15 Proven Strategies You Can Use To Grow A Massive Email List

Email lists have quite a reputation.

A reputation for having the highest conversion rate in the content marketing industry. Old fashioned email is still the work horse when it comes to attracting new customers and keeping old ones vested in your business.

Last year, a study by Custora found that customer acquisition via email has quadrupled in the previous four years. Social media is great for engagement, but email is sticky. Your list is filled with people who don’t mind if you send to them.

Despite the hype of social media and other new techniques, you have to get email right.

This is how you do it.

1 – Ignore The Vanity Metrics

Before you can properly build your email list, you have to learn what to ignore. There are a lot of metrics that you can measure, including unique traffic to your site or how many social media fans you’ve acquired.

According to blogger and email enthusiast Michael Hyatt, these are vanity metrics. They don’t matter.

The problem is that there is a lot of noise in the content marketing industry that tells you that they do matter, forgetting that they matter in some situations but that in the realm of customer conversions, they can be set aside.

Once you can stop fixating on traffic, you can start focusing on how to build your email list without worrying how it affects your traffic.

2 –  Make It Easy To Subscribe

Subscribing to your email list should be easy, and an option to sign up should be on every page of your site. Your home page should give its best “above the fold” real estate–that is, what shows up before visitors need to scroll–to a sign box. Blog posts should have a subscription box at the end, and you should sprinkle them throughout the content.

There should be ample opportunities for website visitors to subscribe. Never make people search for the subscription box. That email subscription box is the most important feature of your site!

3 – Make A Trade For An Email With A Great Offer

You have so much you can give away to your readers.

You can create a simple ebook, poster, download, cheat sheet, white sheets, sneak previews, or exclusive content only available to email list members. All of these are a great supplement to your current content. Entice your readers to give you their email address in exchange for this type of content.

Hubspot is a master in giving away content in this manner, and has even perfected what kind of content to give away according to the best timing in your sales funnel.

4 – Use An Email Autoresponder Course

An email autoresponder course is a great way to showcase your expertise, give your readers a chance to learn and better themselves, and build your email list all at the same time.

Whether you use all new content or recycle blog posts when you create the course, it can be viewed in the same way as giving away an ebook for an email address. However, the power here is that it makes more sense: you are getting someone’s email because you are sending them email. It feels less of a marketing trick than asking for an email address before you provide access to an ebook.

Email autoresponder course sign-up forms are perfect for placing in blog posts or other content that relates to what the course is about.

5 – Use Active Call-To-Actions

Popups, popovers, slide-ups, and other techniques have grown in popularity, capturing readers when they arrive on your site or when they are about to leave. Though some content marketers worry that these techniques annoy website visitors, the truth is that they are highly effective in building email lists and converting visitors.

Not convinced about the pop-up?

These minimally invasive calls-to-action grew Social Media Examiner’s email list by 234%! These techniques work, and are easy to put into place on your site.

6 – Send Emails More Often

Most of us don’t want to annoy our subscribers, so we worry about sending out too many emails. In a recent study, Hubspot found out that there was no correlation between the frequency of email being sent and unsubscribes.

Your email list will always have an equilibrium. Some people will unsubscribe whether you send one or ten emails, while others stay put. You don’t want to hurt the power of your email list catering to the recipients already leaning towards an eventual unsubscribe. Hubspot also suggested that if you send emails infrequently, people unsubscribe because they can’t remember why they signed up in the first place.

Send emails more often than you think.

7 – Use Social Proof To Sell Your List

Social proof is using the abundance of others to make decisions. When your blog readers see that one blog post has zero comments while another has 65 comments, which post do you think they will read?

We like to know that we aren’t alone, and we also assume that if the crowd made a decision (in this case, read the post and then commented) then it must be the right one.

As your email list grows into the thousands, you can use that impressive number to convince others to sign up. You could say “Sign up for our free email”, but wouldn’t “Join 3,000 of your fellow readers” these be more compelling?

Use words like “join” that suggest safety in the group as well as apply a bit of social pressure. Once you have those bigger subscriber numbers, use them to your best advantage. Social proof is a tremendous motivator.

8 – Get Testimonials To Reassure Your Audience

Testimonials are a form of social proof, and work on the power of recommendation. Get a few testimonials from your biggest or best known clients in your industry. Have them speak about why they love your email newsletter, or why the look forward to reading it every day. If fans share your email newsletter on social media, ask them if they’d consider a testimonial. Highlight positive reactions to your email newsletter that you discover on your social media feeds.

With nearly every website pushing email sign up, it is easy for your website visitor to become a bit jaded. A testimonial is something usually reserved for an app, service, or product. It tells people that it’s worth their time and that they won’t regret it. It isn’t “salesy”.

Seeing a testimonial or two for an email newsletter is powerful.

9 – Test Your Copy, Colors, And More

Not every email signup form is a winner. It’s important to run controlled A/B tests on your signup forms. This means test changes one at a time before moving onto the next round of changes. For example, you might want to test if the red “subscribe” button performs better than the blue version. Or perhaps you are going to test the wording of the CTA first, and do the color later. And then you’ve decided to finish off by testing the location.

Whatever you decide to test, do it in a patient and controlled manner so you can truly learn which changes give you more conversions. Always look to be improving your email signup forms. Your first version is likely not the best.

10 – Make It Easy To Share Your Emails

Your email newsletters are important content, just like your blog. Think about how you make it easy to share your blog post with social share buttons? Do the same for your email newsletters.

Depending on the email service you use to send your emails, you may have a static HTML page that you can link to. Be sure to share a link to your latest email in your social channels so that your fans can easily reshare it to their networks. Include a link to subscribe in your social media bios.

11 – Build A Reputation For Valuable Emails

You’ll never keep subscribers if your emails aren’t worth their time, and that means you’re wasting conversions.

As with any content you create, your emails must be useful for your customer. It’s not about you. Don’t think of your email as pure sales content; follow the principles of inbound marketing to some extent, mixing helpful content, enticing giveaways, and new product information.

The question you should always ask yourself is: how can I help my reader?

12 – Build Sub Email Lists For Specific Interests

Many email providers allow you to create multiple lists.

For example, you might create an email list from those that signed up for your free ebook on content creation, while you create another email list for those that signed up for blog updates. In this way, you can create targeted email lists where you know specifically what your subscribers are interested. Why go through this work?

Because a targeted audience allows for targeted content. You can always send out the larger, general email to everyone, but the smaller lists can also receive content or offers that would specifically appeal to them.

13 – Use A Paper And Pen

In a discussion about email, it sounds strange to suggest paper and pen, but think about it.

Many businesses attend conferences or trade shows where they have the opportunity to meet people who stop by a booth or other venue. Instead of passively handing out a business card which people may or may not do a thing about, have a paper sign-up sheet ready.

Be friendly, but be bold enough to ask people if they’d like to join your email list. Most people are more willing when asked face-to-face. Another version of this is to place a container on your counter and ask people to drop their business card in if they’d like to join your mailing list.

Prepare your sign-up sheet by making it clear that this is to join your email list. Get their name and email. And then, add them manually to your email list when you are able. You might even create a sub email list for that event so that you could send out a targeted welcome email and offer them something exclusive just for signing up at the event. If you do get an email address this way, don’t wait too long to send the first email. Ideally, you should send within a day or two.

Business cards are forgettable and easy to throw. Grabbing an email is a lasting opportunity.

14 – Add A Sign-Up Opportunity To Your Social Media Profiles

Always include a link or sign-up box on your social media profiles. Remember, not all of your prospective customers are coming to your site in the usual channels. If they are following you on social media, they may never pay much attention to your site at all.

In addition to adding sign-up boxes on your social profiles, regularly post to your social feeds with links and content that relate to your email list. If you are using a social media scheduling tool, add that to your social media plan and start scheduling now. Tweet and post about your email list at least once a week.

15 – Use Guest Blogging To Attract New Customers

Guest blogging is one of the best ways to attract new readers and potential customers. With guest blogging (as long as you are writing great content, of course), you can piggyback on the readers of the guest site and convince them to check out what you have to offer.

But here’s the trick: your guest blog bio should have a link to a landing page specifically targeted at capturing new email subscribers.

Most guest bloggers link to a social profile or two, and the home page of their blog. How many conversions are they losing that way? Link to a landing page created specifically for the readers of that guest blog, and be sure it’s easy to sign up for your email list.

With all of the social media and SEO tips and tools available online to you, it’s easy to think that email is an ineffectual marketing tool in this new social era. This is definitely not the case, and above all else, you should be focusing on how to best build your email list.

About The Author: Julie R. Neidlinger is a writer, artist, and pilot from North Dakota. She has been blogging since 2002 at her Lone Prairie blog, and works as a freelance writer and visual artist.

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