It’s a common refrain in the online marketing business that “the money is in the list.” Having a large email list of engaged buyers is one of the keys to growing a business. So how do you build such a list when you are just starting out? There are five steps you can take toward getting your first 1,000 subscribers.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is the process of building and maintaining a list of existing and potential customers, and marketing your products directly to them. The names on the list are those of people who have opted in to receive your communications, so it’s not considered spam. The fact that they voluntarily provide their email address makes them a prime target to sell to, hence the inherent value in maintaining a list.
How do you build your list?
There are several crucial steps to take, especially if you want to build your list to 1,000 or more subscribers. While it does take some time to build your list, setting the proper foundation in place will ensure you maximize your potential as quickly as possible.
1. Create engaging content
If you do nothing else, ensure that you have informative and engaging content on your website. Whether your products are of a physical or digital nature, creating informative content does two things.
First, it establishes you as an authority in your niche. The more information a potential client can glean from the information you present, the more they will see you as an authority and be likely to purchase your product.
Secondly, engaging the reader adequately can frequently result in the reader sharing your content via social media, which is vital for name recognition. Similarly, webmasters may choose to link to your product, which is an important part of an effective search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. The backlinks will mark your content as trusted content in the eyes of the search engines and improve your site’s rankings. Google’s Trust Factor metric uses perceived authority as a way of calculating how high your site should rank.
In any case, creating engaging content will not only keep your potential customers engaged, they will be more likely to share it and sign up for your email newsletter.
2. Invest in an autoresponder
Having the proper app to handle all aspects of your email list is crucial. The top three are Aweber (aweber.com), GetResponse (getresponse.com), and MailChimp (mailchimp.com). While there’s a cost associated with their use, it’s well worth it.
These apps integrate seamlessly with most web content management systems such as WordPress, and make it easy to add a “subscribe now” box to your site. They also offer a host of features such as double opt-in and advanced statistics, so you can safely send spam-free emails while monitoring every aspect of your campaign.
Perhaps more importantly, these paid services have a higher delivery rate than the free alternatives. Free email services, by their nature, are more likely to be used by spammers, and as a result, emails sent from these providers are at risk of being routed to the junk mail folders of most email clients.
To ensure you reap the maximum potential of your email list, make sure you invest in one of the top three mailing list managers.
3. Create an incentive
Once you’ve created excellent content for your site, the next step is to entice the reader to submit their email address to be added to your list. You can do this by giving them something in exchange for their email address.
The giveaway will be something related to their niche that answers specific questions the reader may have. It should be something with an inherent value, as the reader needs to view it as something desirable in order to give up their personal information.
Some email marketers spend months creating their giveaways. The investment of time is rewarded by the number of subscribers their websites draw. And while you don’t need to spend nearly that amount of time creating your freebie, it’s vitally important to make it something that your potential customers will care about.
In addition, it’s an opportunity to create a presell, something that will leave the reader wanting more and will dovetail into a particular product you are selling. Making your giveaway a presell will inform, educate and engage the reader, while whetting their appetite for your products or services.
4. Engage your list
It’s not enough to simply blast out emails to your customers; you need to provide them with value. Consider it a privilege that your subscribers choose to remain on your list. The best way to keep them there is to provide them with information they will gladly use. The key here is to take a balanced approach between selling and educating.
Spend a couple of hours a week writing daily or frequent emails that will keep your customers interested. Follow a formula of “fifths,” meaning that for every five emails offering nothing but information, send one with a special offer for your services or products. This way, the reader will feel they are receiving valuable tips, and won’t mind the occasional “hard sell” email. Conversely, if you do nothing but try to sell to them, they won’t be interested in receiving your messages; not only will your subscriber list not grow, it will shrink.
5. Use social media
Finally, a great way to grow your email list is to share your content on social media. Start and maintain a Facebook page for your business, and offer incentives via a link to your site. Twitter is another excellent way to gain subscribers, as you can tweet out relevant links with the appropriate hashtag. Finally, make a habit of posting all your articles on Redditt. You’ll find your website hits will grow and your subscriber list will increase accordingly.
Make it easy for your readers to share your content on social media by adding share buttons to your posts. This is easily done if you use a content management system such as WordPress, as social media share plugins are freely available.
It’s important to create unique, engaging and informative content, and to keep your readers interested while offering them an incentive to join your list. By following these steps, you’ll quickly find yourself on your way to your first 1,000 email list subscribers.