Today we will explore email list building and, in particular, will be looking at:
- Why you should have an email list.
- How to build an email list.
- How long growing a list will take; and
- How to nurture your list once you’ve built one.
Why Do I Need to Build an Email List?
Some people believe that email is dead or at least dying. However, I don’t believe this to be true at all. When email and online services first took off there was talk that printed materials would become obsolete but that is certainly not the case.
Social media is a great way of engaging and connecting with our audience and building a fan base. However, it must always be remembered that all social media platforms are out of our control. They are owned by third parties who can do whatever the heck they want to do with them – often at the detriment to the end user. For example, in the recent Instagram algorithm change, many people found their reach and interactions on the platform free-falling through no fault of their own.
Your email list however is entirely in your own hands. You are in sole control. Therefore, it is highly advised that you spread the risk. Use social media by all means but do not neglect your own ability to build an email list that is owned by yourself and is yours no matter what changes social media channels make.
How Do I Build a List?
Email list building is one of the simplest things you can do on your website and costs very little (if anything). All you need is an opt-in that is linked to your email marketing software (I use [AFF] MailerLite but there are lots of other tools on the market such as MailChimp, ActiveCampaign etc.). This will then capture the names and email addresses of those who sign up.
Using a lead magnet to entice people to part with their email address usually leads to more conversions. You can give anything you choose away for free, such as a PDF download, an eBook, a discount coupon etc. Choose something that works for your niche and is relevant to what you do. You are more likely to get people to subscribe if you give them something in return.
Make sure your opt-in is in prominent places on your website (on the home page, in the side bar, at the end of all blog posts etc.) and also make sure you share this on your social media channels etc. Having your opt-in on a standalone page as well means you can share that page on your socials (and Pinterest) and encourage your subscribers to sign up.
If you have the financial capability, you can also grow your list using ads. A small budget ad campaign can chug along in the background and if you write a good ad and target it well, it will lead to subscriptions. Obviously the more you spend, the more subscribers you are likely to get but do not ever be tempted to pay to buy email address en masse. Always ensure you have the owners consent or else you will simply be marked as spam and likely lose your email account.
How Long Will it Take?
Unfortunately this is a “how long is a piece of string?” type of question. It really all depends on how much you push your list, how much you spend and, ultimately, what targets you are setting for yourself. How big a list do you want to grow? Think about small goals and aim to build in increments to reach a larger target.
Remember that quality will outweigh quantity every time. There’s no point having thousands of people on your email list if they never open your emails, never engage with you and ultimately never buy from you. When working on your email list building, concentrate on growing a clean and engaging list rather than one that has thousands of subscribers. Hopefully you can achieve both.
What Do I Do With My Email List Once I’ve Got One?
In a nutshell “look after it”. You should share content that is of value to your audience – be that inspirational, educational or entertaining. Do not use your email list purely to sell to. That’s one surefire way to get people unsubscribing at a rate of knots. That’s not to say you shouldn’t ever send the odd sales email, but on the whole you should be sending information of value and sharing your expertise. Build trust and loyalty with your list rather than spamming them with sales-led rubbish.
Take a look at my post “Should I Have a Newsletter?” for some more ideas as to what you could include in a newsletter as well as the pros and cons for having a regular email newsletter.
How Often Should I Email My List?
There is no definitive answer to this but experts agree that fortnightly seems to be the sweet spot. It’s really all about balance – too often and you’ll come across as spammy; too infrequently and people will forget who you are. Ensure that you resonate with your list on a personal level and make sure your emails are engaging and valuable to the recipient.
Do not get upset when people unsubscribe. You only want people on your list who are interested in what you provide. So long as your content and tone are on track then losing some subscribers on the way simply means you are losing people who aren’t all that interested in what you offer anyway. You’re better off without them.
Do you have an email list? Do you need to think about starting to grow a list because you’re too reliant on your social media following? If you do have a list do you engage with your subscribers? How often? Let me know your experience in the comments below and ask any questions you may have in relation to email list building.