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How do you Build an Email List?

Email has always been a fantastic marketing method with an impressive ROI. It is useful for increasing revenue and customer retention while being fairly easy to manage. But for new businesses or those that have never used it, how do you Build an Email List? As an experienced digital marketing company, we wanted to share a straightforward process any business can utilize.

The Power of Email

The true power of email marketing is the consistently high return on investment (ROI). For years, email marketing has been at the top or near the top of the list for ROI. Often in both B2B and B2C marketing, email will net an ROI of $40 or more for every $1 spent. While some people claim higher amounts, this figure has been reported more consistently across industries.

Additionally, there is the basic fact that the majority of people have an email address. That alone makes it one of the most effective methods for communication as it is much more direct compared to other marketing options such as keyword ads, banner ads, SEO, or various display methods and social media channels. This can be essential when it comes to customer retention and care.

How do you Build an Email List?

The best way to build is a list is with a coordinated effort:

  • Create a sign-up location – People need a place to sign up for your email list. The most common location is your business website, preferably with its own landing page. If this is not in place already, the design and implementation should take place before starting any other initiatives. Additionally, Call-to-action buttons should be added to other locations on your site to encourage any visitors to sign up. CTAs should be placed on the Home Page and all Landing Pages at a minimum.
  • Utilize an email platform – Effective marketing involves utilizing comprehensive platforms that will integrate tools, automate certain activities, and provide organization along with data analysis. MailChimp is an extremely popular option along with HubSpot and Constant Contact. Groups should be created for better personalization with emails.
  • Create user personas – A core aspect of marketing is understanding the target audience. For those who have not already taken this step, it is important for more effective email marketing. Along with the basic demographic zones we all use (age, location, income levels, marital status, kids) a focus needs to be placed on behaviors, motivations, and other critical decision-making influencers. What are their challenges? How about their fears? What challenges or problems do they need help with? Once you have a better grasp on who you are talking with, it makes it easier to know what to say and how to create content that engages and resonates.
  • Bait the hook – There needs to be a reason for the fish to chase a fishing hook, hence the bait. Customers obviously aren’t fish, but they are very busy and already have lots of shiny things being waved at them. You need to find something they either want, need, or care about to get that initial connection which will make them want to give you their contact information. People regularly use special offers, white papers or other in-depth content, or free introductory service of some type. The best way to figure out what you can use is by listening to your audience to understand the questions or problems they might currently have. Online communities and groups can be a great place to start.
  • Start with your own connections – Most everyone has a personal email list. In the case of a business, you probably have a contact list of vendors, customers, and other connections. Simply send them a short, direct email asking them if they would like to join the list and take advantage of whatever offer or incentive you have.
  • Automate a referral program – Each time someone joins the list, they should receive an introductory email, welcoming them and such. That email should include a secondary offer that will incentivize the new subscribe to refer others to earn discounts, swag, etc. Things like “share with 3 friends and be entered into a new subscriber drawing for a $100 Amazon Gift card” is a basic example. You can also automate additional “referral pushes” by retargeting subscribers 6 months after the initial signup with a “bonus referral offers”.
  • Include CTAs in blog posts – All content that is being pushed, such as a blog or social media posts, should include a CTA to sign up for your newsletter. For those people who are enjoying the content, an offer for additional information or staying regularly informed is much more enticing.
  • Use paid ads – This is more of an indirect method. Paid ads can be specifically targeted and combined with your customer personas, ensure that your message is going right after the people you want. That means a higher value customer for those that do sign up based on an interaction due to a paid ad. Essentially you are paying for a higher value lead.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that learning how to build an email list is important for anyone performing digital marketing for a business. The combined usefulness and effectiveness of email marketing makes it a very important arrow to carry in the marketing arsenal.


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