How to Build an Email List from Scratch

To join the two-thirds of businesses that rank email marketing as their most profitable marketing strategy, you first need to know how to build an email list from scratch.

Fast-track your email marketing in eight steps

If I introduced you to a marketing method that produced an average ROI of $38 for every $1 invested, you’d be a fool not to jump all over it. Welcome to email marketing, which two-thirds of businesses list as their highest earner. Great statistics, especially for highly targeted and competitive businesses such consultancy, coaching and training. However, also useless numbers if you don’t have an email list to market to.

The money is in the list

Your email list is the golden key to unlocking sales. Whatever your business, without a list you won’t be able to put into practice email campaigns that sell.

The better quality your list, the more likely you are to sell to it. Those contacts on our list – they aren’t just names plucked from thin air. They are people who have shown an interest in you, your skills, achievements, products and services. They’re already warm leads – a major reason why the ROI on email marketing is so high. Like they say, “The money is in the list.”

You’re sold on email marketing. The question that you now need answered is, how do you build an email list from scratch?

Here are eight steps to building an email list from zero.

Step #1: Know your audience

The first step is to understand who it is you are selling to. The more you know about them, the better. Find out where to find them online.

Step #2: Make sure your website works for you with enticing offers

You’ll probably make many connections through social media, but you must provide them somewhere to discover more about you and your business directly. That’s your website. The place from which you’ll be content marketing, to build your list further.

However, you don’t need hundreds of pages of content to start building your email list. The crucial page early on is a landing page that converts – one with an email opt-in form.

How do you get people to sign up? Make sure that your offer is exciting and enticing. Offer them something they want. A free resource that will make their life easier, or help them to grow their business – an eBook, some software, a whitepaper, etc.

Step #3: Sign up to an email marketing service

You’ve now got a strategy to reach out to your audience and help them add their name to your email list. Now you need a way to communicate with them; you need an email marketing service.

You may have heard of services such as MailChimp, AWeber, and Infusionsoft (there are many others, too). These email marketing services help you collect and organize your email contacts (this is called segmentation, which enables you to target your email list further – for example, by sending targeted emails to people who are interested in HR law, or to those interested in HR record keeping systems).

Email marketing services also enable you to set up and send marketing emails automatically. Marketing on autopilot.

Step #4: Create killer content to keep contacts coming back and find more

Now that you’ve started to build an email marketing list, you should create killer content for your website to ensure that your contacts keep coming back for more… and encourage them to share your content. This will help you to find more email subscribers.

Step #5: Add a call to action for each page

Mae sure that your content provides two things:

  1. Information
  2. Interest

Then, provide a way for readers to find out more: a call to action with a specific offer in exchange for an email address.

Step #6: Add a ‘slide-in’ to your content pages

Create a ‘slide-in’ that pops up after a visitor has spent a certain time on a page, or if he or she clicks away. Case studies have shown that this strategy alone can increase on-page time by 54% and, if they are done right, can massively boost engagement.

Step #7: Build on your network

By now, you’ve built a good-sized list of email contacts. You’ll also have connections on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other channels. Provide them with the option to sign up for your newsletter, latest eBook, etc. These people are already invested in you – help them to invest in you further. Include sign-up links on all your emails.

Step #8: Rinse and repeat

Your email service will do much of the marketing work automatically. Which means you have more time to build your email list. Go back to step one, and rinse and repeat.

And finally…

This email list strategy works, but you must remember that to market your list effectively you must build relationships with them. This means always providing interesting, informative content that resonates with your audience. Encourage them to ask questions. Conduct online surveys to discover what it is that concerns them most. The money may be in the list, but the conversion is in the relationship.

Have you started building your email list? What tactics have been successful for you? Share your successes in the comments.

What have you found to be your biggest challenge when starting to build your email list? Get in touch, and we’ll help you find the solution:

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