Why Do I Need To Start List Building?
Novice entrepreneurs often miss out on the opportunity to make lasting connections with their customers. In these situations, most of their customers are only one-time shoppers. They go to the online shop. They buy something, or they don’t, and then they leave. In order to generate a base of loyal customers (or readers, or viewers, or voters), however, is to engage in list building. The most lucrative customers are repeat customers.
Why Build a Mailing List?
A mailing list is one of the most inexpensive and effective methods of advertising to potential and recurring customers. In contrast to the expense of commercials, radio ads, or blogger advertising space, emailing customers is an inexpensive but direct and intimate marketing tactic. The intimacy of list building is important. Advertisements can often seem imprecise or disconnected, but with email, an entrepreneur is forming a (somehow inexpensive) continuous relationship with their shoppers. Even if a shopper isn’t convinced to buy anything by the first email, he may be convinced by the second, or the seventh, or the tenth. Email marketing is long-term marketing.
Why not buy a Mailing List?
There are certain companies that sell and rent ready-prepared email lists. However, these lists are almost exclusively sub-par and ineffective. One of the most valuable facets of email marketing is the intimacy of the marketing—an intimacy that is absolutely ruined when the potential customer has no idea what the business does and has never asked to be contacted. Quality mailing lists filled with vibrant, consumerist internet users aren’t for sale. Email marketing that uses paid-for mailing lists are actually just spam. A business owner who abuses spam will have the reputation of his or her company compromised, and will suffer poor deliverability.
Consider the Email List Provider
In order to manage subscribers when list building, an internet entrepreneur needs to make use of some email list building service. Free email list building software is, in general, far less reputable than the paid services are. However, when just starting, a fledgling entrepreneur can use a free version of MailChimp, and even Gmail. Paid services offer more modes of categorization, ample storage space, and methods of cataloging responses to emails. Other popular premium services are Get Response, AWeber, ExactTarget, and Emma Mail, as well as the paid version of MailChimp. It is important to read unbiased reviews of list building software to determine what service is best suited for a particular company.
How to Choose the Email List Provider
Most big names in email marketing and content creation offer their own most popular suggestions for email list building services. What makes a particular service a perfect fit simply depends upon the types of features they do best. Certain list building services provide very technical features specific to seasoned web developers or analyzers who want their content to be as unique as possible, while others pride themselves on simplicity and ready-made templates.
How to Collect Email Addresses: Tap Your Resources
While list building, a person can take advantage of several different resources in order to build their mailing list. Capitalizing on personal relationships by asking friends and colleagues if they know anyone in need of a particular service (and if they know their email addresses) can be the first, and the most valuable, referral. Communicating via social networking websites such as Facebook is another method of discovering some valuable contacts, as well as spreading the word about the mailing list on relevant online forums. By first tapping a person’s guaranteed resources, an entrepreneur builds a solid base of followers, which can help list building through word-of-mouth advertising.
Use a Hook to Attract Followers
In order to convince people to join a mailing list in internet marketing, it is a good idea to offer some form of incentive. Various websites often host substantial giveaways that require a person to submit a valid email address to enter. If a person is offered some sort of reward for joining a mailing list, they are far more likely to join. This can include 10% or 20% off coupons to an online store, an exclusive e-book or podcast, or the details to a secret in-person meet-up or seminar. This improves the signup rate. The h1 majority of internet users do not unsubscribe from inoffensive mailing lists, even if they only joined for a chance to win a contest.
Create an Attractive Opt-In Form
The opt-in form on a website, like all signup forms, should be thoughtfully rendered in order to optimize results. The form itself should be in vibrant, complementary colors to attract attention without being extremely showy. In addition, the form could be more noticeable if the internet marketer utilizes a reasonably large font size. Improving the visual element of the form increases its attractiveness to potential users. By alluding to the current members of the mailing list somewhere on the form (“Join the 2,000 members of our growing mailing list…”), an internet marketer increases the allure of the list, making it more attractive to would-be users.
Create a Landing Page
Several leading list building management services provide default landing pages after a person has successfully signed up for a mailing list, but it is a good idea to customize your landing page to articulate a genuine thank you. The list fosters a meaningful relationship between the content or product provider and their consumers, and it is important to emphasize this relationship through authenticity. In addition, a unique thank you page is the perfect medium for communicating incentives like coupons and free e-books, as well as for suggesting that the recent subscriber recommend the subscription list to their friends.
Make the Mailing List Visible
When casual viewers are clicking through a website, the option to join the mailing list should be easily accessible. The form should be quick and painless to fill out, while listing some of the great benefits of joining the list. Web developers have created several attractive, effortless mailing list forms. The most common and effective places to put an opt-in form on a website are at the header in a special feature box, and on the sidebar where the eye naturally falls first. However, for the most effective use of either space, the header and the sidebar should be relatively clutter-free, so that the potential long-term customer is not distracted from the feature.
Make Opting in the Best Choice
In internet marketing, it is okay to be a little obvious and aggressive, such as with the effective use of a lightbox opt-in popup. Aweber, a list building software mentioned above, offers this feature, as do many web-hosting platforms like WordPress. Pop-ups are commonly used for opt-in forms for a wide range of websites, and exponentially increase mailing list subscriptions. Making the option to opt-in as visible as possible increases an internet entrepreneur’s chances of clients signing up to the mailing list on their own.
Showcase the Mailing List where Repeat Traffic is Likely: Auxiliary Pages
An opt-in form in a popup or on the front page is a good option for placement. However, for optimal conversion, there should be a similar form of the pages most likely to generate traffic from those who would be interested in the mailing list. This includes a well developed About page, the Contact page, and even, potentially, a page specifically to describe the benefits of the newsletter. The users who frequent these sorts of pages are the most curious about the business and its various functions, and are therefore probably the most interested in joining a mailing list in the first place. As such, this is a viable yet too often untapped market for list building.
Showcase the Mailing List where Repeat Traffic is Likely: Content
Especially for bloggers, artists, and video content creators, it is a good idea to place an opt-in form near the content itself, at the end of that blog post or below that video. Shop owners can put opt-in forms under the shopping cart widget. Users who are constantly reminded about the existence of the mailing list are simply all the more likely to actually sign-up for that list. Putting a mailing list here works well subliminally, as it tacitly insinuates that the mailing list is actually an extension of the content that they are enjoying.
Use Mobile Apps as an Opt-In Tool
In our increasingly technology-obsessed world, with steadily more fervent markets in smart phones and tablets, mobile apps can be a good source for opt-ins. This allows savvy marketers to target potential customers in a variety of new ways, while also making the process quicker, easier, and more portable. Taking advantage of mobile applications, or even of mobile versions of a website, an internet entrepreneur greatly expands their base of potential customers. This way, the possibilities of outreach are nearly endless. Consumers will also appreciate the range of options, as well as the convenience, and are less likely to be wary.
Take Advantage of the List Once Built
In order to optimize the subscription list while list building, it is important to consistently (but not exhaustively) post new email messages at optimal times. The purpose of the email is to drive traffic towards the website, so, whenever something interesting and clickable happens or is about to happen at the website, an email should be crafted to attract visitors.
Immediately Verify Subscription
When a person successfully submits the mailing list form, they should receive a follow-up email from the company, which will serve to welcome them and acquaint them with the company’s benefits. With this follow-up email, users will become familiar with the format and content of the newsletter. They will be less likely to unsubscribe to the mailing list down the road when they receive their first broadcast email, as they have come to recognize the sender name and the type of content. This sort of welcome, follow-up email is also a good opportunity to answer frequently asked (or, better yet, seldom asked but utterly important and overlooked) questions.
Celebrate the Holidays
Whenever special deals, events, or coupons arrive on the website, an email list group should be the first to know in order to continuously generate traffic. Black Friday, Labor Day, and the Fourth of July weekend are prime holidays for deals, savings, and rampant spending, all of which can be taken advantage of with a well-timed email reminder. Even if the website in particular doesn’t offer any special deals for the holiday, it is a good idea to craft an email for common holidays. Holiday emails are festive and good-natured, and make the company seem more pleasant and accessible.
Make List Building Personal
List members should be emailed whenever a company milestone is reached, such as a number of unique visitors, a number of subscribers, a mention in a significant publication, or an anniversary. This helps build a relationship with the members of the list, keeping them invested in the success of the business for themselves by constantly sharing that success with them. If also serves a blissful and constant reminder of the company’s going-ons, and constant reminders drive traffic. Effective emails refer to their customers by name. If the opt-in form had a section for the customer’s birthday, an email can be sent with a special, time-sensitive coupon to celebrate, or even just an e-card.
Link Broadcast Email Messages to Content Creation
List building is useful for increasing audience exposure to new content. Whenever a new item enters a store, a new blog post is published, or a new video is uploaded, a broadcast email message to all users can be immediately sent. This is a direct and effective way to drive traffic to the website, and to constantly reaffirm its presence and activity. As such, the members of the list begin to treat the email not as a nuisance, but as a guide in internet usage. Weekly or monthly reports of the most popular items on the blog or in the store will keep list subscribers in the know and invested in future reports.
Create a Bond
It is important to actively build a relationship with the members of a mailing list when list building. It is the chief difference between spam and honest email marketing. Viewers who seem to connect with a business are far more likely to trust suggested products, sales, videos, or blog posts. In order to offer the impression of intimacy, an effective email would refer to its recipient by name, as well as cater specifically to (or seem to cater specifically to) the precise desires of each individual list member. The content of the emails must make it obvious that their sender values their customers, and are interested in making them happy, which aids with word-of-mouth advertising and future list building.
Engaging the Audience
To take full advantage of list building, the emails must offer material that its reader will find interesting or useful. Useless material will be deleted, unsubscribed from, or marked as spam rather than read and heeded. A clothing boutique can offer tips on styling new fashion trends, while a tech guru is blogging their own take on the latest development in controversy surrounding privacy or freedom of information. This establishes not just the website, but also the email itself as an authority that should be listened to. When a company sends useful emails rather than constantly selling a product or asking someone to read a post or a video, they will be less wary about reading the content.
Increase Email Open Rate
In order to increase email open rate after list building, it might be necessary to try several different approaches to increasing the attractiveness of the content. Several list building services give valuable data on open rates, which can be monitored and analyzed. It may be a good idea to split email lists into two or more groups, each with different titles, structures, or contents in order to see what format is the most successful. Similarly, an internet entrepreneur can split the list into a pilot list to try out new methods of convincing people to open emails or to click on the content within them.
Partner with Products
A good way to generate money from email marketing is to actually market products from sister companies, providing links to outside content or products. With most popular list building services there is a feature, which keeps track of clicks within an email, which makes it very easy to prove conversion rates and make money. This method is far more effective with those who have already built some form of credibility with their email subscribers through list building. These partnerships should never feel insincere, and should always provide information that is actually helpful.
With list building, it is important to identify the core of the website’s message, and determine the style and format of an email marketing campaign that best reflects that message. The email can be a useful, and even lucrative, tool for the aspiring internet mogul or guru, when used effectively and genuinely.