How To Build Your Lists
Wondering How To Build Your Lists?
Email marketing is a high-impact, low-cost way of quickly delivering your marketing message. The key is to build your lists with quality targeted prospects eager to receive your information. This article will give you some great tips on how to build your lists the right way.
1. Put out that sign-up sheet
Whether you are at a trade show, local community event, business presentation, or in your own storefront, collecting email addresses in person can be as easy as putting out a signup sheet and encouraging people to write down their information so you can follow up with them via your email marketing system.
2. Leverage those business cards
When you meet people face to face at social or business events, ask for their business card. Offer your card. If you have a storefront, set a glass bowl on the counter in your store or the reception desk in your office, and ask visitors to drop their cards in it. Offer some incentive to do so such as a free product or service, gift card, etc. Add an offer on the back of your own business card that encourages people to sign up to receive your emails.
3. Host a local event
Stage an event that would appeal to your target market. Maybe a business lunch gathering, live discussion group, book club or whatever works to get people in the door. Drop invitations at nearby businesses. Post an event in your Facebook account. Advertise in local media. Ask people to RSVP with their email addresses. Be sure to include the sign up sheet at the event itself.
4. Invite people to “join the club”
Offer a birthday or anniversary club that allows people to subscribe to your list by providing their email address and relevant date. Reward them with a special offer for signing up. Follow up with something special such as a discount coupon on their birthday or anniversary date.
5. Organize a giveaway
Create an offer such as a free sample or gift. Ask folks for their email address to be entered in to the drawing or give-away.
6. Drum up emails with direct mail
Many businesses still use direct mail. Include an offer in your next mailing to have them join your list to receive an exclusive offer that will only be sent to your email list. One restaurant in Michigan uses this approach to send coupon offers only to email subscribers. The offer cannot be seen anywhere in the store.
7. Try some telemarketing
Throughout the day, you probably interact with customers and prospects over the phone. Before you hang up, always ask if they would like to join your email list. Give them a brief explanation of the benefits of subscribing. For example: exclusive offers and discounts only available to email subscribers.
8. Optimize your website for opt-ins
If a customer or prospect visits your website, they are already at least somewhat interested. Don’t miss this golden opportunity to add them to your email list. Include email registration forms on every main page of your site, as well as on the pages for popular products and services. Make sure you are getting the most bang for your advertising buck.
9. Build your lists with your blog
Your blog provides a great way to build a personal relationship with customers and prospects (just like this one). Make a point to end your blog posts with a call to action that encourages readers to sign up for your email messages. (We generate a lot of leads this way)
10. Build your lists through social media
Social media participation can allow you to reach new audiences and make new connections. Use social media to encourage people to visit one of your marketing channels where they can sign up for your email list.
11. Bring the bouncebacks back
We all hate to see the dreaded bounceback alert in our inbox. If you have collected snail mail information to match an email address, send a postcard asking the contact to provide you with an updated email address so you can stay in touch. You might even consider rewarding them with a discount or freebie for taking the time to respond.
12. Partner up with other local businesses
Consider sharing email lists with neighboring businesses. Offer them space in your own newsletter in exchange for including a link with your opt-in form in their newsletter. This edification endorsement can help you build your lists and lead to new sales.
13. Don’t let website visitors get away
If a visitor gets through your entire website without joining your list, you are losing sales. Set a lightbox to appear asking for an email address whenever someone is about to navigate away from your website or blog.
14. Create an online community
Web platforms like WordPress make it easy to set up a community and start some interaction between your brand and your customers. Include a sign-up form for your newsletter on every page of the community. This helps you build that “know, like, and trust” factor that can help you drive sales.
15. Leverage the “forward” option for your subscribers
Encourage your subscribers to forward the link to your sign-up page or recent article to friends and family.
16. Don’t forget your own email
Be sure every email you send has link to your opt-in form so that anyone who receives one of your emails. Check your email program for instructions on creating a signature file for each email you send.
17. Use Foursquare (offline businesses)
Offer a reward for customers who buy something from you when they check in at your business on Foursquare using their mobile device. When they do this, they are telling everyone in their network that they’ve done business with you. Each month, you could reward the person who gave you the greatest exposure by offering them a discount. To qualify, they need to give you their email address.
18. Be active on blogs and forums
Visit the same blogs and forums your customers do. Offer insightful and helpful comments. Add value to the discussions. Be sure to include a link to your website where visitors will find your opt-in form.
19. Get employees involved
Reward employees for collecting valid, verifiable email addresses. Remember to have them obtain the person’s consent before giving you the email address for your list.
20. Encourage customers with a daily deal
Daily deal sites can be useful for retail or local service businesses. Offer a discount (daily deal) through the site for a limited time and ask anyone who wants to grab the deal to provide their email address in exchange.
21. Word of mouth still rocks
Ask current and new customers to refer new subscribers to your list. Sweeten the deal by offering them a discount as a reward for valid, confirmed email addresses.
22. Encourage forwarding
Encourage your subscribers to forward your content to someone they think will find it interesting. Make sure the link directs newcomers to a page with your opt-in form.
23. Serve up a sandwich board
Sandwich boards are nothing new, but here’s a new approach. Place one on the sidewalk in front of your storefront or office to advertise your newsletter. Offer a reward to anyone who signs up. Invite customers into the store to enroll. This gives you the opportunity to meet them and offer an in-person incentive. Or give them the web address where they’ll find your opt-in form.
24. Use those receipts to build your lists
Customize your credit card receipt with a field/line where customers can jot down their email address while they’re signing. Or, simply ask them to write their address on the back of the receipt if they would like to join your list. At the end of the day, enter the addresses into your database.
25. Take it to the street fair
All year long, your community probably has at least one street fair or similar event, right? Participate in those events and collect email addresses right at the fair. Sweeten the deal by offering new subscribers a discount on their first (or next) purchase in exchange for sharing their email address with you. You can also promote your participation in the next upcoming event by sending the promotion out to your existing list.
26. Encourage competition
Sponsor a video contest in which customers create a one-minute video testimonial about why they like your business, products or services. Ask them to send the videos to you and post them to your Facebook page. Invite visitors to vote on which video should win a prize.
27. Go mobile
When you are out in the real world at a tradeshow, business meeting or other public forum, use your smartphone to collect email addresses. It’s much faster and easier than collecting and then processing business cards.
28. Think inside the box
If you ship products, it’s a perfect opportunity to expand your email list at no cost! Include an inbox request on a card inside every package you ship. Be sure to incentivize subscribers with “email only” offers. After they subscribe, redirect them to a page where they will receive their first promotional offer.
29. It’s only a bill?
When you send out an invoice, include an option to sign up for email communications with you. Again, sweeten the deal by offering an incentive such as a discount or free shipping on the next order as a reward for providing email addresses.
30. Become the local expert
Offer to do a presentation at your local Chamber of Commerce or other business networking group. At the end of your presentation, invite any attendees to join your lists to learn more or receive special offers.
31. Network for emails
As you are attending your local Chamber of Commerce or another business networking meeting, make sure the people you meet know how to join your list to receive more information.
32. Download freebies
That e-book or buying guide you created to establish leadership in your industry can also help build your email list. When visitors to your website request a free download, ask them to complete your opt-in form in order to download.
33. Speak up for yourself
Speaking with people about your business is always a good idea. Be sure to weave into your talk the idea that more information can be found on your website. Offer free consultations in exchange for signing up for your newsletter and emails.
34. Give it away
Every month, offer a giveaway of a valuable or fun item to anyone who signs up for your email list.
35. Give them subscription options
People like more choices, so consider creating subscription levels that let people sign up to receive content that’s relevant to them. People may be more likely to sign up for your email list if they have some control over the content they’ll receive. Customize your content to meet their interests to have more impact.
36. Don’t forget the power of print
Your print ads and direct mail should include information on how to join your list to receive special exclusive offers.
37. Leverage testimonials
Make your opt-in form more enticing by including testimonials from current email subscribers singing the praises of your content or service.
38. Create a teachable moment
Are you an expert in something people want to know about, like weight loss, home improvement, cooking, etc.? Promote an exclusive online email course available only to subscribers.
It takes time to build your lists. Email marketing is absolutely critical to success in the digital age. What tactics do you use to build your lists?
TrafficWave also has the option to buy leads through our proprietary resources. Learn more here: