6 Ways to Build an Email List From Scratch
Jill Moyer | January 24, 2017

Email List

It’s incredibly easy to acquire an email list. Just type the words “email list” into any search engine and numerous pages of email lists are instantly available to purchase. There’s one problem, though, and it’s a big one; purchasing email lists is a horrible idea. Why? Because emails sent to a purchased list aren’t reaching qualified leads. The opt-out rates and lack of response will be astronomical. Also, purchasing an email list is a good way to begin eroding brand credibility.

The alternative is to build a custom email list from the ground up. More work and resources are involved, but the results will produce much greater benefits. You’ll be able to reach highly targeted segments of your audience with compelling messaging that speaks to their needs.

There are six general rules to building an email list that converts leads into customers.

1. Offer a Unique Value Proposition

What would convince your ideal customer to give you their email? The key is to offer something valuable that makes the exchange feel like a no-brainer to qualified leads. The most common way to accomplish this is by creating a lead magnet. Most lead magnets offer something free to the lead in exchange for their email address. E-books, white papers, newsletters, product demonstrations, trials, and consultations are common lead magnets.

2. Leverage Social Media

Chances are a good chunk of your target market hangs out on social media. As the old adage states, go where your customers are. Use demographics and targeting data to determine the best social platforms to dedicate your time and resources towards.

4 Simple Ways to Leverage Social Media

  1. Participate in live events. Facebook live, Twitter chats, and Instagram live are powerful tools that can be used to attract qualified leads.
  2. Share high-quality content that links to landing pages or web pages with opt-in forms. The quality of your shared content has a big impact on the interaction your brand receives. Share content your ideal customer would engage with willingly.
  3. Advertise. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn all have state-of-the-art advertising platforms. Take the time to formulate a campaign that has the potential to convert leads and then put some ad money behind it.
  4. Run contests. Everyone likes the idea of winning. Your prize needs to offer value and get leads excited enough to participate. Contests and sweepstakes are a great way to promote brand awareness by demonstrating your commitment to satisfying customers.

3. Prepare Your Website

Every page on your website should give visitors the option to opt-in to your email list. If you’re not actively providing options to join your email list you’re potentially losing thousands of qualified leads every year. Opt-ins don’t have to be intrusive, they just have to inform the visitor of the value you offer them.

4. Optimize Opt-Ins

Opt-ins can easily feel like they’re ads. Leads will avoid anything that appears salesy or pushy in a heartbeat. Your opt-in messaging needs to highlight the things your target audience loves about your brand while offering a solution to a problem they have.

Research what your competitors are doing and review your email data to determine which messaging elements will work best.

5. Host Online Events

Webinars, podcasts, and video streaming events can produce a large amount of email subscribers in a short period of time. Webinars are the most effective way to build an email list using online events. With the right promotion, you can build anticipation for weeks on end that culminates in a large online attendance. If your content is good and you offer attendees free downloads in exchange for their email addresses, you’ve most likely built a winning combination.

6. Run A Promotion

Online contests, giveaways, and discounts can attract a lot of attention. It’s a good idea to limit the number of promotions you run. You don’t want the audience to perceive your products and services as being “cheap”. Find a balance between offering a valuable promotion and maintaining brand integrity. A great way to run credible promotions is to partner with another respected brand.

The goal of building a custom email list is to grow a database of leads that are interested in what you have to say, what you sell and trust your brand. Take advantage of nurturing campaigns to build a relationship with your email list that will pay dividends for many years to come.

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