Anyone who has ever received unsolicited emails from a company knows just how irritating they can be. You want your customers to feel excited to see an email from you, not irritated. There are many ways to build your email list. Unfortunately, some methods are dishonest or downright spam.
For example, you shouldn’t just dump every customer you’ve ever been in contact with into a mailing list. Instead, it should be an opt-in list. Preferably, a double opt-in list.
Buying a mailing list from an online service is also a big no-no. Those people either only signed up for that list or didn’t sign up at all. Not only will your email irritate them, they may not even be your target demographic.
It’s better to take your time and build your list the right way, because it will always be better for your business goals to have 100 people who want to read your messages and won’t mark them as spam then have 1,000 people who cringe when your message hits their inbox.
There are many legitimate ways to build a mailing list. Here are five ways to ethically build your own:
1. Make It Quick & Easy
Signing up for your mailing list should not be a difficult prospect. If you want to capture more people, give them the opportunity to sign up as quickly and easily as possible. CoSchedule is a great example of this. When you visit their blog, you are presented with a popup that shows that you are already halfway to being signed up, just by visiting their blog! All you need to do to complete your signup is to provide your email address and choose a frequency – whether you want to hear from them once a day at most, or once a week at most. That’s it! And as a bonus, you get immediate access to their 10 most popular guides. That’s a great sell to potential subscribers, who are looking for all the info they can get to improve their blogs.
2. Offer a Free eBook
Offering an eBook or an industry fact-sheet in exchange for contact information is a tried and tested tactic that works for generating leads that are genuinely interested in your products and services. That’s why HydroWorx, a company that manufactures underwater treadmills for rehabilitating injured athletes, has created a variety of guides and eBooks to address different questions their clients might have. Nearly every post on their blog has a call to action at the end directing the reader to a related guide, which has been tremendous for helping them build up a subscriber list that is interested in what they have to offer.
3. Market Your Newsletter as a Tool
If your blog or your business provides really useful tools and information, you should emphasize that in your newsletter signup. Buffer Social is a great example. Their blog became famous in a short amount of time due to the sheer usefulness of the massive guides they posted with unerring regularity. Buffer’s blog became known for its exhaustive lists, its insider information, and some of the most actionable social media advice any blog was willing to offer. When they advertise their newsletter subscription, they are quick to point out just how useful that information is. It doesn’t hurt that they have social proof on their side, either, with over 42,000 subscribers to date.
4. Offer a Discount
If you sell a product and your profit margin allows a little flex room, you can offer a small discount if customers sign up for your mailing list.
Ceramcor offers 10 percent off on non-sale items. A small button sits to the right of the home page that simply says “10% OFF” and when the customer clicks on it the sign-up box as seen in the screenshot pops up. This is a good example of quick, simple and effective marketing to build your list.
Since the person signing up is already interested in your products and planning to order something, you will end up with a very targeted mailing list, too.
5. Offer Information No One Else Has
Social Media Examiner is another well-known blog in the social media space, and they have a really unique tool in their arsenal: insider industry reports. They can offer these reports because they conduct an annual survey of thousands of marketers. That information is really valuable to the decision makers on social media marketing teams, who are more than willing to give up their email address in order to gain access.
It helps that this large call to action takes up a significant amount of real estate on their main page, where no one is going to miss it!
These are just five legitimate ways to collect emails. You can also hold contests, offer free workshops or even set up a subscription link on your Facebook page. Think outside the box and be aware of what your competitors are doing to grow their lists. Before you know it, you’ll have a list of loyal and interested subscribers.
Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer and designer who blogs at Design Roast. She has been blogging for the past 3 years and loves picking apart online campaigns to see what makes them tick. You can follow her on Twitter as @adrienneerin.