Basic Steps to Build An Email List From Scratch

You need an email list to run a successful authority Internet business. This post details six basic steps you can use to build one from scratch.

You’ve heard that the “money is in the list” and that it’s important to build an engaged following over email. After all, you own your email list. To get more business, you’ll need to reach more people. Learn how to use list building to grow your email list and gain customers.

Before you can get started with email marketing, you need to have a list of email addresses to send your emails to. Building an email list takes time, creativity and patience, but it’s a critical step to ensuring your email marketing is effective.

Getting Started: The Basics

1.   Sign up with an email marketing service.

Different email services will use different pricing models, so be sure to choose the one that best suits your list size and expectations for growth. Some ESP’s will charge a flat monthly fee based on list size, while others will charge per number of emails sent.

A good, basic (free) service if you’re just starting out is MailChimp. Other popular options include AWeberGetResponse, and ConstantContact.

2.   Create a compelling offer or asset.

Before people hand over you their email address, you’re going to have to offer them something enticing in exchange. This could be a free eBook, access to a Webinar, or the promise of discounts or deals exclusively for your subscribers.

You could even repurpose some of your existing blog content and turn it into a guide or resource list. Whatever you decide to offer, just make sure it’s something people will recognize as holding true value!

3.   Create an opt-in form.

Every ESP will give you tools to create an opt-in form for your site. Generally speaking, the less information you ask for (at this initial stage, at least), the better. The more information you ask for, the less likely your prospect is to complete the process. You’ll obviously need to ask for an email address, and I also highly recommended that you ask for a first name so you can personalize your emails.

However, asking for any information beyond these two fields can decrease conversion rates significantly without adding much valuable data.

4.   Put the opt-in form on your site.

Placing your form on your site is usually as easy as copying and pasting a snippet of code provided by your email marketing service. Most website owners put their form in their right sidebar, which has been shown as one of the highest-converting locations.

However, this certainly isn’t the only option.

There are 7 high-converting places you should consider putting it:

  1. In a feature box (see Social Triggers feature box above)
  2. At the top of your sidebar
  3. After each blog post
  4. In your site’s footer
  5. On your About page
  6. In a little bar across the top of your page (If you’re using WordPress, you can download the Attention Grabber plugin for free).
  7. In a popup box

Each placement will perform differently depending on your site, niche and audience, so be sure to test out various locations as you go along.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re giving your new subscribers easy access to that compelling offer you created in #2 above. Typically, this is done by including a download link on the page that subscribers are directed to after confirming their email.

5. The Fun Part: Getting Subscribers

Now that you’re all set up to starting collecting emails, the fun part begins (when I say ‘fun’, I actually mean ‘hard’). If your site receives a good amount of traffic and you have a truly compelling offer, this shouldn’t be too difficult. However, if you’re like most business owners, you’ll need to look outside your own audience to start building your list.

Here are some common ways to get targeted subscribers for your new list.

  • Incorporate opt-ins into existing forms. (Including an opt-in checkbox on all existing forms can be a great way to collect emails from visitors who are obviously already interested in what you have to offer.)
  • Hold a giveaway. (This strategy works best if you already have an existing audience on social media, but there are other ways you can attract entrants. Your best bet will be to give away something that’s valuable to your target market; for instance, a high-value digital asset on a niche topic.)

6.    Seek out guest blogging opportunities.

Guest blogging is a great strategy for getting high-quality inbound links to your site, increasing your visibility, and of course getting new subscribers for your list. A properly executed guest blogging strategy can yield a strong ROI, and supports your SEO, social media and email marketing efforts simultaneously.

The effort you put into building your email list is one of the best investments you can make online. Having access to the inboxes of targeted prospects means you can continue to build and nurture relationships over time, and become a trusted source of valuable industry knowledge. Then, when it’s time for your prospects to buy, you’ll be the first one who comes to mind.

This article was written by , he’s on a mission to demystify and simplify online marketing for entrepreneurs. When I’m not writing or researching, you can find me traveling, exploring the world, bit by bit.

Looking for more insights on digital marketing? See my eBook, The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Business Online.

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