With so many new channels for direct marketing, it’s easy to forget the true value of email marketing. After all, it’s one of the oldest and most effective methods for reaching your customers, converting offers and building strong customer loyalty. So with this in mind, what’s the best way to build an email list? Let’s tackle this question step by step.
Regardless of which strategy (or strategies) you use, there is one universal truth behind any successful marketing, list-building or marketing effort. And that is you must provide value to people.
This singular central tenet should be a guiding principle behind all of your list-building work.
And following this protocol will promote happier, engaged subscribers who not only trust you, but will be happy to buy from you and become a recurring customer.
Nurturing the business-customer relationship requires strategic followup and consistent, value-adding campaigns for your subscribers. However, details on fostering this relationship is for another post.
So let’s dive in and talk more about the best way to get started and build an email list. And again, it all starts with the value you’re adding.
*This post contains affiliate links, which I may receive compensation from. This is at no cost to you and lets me keep the lights on. Read more here…
You Get What You Give
To demonstrate the value-first strategy, let’s consider a scenario. Let’s first imagine that you like camping and you own a Jeep.
As such, I’m targeting you with a Facebook advertisement for one of my new luxury rooftop tents for Jeeps (which can of course be searched for and purchased by other online merchants).
Now, keep in mind for this scenario, you don’t know who I am and you’ve never heard of my business or brand before.
Now, if I were to send you an advertisement with a specific offer – and you had to choose between the following two options below – which choice sounds more enticing as a new prospect?
- A direct advertisement to buy the luxury rooftop tent after seeing the offer only for the first time
- An offer for a free downloadable guide teaching you “The Top 5 Mistakes You Must Avoid Before Buying Your First Rooftop Tent” in exchange for an email
Objectively, which option do you think would have higher conversions? Well obviously, the free guide is way more enticing for a new prospect and has considerably less friction for making a conversion.
And this is where the true power of the value-first method lies.
When you solve a problem or provide a quick, actionable solution for your target demographic, they will be happy and excited to give you their email.
After that, it’s just a matter of creating an effective web of followup sequences and cultivating messages. But this scenario demonstrates the utility of the lead magnet offer for building an email list.
So let’s talk more about this approach for building out your email list.
Recommended Read: The 10 Best Solutions for Email Marketing Software (*many free options*)
The Lead Magnet Strategy
Why should someone give you their email? Well, probably for the same reason you would give your email to a business.
It’s because, in return for submitting your email, (you believe) you’ll be receiving something of value, something that solves a problem of yours or something that provides a quick solution to a problem you’re experiencing.
Lead magnets allow you to quickly convert a cold customer (i.e., someone that doesn’t know who you are yet) into a warm lead (hence the name, lead magnet).
It also allows the customer to test out your business or brand before committing to more expensive offers.
Maybe Anne Frank wasn’t thinking about business or lead magnets when she famously wrote “no one has ever become poor by giving“, but still, the relevance of this idea for building an email list is apparent.
So what makes a good lead magnet anyways? Well at the very least, a good lead magnet should:
- Provide a quick and actionable solution to your prospect’s problem
- Be specific and clearly defined
- Be a “no-brainer” offer that is easily consumed and has an enticing hook. Fror example:
- “Download This Free PDF and Learn the 10 Surprising Things You Can Start Doing Today to Secure Your Financial Future – Even if You’re A Beginner!”
- “Learn the 3 Fashion Secrets to Make Anyone Instantly Trust/Like/Respect You – Without Spending A Fortune!”
If you can drum up something that hits on these points, then any potential visitor that finds themselves at your email opt-in form should be more than happy to subscribe to your email list.
Depending on your business, niche and objective, you could offer a variety of different things.
So here are some examples of potential lead magnets that you could use to grow your email list:
- A free downloadable PDF
- A free eBook
- An exclusive coupon or discount offer
- BOGO offers
- A free trial
- A free consultation call or a free audit
- A free (industry) report
- Some membership access to some exclusive content
- A free product (small in value to you, but a high perceived value to the customer)
- Here, you’ll just have the customer cover the shipping costs (so you at least break even); this is referred to the Free + Shipping model
- A free sample
- For example, let’s imagine you’re selling a course through Udemy; you could provide the first unit or module for free to get people to sign up for your email list (and also entice them to pay for the full course after they’re “hooked”)
Recommended Read: How to Create an Irresistible Offer
Just remember the purpose for building out your email list: you want to provide value.
Of course lead magnets are super effective. However, there is also value in creating something that’s purely interactive and engaging.
Have you every taken an online quiz or some type of calculator type of assessment? If you have, maybe you can understand the inherent curiosity, interest and engagement!
This is very effective strategy for capturing a prospect’s attention and providing an engaging, memorable experience. You can also combine this strategy with a lead magnet as well.
For example, if you’re a real estate agent, you could create a quiz that takes prospects through a series of questions which identifies their exact preferences and, based on their answers, provides some recommendation or valuable information about where to search for homes or how to buy the perfect house.
The utility for email list building is that at the end of the quiz, you could present them with part of the results. But to access or receive the full results, they would need to first input their email. Outgrow is a great (and fun) tool that lets you build customized quizzes, calculators, surveys, chat bots and more!
Quizzes and other similarly engaging content are trending tools for marketers right now. So implementing this strategy as a way to build your email list is definitely an exciting option to test out!
Recommend Read: How to Make A Facebook Quiz
How to Find & Reach Potential Subscribers
OK, so let’s say you have your offer and you’re ready to start building your email list. But there’s still one problem – you need traffic.
You’ll of course need to reach the right people who will be potentially interested in what you have to offer. To do this, we have two choices:
- Paid traffic
- This is the quicker solution, but it requires more money, testing and technical skill
- Organic traffic
- This is the slower option, but it’s free and builds long-term strategic success online
- It also requires some technical know-how (namely SEO, search engine optimization)
Exploring these two options in depth is quite beyond the scope of this post. However, I can provide a quick overview of the basic approach to each of these strategies.
Regardless of whatever option you choose, any fully comprehensive marketing will use a combination of both SEO and paid traffic. Each have their benefits, uses and applications.
For paid traffic, you’ll first want to first decide on your advertising platform (Facebook ads, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). Then you’ll want to identify exactly who your customer/prospect is and what specific offer you’ll be presenting them.
You’ll want to come up with clear and enticing headlines and copy for that audience. You’ll then want to select relevant images and/or videos that you’ll be using.
After ensuring that you’re compliant and you have your campaign objective clearly defined, you’ll need to make sure you have a good landing page to present your offer and email opt-in.
It’s also a best practice to make sure you test multiple audiences, ad creatives, copy and offers.
This process can be a bit intense if you’re unfamiliar with digital marketing strategies and protocol. However, the benefits of using this strategy effectively is that you’ll essentially be getting guaranteed traffic who are exactly within your target market.
Recommended Read: 6 Steps to Facebook Ads Success
SEO stands for search engine optimization and this is how businesses and websites rank on Google, Bing, Yahoo!, YouTube and other search engines.
As a business, website/blog owner, or brand, having consistent and reliable organic traffic is the holy grail to online success. That is, if you have consistent traffic, you’ll have consistent opportunity and reach.
So regardless of whether you decide to use paid traffic for building your email list, implementing a simple but effective SEO strategy is something everyone with a website and content should be focusing on.
A simple way to get started is to start researching popular keywords people are searching for that are related to your niche, offer or business. You can do this quickly (and for free) by starting a search in Google for something related to your offer/business and then seeing what suggestions pop up.
From here you can test out different phrasing, letters and word orders to come up with some content ideas. However, many of these keywords will have a lot of competition, so finding low competition keywords (that still receive a lot of traffic) is a sweet spot for anyone new to SEO.
You can easily find low competition keywords by using a keyword research tool (see Wealthy Affiliate below).
After you find some relevant keywords that are receiving traffic, you’ll want to create content (such as an article) that targets those keywords.
As a general rule of thumb for getting started, make sure the target keywords appear at least in your title and the first paragraph of your article/content.
Be aware however, it’s important to not “keyword-stuff” your article with the target phrase too much. This is actually something Google will recognize and penalize your article for.
So just make sure you write your content naturally and just worry about adding the keywords in the title and somewhere within the first section.
This is a simple way to get started. But ranking in Google (and other places) is a long-term strategy that takes many months of content creation before results can potentially be realized.
If you’d like more training, one-on-one mentorship and access to a full suite of website building and keyword research tools for ranking and SEO purposes, then I highly recommend you do what I did and head over to Wealthy Affiliate and sign up for a free account to learn exactly how to build a high-traffic, profitable website!
The owners Kyle and Carson remove all the guesswork. They will literally take you by the hand and show you the best practices, strategies and tools to build a profitable website. Good stuff, indeed!
Having a strong email list provides a variety of opportunities and increases your profit potential and ability to personally connect with people.
But just remember, if you focus on providing value, solving problems and giving free solutions, then you’ll be a step ahead of your competition and you’ll be able to gather excited subscribers consistently.
After coming up with different offers that you could use to capture emails, then getting the right exposure is critical. Ultimately, using paid traffic and/or employing a comprehensive SEO strategy is how we can effectively build and grow an impressive email list.
Let me know in the comments about any other strategies or ideas you have for building an email list! Have you ever used a lead magnet before?
Thanks for reading!