Building an email list is the single most important thing for new businesses. If you just set up a website this is your number one priority. Why? Because right now your company is nowhere, your brand doesn’t exist, and you have no following to speak of.
To begin a successful company you need to build an audience. And an email list is a tried and tested method of doing that.
Audience vs traffic
When you start a blog or set up a website you’ll hear a lot about traffic. Companies will send you ads offering to generate traffic on your behalf. You’ll read articles on how to increase traffic. But, a lot of this information is misleading. Because traffic in itself is useless. So, what if plugging your page on a certain platform gets you a few clicks. It’s all ultimately useless. The trick to making your business a success is converting traffic from first-time viewers into a dedicated audience.
Yes, people need to see your posts. But, more than that. They need to love them enough to want to come back for more. And the only way they will do that is if you send them frequent reminders. Remember, people have busy lives and limited attention spans. This is why when you log into any website, the first thing they do is ask for your email.
Now, we know if we give it to them they’re probably just going to spam us. And no one wants spam. Email spam is the modern door to door salesperson. Unwanted, forcing its presence, demanding your attention. So why does it still work? Because of one important reason. The promise of reward.
Give us your email and we will send you this top-secret solution to whatever problem you’re facing, promise these unnamed websites. And people fall for it. Because hey, who doesn’t like free products. People like feeling like they’re being given something useful for free. They feel like they’re cheating the system. When really they’re only feeding the system. This is essentially everything you need to know about email lists summarized.
How to build an email list?
Now that you understand why you need one the question becomes how do you build an email list from scratch? Well, with these simple steps anyone can build a great email list.
Even in this age of technology, most businesses get a lot of their clients through walk-ins. These are people who just walk into your store or office who are either looking for a product, or in most cases simply browsing. It is your employees’ responsibility to sell them something. To convince them that their lives would be incomplete without your product.
So, start offering business cards with your email address and social media accounts clearly listed. Place your cards in multiple locations. Hang them out in the street if you have to. Do the groundwork necessary. Remember, you need an in into these people’s lives and correspondence.
Do the same with inquiries you receive over the phone. Make it sound exclusive. Offer incentives. Tell them you’ll send them an email with all the details. Say there are discounts you give only to your subscribers. Make them feel like they’re missing out on something they could easily be a part of. If you tell them there are exclusive bundles they could potentially receive, most people will give in. After all, it’s only an email address, what could be more harmless?
As we mentioned earlier, opt-ins. When we talk about audience building what we generally mean is that we need to be targeted in our approach towards traffic. If you’re selling herbal beauty products you want to talk to people who’ll want to purchase those products. Putting up a billboard directly in front of a men’s gym or an elderly housing society isn’t going to benefit your brand.
That’s the beauty of opt-ins. The people visiting your website are likely people who have an interest in your specific niche. Which makes them more likely to purchase your products. Which makes them your target audience. Hence the power of opt-ins that allow you to add these people directly to your email list.
Use your blog
The best way to build a brand is to connect with your readers. Engage with them on a personal level. People don’t always want to feel like they’re being sold something. Your audience wants to know you care about their interests, that they’re important to you as people and not simply statistics. This is why blogs are so great.
You can use them to put out your unique voice. And personalize your approach to marketing. Try using your platforms, articles or videos, to converse with your audience instead of talking at them. Make it conversational and end your posts with a call to action. If your content did its job your readers will want to respond immediately. So, change your settings in a way that capitalizes on this. Ask for their email before allowing them to comment. Make the default setting inclusion on the email list. This way they will need to opt-out to avoid being put on the list. Most readers won’t bother.
Go after bounce backs
A common hurdle you will face in your effort to build an email list is bounce back emails. These are emails that never reach their recipient. And can occur for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they changed their email address. Or their inbox was full. Generally, your email list will flag these addresses. To prevent future emails from being sent to these addresses.
Now, it is your responsibility to make sure this doesn’t happen. These are not lost causes. If you’ve only begun building your email list you cannot afford to give up on bounce backs. Try sending postcards requesting updated contact information. Or offer special rewards and discounts to lure them back into the circle. Maybe even a free giveaway.
There are a lot of steps you can take to build a successful mailing list. But, at the end of the day, all you need to do is keep putting yourself out there. Use every channel available to you. Join an online community, participate in forums, and network.
Author: Chris Riviera
I’ve been an online entrepreneur since 2010, starting with IT freelance jobs on oDesk, then doing consulting for bigger companies and now having my own agency since 2014. Neat-Revenue.com is where I’m keeping track of all my knowledge and experience in the digital marketing space.