How to Build Your Email List

The biggest challenge for email marketers is also the biggest need: building an audience. The whole appeal of email marketing is that it’s a cheap, convenient way to keep in touch with customers and prospects—but before you can use email marketing to your advantage, you have to have customers and prospects. How do you find readers? What’s the secret to getting people to join your email list? What should you do? Here are some key tips.

Write Fantastic Email Content

Rule #1 to build your email list is to make your content valuable. What makes content valuable? There are many examples: coupons, updates, behind-the-scenes stories and photos, how-to guides, and more. What do your emails offer readers? Whatever your answer, make sure it’s something they find appealing. When you offer content of actual value, your readers not only appreciate it, but they also share the content with others. Referrals are one of the best ways to draw new readers.

Offer an Incentive

Give readers a powerful incentive for subscribing, and watch your list grow. Here are a few ideas for enticing people to join your list.

  • Host a Giveaway: Run a giveaway on your blog and make subscribing to your email list a way to enter.
  • Offer a Discount: If you sell a product or service, offer readers a 10% discount on their first order after subscribing to your newsletter.
  • A Free Download: Whether it’s an ebook, a PDF, or a graphic of some kind, a free download often helps get readers’ attention.

Add Sign-up Forms to Your Website

When you want people to sign up for your newsletter, you have to ask them.  So put the sign-up box somewhere prominent and in more than one space. Here are a few ideas:

  • Feature Box: A website feature box puts your email sign-up form front and center, somewhere that readers can’t miss it. This way, when someone likes your post, he or she has no trouble knowing where to enter an email address to sign up.
  • Top of Sidebar: The top of your sidebar draws a lot of eyes—Put your sign-up form there to attract interest.
  • At the Bottom of Each Post: Add a sign-up form to the bottom of your posts, either in an author bio or in a few lines of regular text.
  • At the Bottom of Your Site: Add a sign-up form on the bottom of your site by placing it in the footer. While this isn’t the most prominent spot on your blog, it is one that appears on every page.
  • On the About Page: Work a sign-up form into your About page, which is often one of the most popular pages on a site.
  • In a Bar at the Top of the Site: Some websites add a convenient feature bar to the very top of their pages and put a newsletter sign-up bar inside it. On the plus side, it gets attention; on the down side, readers tend to tune out the bars after a while.

Reach Customers at Point of Sale

Make sharing an email address part of the checkout process for customers. When someone is purchasing a product online, give him or her the option to share an email address in order to receive future updates. This option works well because customers making purchases are automatically more engaged visitors—and they’re more likely to have interest in your news.

Do you already use email marketing? If so, how have you been building your list? Why not put the above strategies into place to grow it further?



Shanna Mallon is a writer for Online Media Signals, a PR firm specializing in relationship building, content creation, and content marketing. 

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