Building your email list is perhaps the most compelling issue facing anyone looking to email marketing. It could be argued that building your list is not the most important issue, but it is certainly for most people the most pressing.
After all, with no subscribers, it doesn’t matter how good your content, copywriting or offers are.
So as I kick off this email marketing series for real, I thought I would start with what the majority of people new to email marketing want to know; how the heck do I get started? How do I get people onto my list?
Starting Your Email List
As with most things, getting started with email marketing can seem to be the hardest part, but it is simple really.
Once you decide that you want to start marketing via email you quickly realize that to do it properly, you need to spend some money on a decent email service, and you need to select the right one.
As you would expect, I have a favorite provider in Aweber. It is quickly growing to be the standard, Darren, Shoemoney, John and Yaro use Aweber too. While there are other providers, and people often start out using their standard email client and off the shelf PHP scripts, in my mind nothing beats Aweber. I think right now they even provide a free trial.
Once you have your account, all you need to do is add a new list, fill in all the details like list name, etc, then grab your sign up form HTML code to paste into your site.
This form is crucial as it is the main way you will gain subscribers through your site. You can play with the look and styling as much as you like providing you don’t break the form submission, you don’t want to be losing submissions while you wonder why nobody is signing up.
At this point you have done the basics. This is how it tends to work:
- Grab an Aweber account
- Set up a new list
- Added the sign up form to your site
Aah, those last two points are a touch vague, eh? 🙂
As many people who have tried this process will tell you, just having a sign up form is not enough!
Getting People to Subscribe
The number one reason why people do not subscribe to a working and open email list is because you don’t tell them why they should.
In fact, you first need to tell them that they can.
- Tell people about your list – Don’t just say “Subscribe Here”, describe what they should expect
- Give reasons to subscribe – What are the benefits?
- Inform them that it is free and safe – You know you are not a spammer, you know there is no charge … do they?
- Make it easy – Don’t make your sign up form like filling out your taxes
- Make it obvious – Are you hiding your sign up form away? Make it stand out and refer to it in numerous locations
Seems common sense but so many people fall down just at this level. Never assume that the reader will find the benefits of your list self-evident. They won’t, and often will be deeply suspicious of it.
You at least need to reference your sign up form in your side bar, in a subscription page, under your posts, and perhaps occasionally within a post.
If you make it obvious, beneficial and easy you will get more sign ups.
List Building Short Cuts
Danger! Danger! There are people who will tell you that you don’t need to build your list the hard way. Why, you can have tens of thousands of happy, targeted subscribers over night.
When anyone tells you that be suspicious because they usually want to sell you something that could land you in spamola territory.
- Only import lists you have grown yourself over time using double opt-in
- Add only people to your list who have expressly given permission to do that
- Do not purchase lists
- Never take part in any scheme that charges you per email address or “opt-in”
I used to work for a direct marketing company. We would buy lists on behalf of customers. They never worked as well as home grown lists. The only time I would even consider it would be in a business-to-business context, and even then I would take some convincing. While they can have positive ROI, it was usually at the expense of over half thinking of you as a spammer. Reputations are too precious.
This goes for adding everyone who gives you a business card to your list too. They gave you their card, they did not say “Please rush me your sales letters now”. Have some courtesy and you will be rewarded, treat your list as captive victims and expect to pay the price.
So what can you really do to grow your list fast?
In the next part I will go in to detail on growing your list, but right now I will tell you the best thing you can do to get people on to your list …
Add incentives, like a free ebook, audio recording, video, auto-responder series. Provide something of real value.
Offer discounts, coupons, special deals, exclusive offers, premium content.
Make your list so compelling the readers mouth waters at the thought of it.
Yes, even free needs to be sold.
Your subscriber pays with their email address, they pay by giving you permission to talk to them, by giving up their attention. Make it worth their while. Make it obviously worth their while.
Look out for the next part of this series where I show you how to grow your list without resorting to spammy and/or expensive methods. If you haven’t already, subscribe so you don’t miss it 🙂
Table of contents for Email Marketing Tips
- Email Marketing Tips: What is Email Marketing?
- Email Marketing Tips: List Building
- Email Marketing Tips: Getting More Email Subscribers
- Email Marketing Tips: Email Tracking
- Email Marketing Tips: Email Testing
- Email Marketing Tips: Introduction to Email Copywriting
- Email Marketing Tips: Writing Effective Email Subject Lines
- Email Marketing Tips: What to Write About