5 Ways To Build an Email List From Scratch

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If you’re a new business owner or operator wondering how to build an email list, rest assured you’re not alone. Email is one of the most – if not the most -effective online marketing channels today, but it’s also a tough nut to crack.

As the internet seems to be overtaken by social media likes and memes, email is still the gold standard for customer communication, and if used correctly it can be a very effective way of generating sales and ensuring customer loyalty. An established and extensive email marketing list can also increase the value of your website because buyers value sites that have already built up a customer following.

Getting customer email addresses can be tricky, though. Research shows that it costs five times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one, and so you should expect to dedicate a significant level of resources to building your email list.

There are, however, some techniques that can be very effective in maximizing the time and money you spend on collecting email addresses. In this article, we’ll show you five of them.

1. Create A Personalized CTA

A core principle of marketing your email list – and, in fact, a core principle of any kind of marketing – is to make your CTAs as specific and personal as possible.

When building the CTAs on your website, you should remember that the vast majority of your visitors are looking for something specific, and not just cruising the web in the hope they find something useful. Let’s say a particular page on your site is attracting a lot of traffic, and that page is called “List-Building Strategy”. Instead of a generic CTA like “sign up for our email newsletter”, make a specific CTA for that page that invites customers to “enter your email to receive our list-building toolkit”.

Research conducted by HubSpot has found personalized calls-to-action have a 42% higher view-to-submission rate than generic CTAs.

2. Pop-Ups and Slide-Ins

Using pop-up windows is something of an art form. We all know that pop-ups can be really irritating, but they can also be very effective in prompting visitors to give you their email address.

Most of the best website builders today offer advanced tools for targeting and timing your pop-ups, and you should use them. One strategy is to time your pop-ups so that they only appear after a visitor has spent a certain amount of time on your site. This means that they have a chance to read about what you are offering, and are less likely to be annoyed by the prompt.

This was the approach that Digital Marketer used in a case study, and it was very successful. By timing a pop-up to appear after 15 seconds, they managed to generate 2,689 leads in two weeks, and increased their average time on page by 54%. They also made sure that these pop-ups highlighted the value of subscribing to their email list, which we’ll come to shortly.

3. Humor

Using humor in your CTAs can also be a very effective way of reaching your customers. Today, we are so used to CTAs popping up on every site we visit that in most cases we just ignore them. Injecting a bit of personality into your CTAs with specific phrases and techniques can be a great way of cutting through the noise.

Your aim should be to show that your business is run by humans and that you are trustworthy and friendly. Using humor is a good way to do that, and can also help you to quickly build up a strong eCommerce community: if your customers feel that they are dealing with a friend rather than a faceless business, they reward you with increased loyalty.

4. Highlight Value

Perhaps the most important aspect of your CTA is the value it offers to your customers.

Just think about the email lists that you subscribe to. If you haven’t marked a particular company’s emails as spam, that’s likely because you find them genuinely useful. No one wants another generic email newsletter so create inviting newsletters and be unique. What they want is information that is timely and relevant, delivered to them directly.

In practice, this means that you should avoid asking your customers to “sign up” or “subscribe” to your email list. Instead, make it clear what your emails can offer your customers: “download our exclusive content”, or “get access to our in-depth guides.” If you find yourself stuck for an enticing idea, consider producing an industry specific product. This company keeps the sign-up business brisk with free invoice templates for small business owners, which offer real world value beyond the the nebulous promise of a weekly newsletter.

Varying and personalizing your email content in this way also has another huge advantage: it makes it less likely that your emails get automatically marked as spam, and deleted. Email systems are now pretty good at detecting the most common email scams, and they do this by checking if your emails are too generic. In short: personalize your content, and your customers actually receive it.

5. Pitch Your Email Newsletter On Social Media

If you really want to build an email list quickly and effectively, social media must be a part of your strategy. Move away from the standard content-based CTAs, and use your social media profiles to pitch your email newsletter. The people who are following your business on social media are already interested in what you are doing, after all, so it makes sense to take advantage of this interest.

Using social media to promote a new business is best when you leverage the power of these channels, rather than relying on your customers checking their social media feeds. Use your social media posts to stress the variety of ways that your customers can stay engaged with your business – including your website and your email newsletter – and you can ensure that you are using every channel you have available.

Further, make sure that you’re sending an email to your social media followers when they’re most likely to open it. Research shows that the best time to send email is in the evening around 6-7pm, and then again later at night after 9pm.

Going Further: How To Build Your Email List

These five tips should get your email marketing list off to a great start, but remember that email marketing is a process, not an event. You need to continually vary your content and offer to keep existing customers engaged, and you should try to ensure that your email marketing list is constantly growing.

Once you have established a list, you should also make sure that you regularly audit it. Make sure that you are storing personal information safely, and delete any emails that don’t work. Above all, keep your email content fresh, and make every email valuable to your customers, and they’ll want to keep reading them.

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