and converting at 60%.
Upgrading content involves:
- Writing a blog post
- Creating a piece of content that goes more in-depth on the post’s topic
- Offering readers of your blog post the option to receive the upgraded content in exchange for their email
This strategy is brilliant in its simplicity. Your readers have already expressed interest in a topic by clicking through to the blog post. Why not take advantage of their interest by offering them more in exchange for their email address?
Although this method gets unrivaled results, it can also be one of the most time-consuming strategies. To cut down on time, see what others in your space are doing to achieve results; then do it better.
2. In-Email Social Sharing Options
Typically, your goal for sending out blog posts to your email marketing list is to obtain click-throughs to your website and generate site traffic.
Statistics show the presence of multiple links in an email (up to 11 maximum) increases CTR. Another study shows the average CTR for emails with social sharing options is 6.2%, while the CTR on emails without the sharing option is only 2.4%.
Even if your subscribers don’t read the article you post, each share is likely to be generating traffic from multiple visitors, which means more bang for your marketing buck.
3. Host A Giveaway
The more you can engage with your audience, the more likely they are to sign up for your email marketing list. One method for engaging your audience is a giveaway.
Tips for a successful giveaway include:
- A compelling prize your audience actually wants
- Bonus entries for referrals (the KingSumo Giveaways plugin makes this easy)
- Guaranteed bonus incentives for all non-winners (something you can give for free)
- Promotion to relevant audiences
You might be thinking, “Sure, a giveaway will grow my email list, but the emails will be low-quality, made up primarily of freebie junkies with no interest in buying my product.”
There’s a very simple way to solve this problem: make your prize something only potential customers will love.
For example, Videofruit once offered a prize of a 10-year subscription to Leadpages, an industry-leading landing page service. For someone in Videofruit’s target audience, which is online marketers, that’s a $3,000 value and an amazing prize. For someone who doesn’t work in marketing, it’s worthless.
Giveaways are a lightning-fast, guaranteed way to boost your email list. In addition to the direct benefit of more subscribers, giveaways can also increase your goodwill with existing subscribers since you are offering something to them for free.
4. Featured Opt-In Incentives
It’s rare to find a high-traffic website that doesn’t offer opt-in incentives like an Ebook, swipe file, white paper, resource list, free software tool, or any number of content types, but all of them serve as opt-in incentives for acquiring email subscriptions.
The difference between opt-ins and content upgrades is that featured incentives aren’t linked to a specific blog post, while content upgrades are. Most websites create one high-value opt-in incentive and advertise it via their:
- Lead capture top-bar
- Opt-in popups
- Blog post footer
- Author bio
The advantage of this strategy is efficiency. You only have to create a single re-usable piece of content to grow your email marketing list. This is a much more palatable option for small business owners who don’t have the bandwidth to produce upgraded content for each new blog post.
For example, Buffer, shown below, simply uses the free version of its flagship product as an opt-in incentive.
The featured incentive is a simple, straightforward way to immediately increase your subscription rate.
Most internet uses hate pop-ups, but the fact remains they can be a useful tool to bring in leads.
Case and point, Social Media Examiner attributes 70% of its 190,000 subscriptions to the site’s pop-up form. That’s an amazing number.
The best part about pop-ups is they are easy to implement. The steps for installing a successful popup are easy.
- Install a pop-up script or plugin
- Write a few lines of copy
- Watch your subscription rates jump
What about bloggers and companies targeting a non-marketing audience? They can use pop-ups to drive subscriptions.
Jumping even farther outside the marketing box, I installed SumoMe pop-ups on a men’s blog with astonishing results. When I analyze the data, it’s fairly obvious to see when the pop-up was installed, because within one month, my subscription rate more than doubled!
6. Leverage Social Proof
There’s no other way to put it: social proof is a powerful way to increase your email marketing list.
One of the keys to leveraging social proof is volume. The greater the numbers you have, the better.
For example, if you have 2,000 email subscribers, 10,000 Facebook fans, 15,000 Twitter followers, and 5,000 RSS readers, you’re doing better than most, but none of those numbers are particularly impressive. You want a potential subscriber to look at your “proof” and think, “Wow, a lot of people like what you’re doing!”
Why not just add all the numbers above together? 32,000 followers/readers/subscribers is a lot more impressive number.
Michael Hyatt is a great example of someone who does this well.
Look at that number in the top right corner of this image. The number of subscribers is 512,944, which is very impressive. This number is probably some type of combination of all possible follower formats, including his email subscribers, 241k Twitter followers, 57k Facebook fans, etc.
If all Michael had was the 57k Facebook fans listed right below the number of subscribers, I’m not nearly impressed. Combined with the big number above, however, the Facebook fan numbers serve as crucial verification of the number of total subscribers listed on the page.
The great news is that this strategy works for anyone.
If your combined, total number of subscriptions is calculated and you’re pleased with the result, include this information in your email marketing lists. You can also display the figure in your ads and on your website to draw readers in and gain their trust.
7. Name Drop
There are two types of people:
- People who care about what people think
- People who care about what those people think
For the second audience segment, your social proof won’t be nearly as effective as a well-placed name drop.
Name dropping and linking to another brand you respect is a way to borrow and leverage someone else’s authority and influence, while simultaneously establishing your own.
In our blog, we’ve name-dropped everyone from Forbes to President Obama:
- The Wall Street Journal
- Entrepreneur Magazine
- President Obama
- The United Nations
How does this apply to you, assuming you don’t have the POTUS on speed dial?
The beauty of the name drop is that you only need one. If you can find one credible brand willing to endorse you, your leads may be more willing to provide their emails and join your email marketing list.
You can try a number of things to earn links from credible businesses and brands.
You can try writing a post that is aimed specifically at the brand you’re going after. After you include a link to them on your post, it may be appropriate for you to send a “thank you” email that includes a link to your article. In some instances, this could encourage your targeted brand to give you a backlink in return.
Keep in mind that the blog post you send to your email marketing list needs to be of the highest quality. You want brands and credible sources to link to your posts because they add value and engagement.
Quality content will also organically earn you more leads over time that you can add to your email marketing list; credible brands want to link to credible content.
8. Customer Referrals via a Tasty Bonus
Nothing is more impactful on your purchasing decisions than the direct recommendation of a friend you trust.
People want to be happy and make their friends happy. If you are making the subscribers on your email marketing list happy, they will naturally want to share the love.
Your first option is to simply ask subscribers to refer your content to their friends and coworkers.
You can do a lot better than simply asking though. Make your leads an offer they can’t refuse; a bonus so tasty they would be foolhardy to say no.
GiftBasketsOverseas.com offers customers a $20-off coupon for referring a friend to their products. On top of that, the referred friend receives $20 off their first purchase.
Take people who like what you are doing, offer them an even better value, and provide them with the opportunity to share this same great experience with their friends at a discounted price.
Setting up a referral system is a fantastic way to quickly hack your email subscriptions. And best of all, you can do it yourself at a low cost. Here’s a how-to guide by Sacha Greif on setting up a simple referral system.
9. Partner With Influencers
There’s a reason celebrities command exorbitant rates for their endorsements. Influencers can do a lot to drive conversions.
Money isn’t the only currency you can use in partnering with influencers, however. There are a number of brilliant strategies you can use right now, regardless of your budget, to start partnering with the big dawgs.
The Poster Boy Strategy
Many of today’s influencers build their empires on some method, strategy, or knowledge base that supposedly helps people make money or accomplish something desirable.
They are “experts” attempting to sell themselves as teachers and in order to do so effectively, they need one thing: successful students.
Influencers need stories about how their strategies work, They need a “poster boy.”
To forge a relationship with the influencer, you can be their poster boy. This usually means you are going to be featured and talked about in all their marketing materials as a case study.
If you can become an influencer’s “success story,” you have landed yourself a lifetime partnership with a major influencer.
Fill a Need For Free
Anyone who is famous or even moderately well known in his/her niche is getting perpetually bogged down with promotion requests. People are asking, asking, asking all the time.
What most people aren’t offering to influencers is free products or services. If you can serve one of your influencer’s needs,
If you can help them out, without asking anything in return, you’re going to be building favor in the right places.
At a really basic level, a common example of this is guest blogging. Content providers need quality content on a regular basis. By giving them quality content at no-charge you are building goodwill with both the influencer and the influencer’s audience.
Join Forces With Tomorrow’s Influencers
Most of today’s top names in blogging and marketing started around the 2002-2005 mark. Many of them seek each other out and leverage each other’s audiences all the way to the top.
You can take this same long-term approach, but it requires you to begin looking in different places.
Start connecting with individuals at your current level of influence. Find people who are serious about building their brands, and work together to expand your collective influence.
Alexis Grant is a great example of someone who has successfully utilized this strategy.
Through her company Socialexis, she has connected rising influencers in multiple industries, collectively propelling sites like Brazen Careerist, The Penny Hoarder, and The Write Life while establishing herself as a blog publishing powerhouse.
10. Make Your Website Faster
Speed kills on the road, but on the Internet, it’s a lack of speed that will kill your conversion rate. You need to do everything possible to speed up your site.
This might seem like an obvious talking point, but you probably don’t realize how important each marginal increment of load-time is the higher your traffic numbers climb. Just take a look at these stats compiled by ViperChill.
- Amazon’s sales increase by 1% for every 0.1-second decrease in page load time.
- When Google tried showing 30 results per page at a cost of just 0.5 seconds in load time, traffic and revenue decreased by 20%!
- 40% of visitors will abandon a site after just 2 seconds of load time.
- Shopzilla increased its pageviews by 25% and its conversion rate by 7-12% after improving average page load speed by 4 seconds.
How do you speed things up?
One quick option is to install a caching plugin and use a content delivery network like Incapsula. Or like ViperChill did after the previously cited research, you could pay for your own dedicated server. Obviously, most businesses won’t be able to afford that option.
If you’re not sure how your site is performing, free tools like Ubersuggest or premium options like Searchmetrics will let you automatically crawl your site for errors, speed reports, SEO alerts, custom error reporting, scheduled site crawling, and automatic alerts.
The point is simply that site speed will affect 100% of your critical metrics. It should be a top priority for your website.
Webinars are one of the most efficient, versatile forms of content you will ever create, and they work like a charm for growing your email marketing list.
A solid webinar can be recorded in 15 minutes and serve as a standalone product, a product launch piece, or a cog in your direct-sales funnel.
Webinars are more compelling than regular videos because they have a limited run time. You can’t simply watch them whenever you want. You have to show up at the right moment, which A) creates a micro-commitment and B) generates urgency.
Viewers are often coaxed with a claim of “limited spots available,” creating a false sense of scarcity. Since attendance requires users to enter their email address, the right webinar or, better yet, the right series of webinars, can generate a massive influx of subscribers.
Adding contacts to your email marketing list can be accomplished through a number of strategies. Selecting the right strategy or strategies has the potential to increase your subscriptions and grow your brand’s following.
Creating and maintaining your email marketing lists and overall marketing strategy can be a hefty undertaking. Let us know if we can help.
Have you tried any of these strategies? How did they turn out?
Do you have something else in your tool belt we didn’t mention?
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