One of the main barriers that people come up with when they’re starting out in online marketing, is that they don’t really have a big list to send email campaigns to. Other channels like social media are preferred because you can just send your messages out into the ether and they’ll hit someone between the eyes. I always argue that an email list is a better starting point and shouldn’t be missed out because once you have these precious details, you can use them again and again (with relevant information) and if built correctly, you could have a really engaged audience who are just waiting to hear from you.
So how to build this list?
Well, the cheat’s way is to buy a list, quick and easy but quite dangerous, you don’t know where your list has come from, whether the people on it really want to hear from you and it’s actually not legal to spam consumers without their permission. Don’t do it!
It may be slower but to build one naturally will benefit you in the longer term. Here are a few things you can do to get started:
1. Put a sign up on your homepage
Most people sign up to get something back for example offers and promotions that they can’t get anywhere else. If you’re a B2B brand then offer guides or whitepapers. Make sure the sign up is not hidden in the bottom corner but looks appealing and bright.
2. Show them what they’re getting
Show an example email so they can see they’re not going to get rubbish in their inbox, it also gives them something creative to look at which will catch their eye instead of plain text.
3. Make it easy to sign up
Don’t have a long form that they need to fill in, it will put them off. And don’t ask them for reams of information in one go – they may not know the answers or want to give that much detail about themselves. Good data to catch is their Firstname, surname, email address and birthday. These will come in handy for personalising your campaigns later.
4. Get them to share
Once they’ve signed up then ask them if they want to share these offers with anyone else. Make it sound like they’re doing their friends a favour by forwarding on the sign up form. You can do this on actual content pages so if there is a special offer they like then encourage them to share it with their friends (who have to sign up to view the offer).
My final note on this topic is only send them what they asked for. No-one wants to be spammed and just because you have their details doesn’t mean this gives you the right to email them every time you feel like it. They will tell their friends and complain about your brand if you bother them and then no-one will want to sign up to your emails!
Set yourself some target numbers and use the variety of online resources there are on best practice email marketing. Once you have that list then you can start to refine your messages and you’ll find that you’ll soon have a list with a few thousand opted in recipients, ready to target.