Searching for tips on how to build an email list is frankly scary.
When I started looking for advice to include in this blog, about a third of what I encountered was terrible advice, from buying email addresses to ripping them from illegal tools.
Thankfully, I sorted through all that nonsense so you don’t have to. What you’ll get here are legitimate, high-value (and low-effort) ways to steadily bring in subscribers and grow your email list quickly.
You came here for list-building tips, and I won’t make you wait for them. Here is the best advice I came across while researching.
From any source I looked into, the number-one tip I saw was to use your landing page to bring in email subscribers.
It makes sense. Most people have a website or landing page, and web forms are one of the easiest ways to build an email list (but more on that later).
But what does this look like in practice?
As an example, I’m an e-commerce business owner looking to grow my list. I would like to collect new subscribers from a web form. Here’s how I’d do it.
This falls under the category of offering value in exchange for subscribers’ email addresses.
Come up with what I like to call “extra mile” content (that’s in-depth guides, training videos, ebooks, spreadsheets, and so on). Then, tease that content and what your subscribers can expect to get from it.
Last thing, let your audience know that they can get access to this extra perk by inputting their email address. It’s that simple.
I know it’s old-fashioned, but it works.
This is a strategy our own email expert Nathan Ellering has used in the past at events like trade shows.
That’s something standard advertisements or calls to actions don’t offer.
I recommended using a landing page earlier, and while that’s still a good idea, don’t put all your eggs in any one basket.
Add calls to action to your:
Besides being a surefire way to stay in compliance, double opt-ins give you an audience that is far less likely to unsubscribe.
At its core, a double opt-in is simply a verification of each person’s subscription. It involves sending an email with a button for readers to click to confirm that they want to receive emails from you.
That’s crucial because subscribers who have to intentionally opt into your list are much more likely to engage with your emails and stick around longer.
Word of mouth is a powerful tool, and you don’t have to take my word for it. The numbers tell us that 92% of your customers trust referrals from people they know.
“Implement a referral program that rewards subscribers for referring friends and family. Word-of-mouth can be a powerful tool for list growth.”David Cohen
CEO, Love Rose
Offer up a discount or perk to subscribers who refer the people in their lives to your brand. This is not only a list-building tool but also a shortcut to contacts who already have a good impression of your organization.
While we’ve covered some basic tactics for bringing contacts into your email list, it’s also crucial to know the psychological principles that drive people to subscribe.
In social psychology, there’s the concept of reciprocity: people often respond to others’ actions with a similar action.
For instance, if someone gives you a gift, you’ll most likely be compelled to give them a gift (or at least a heartfelt thank-you).
Similarly, you wouldn’t ask a salesperson to give you their product free and clear without paying them anything, so don’t ask for email addresses without offering something valuable in return.
That could be:
Basically, make sure it’s of value to your subscribers. Be sure to lead your messaging with this offer to give your customers a good incentive to opt in.
But of course, you will eventually have to ask your audience for a few things. That’s to be expected. Just make sure that you make a small, easy ask first before you move to a bigger one. This is a classic sales tactic that’s known as the foot-in-the-door technique (sometimes also called “yes loading” or the “yes ladder”).
That might mean asking customers to click an opt-in link first (allowing them to sign up to your list in one click), then asking them for more detailed data once they’ve subscribed (so you can personalize future emails).
You’ll have a lot more success structuring your “asks” this way because you’ll avoid intimidating your subscribers.
Let’s say you meet someone who’s well-dressed and has a fantastic sense of humor. You might subconsciously think, “I bet this person is successful and has lots of friends. That’s a textbook example of the halo effect.
The halo effect is a cognitive bias where our impression of a person in one area influences our opinion of them in other areas.
While this might not be a familiar term to non-email marketers, the guiding principle is this: Every impression of your brand on the audience matters, so be sure that what you give them is worth it.
Which is to say, be intentional about what you send your subscribers every time.
Compliance with email marketing industry laws and guidelines is vitally important to the success of your emails, so it helps to go into building your list with a good understanding of what that means.
Although there’s a lot to know about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the main points to know are:
📖 Read more: Comparing email and SMS marketing
A solid opt-in method is by far the best way to start your list-building efforts off on the right foot. Here are two of the most effective and popular methods out there.
You’ve likely seen a web form before in your travels across the Internet. They are designed to collect new subscribers’ names and contact information in a compliant, convenient way.
Although the process of creating these forms varies depending on the email service provider you use, the basics go something like this:
This one is a texting-and-email double whammy. The first step is to set up an SMS keyword and advertise it to your audience.
When they text the keyword to your number, you’ll include a link where they can subscribe to your email list in your auto-confirmation message.
As soon as they do, set up an automated email asking them to verify that they want to receive emails from you.
This combo will help you fill up both your text and email lists while ensuring that your subscribers will stay engaged and tuned in.
Once you’ve got subscribers pouring in, it’s important to keep those subscribers organized so you can keep future emails relevant to their interests and highly personalized.
This is more than just a nice-to-have, by the way. Email marketers who personalize their emails see 27% higher click rates (unique) and 11% higher open rates.
So, how do you go about getting the data you need, and what do you do with it?
Data collection is precisely what it sounds like—a way to collect the details you need from your subscribers.
Through email, that mostly boils down to asking some questions through things like surveys, polls, or quizzes.
Regardless of the format you choose, though, what kind of data should you collect? Well, it depends on the type of business you run and the kind of emails you intend to send, but here are some common choices among business owners and operators.
Once you’ve got the data you need, you’ll want to break your overall subscriber list into groups with something in common, or “segments.”
This is usually done in one of two ways through your email provider.
Once you have a list of contacts, you can go on to create and send marketing emails, newsletters, and other types of messages. Then, integrate your email strategy with the rest of your marketing channels, like SMS, social media, and referral programs.
Lily is a content marketing specialist at SimpleTexting. She specializes in making helpful, entertaining video content and writing blogs that help businesses take advantage of all that texting has to offer. When she’s not writing or making TikToks, you can find Lily at roller derby practice or in a yoga studio in the Seattle area.More Posts from Lily Norton
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