How to build your email marketing list

Much like social media, email marketing relies on a two-way connection for its functionality. You could have the writing power to bowl-over even the most difficult of customers, more content ideas than you can shake a stick at and an award-winning designer to craft your templates. All your efforts will amount to nothing unless you can encourage enough people to sign up and tune in.

Proper email list-building is governed by an opt-in model, where consumers subscribe to a company’s newsletters to receive offers, gain exclusive updates and hear more about their brand. Unsolicited messaging can result in fines amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds, so it pays to stay within the line of the law when building your contact list.

Companies with plenty to talk about and a personable tone will have few problems in being able to keep hold of their customers once they’re signed-up. Though where businesses tend to come unstuck is right at the start – when they’re attempting to attract the first hundred subscribers. Building an email marketing list is by no means easy, but there are certain ways this process can be aided.

Leverage support

Perhaps you’ve already got a digital property that gets plenty of engagement from your online customer base. If so, try using the popularity of this platform to spread the word about your email service.

You don’t have to delve right into the specifics of what you offer just yet. All you’ll need to do is present a strong call to action; one that’s likely to catch the eye and encourage people to inquire within. A ten per cent discount on items for all new email subscribers should suffice. Or, if this is unaffordable, you could simply focus on highlighting some of the other exclusive benefits that come with signing up.

Facebook, Twitter, Google+ as well as regular blog accounts are great for highlighting the presence of an email service among a digital audience. Alternatively, if you don’t have the luxury of being to support your email activity with an online platform, there’s always the option of going offline with leaflets, posters and other methods of customer attraction.

The viral route

Once your email list shows some signs of growth, you can start to apply a more lateral approach to getting people on board. Why not consider the powers of viral marketing for boosting brand awareness? Think about the kind of content that would encourage people to share your email with their own address book, allowing you to commence your assault on the web.

Regardless of what videos, pictures and text you plan on using, ensure the contents of your emails are safe for sharing with the younger generation, as there’s no telling where a viral message will spread. It might seem obvious but checking that you’ve included the name of your brand and an invite to sign up to your email list will save any unwanted shocks in the aftermath of its deployment.

Check out and opt in?

Advertising the presence of an email service needn’t be pushy – the opportunist in you just has to find the right chance to strike. For ecommerce stores, one of the more cunning methods of reaching out to subscribers is to place an opt-in box just before a regular customer checks out. The box should automatically be ticked and left for the customer to change should they wish to avoid the service.

Zap away

If you’re not already using QR codes within your print media, now might be an ideal time to do so. Quick, easy to use and highly visible, QR tags can be used by smartphone owners to provide a quick link to online media. All they’re required to do is to take a picture of the code and wait for their pre-downloaded QR tagging app to take the lead. Add a QR tag to your marketing collateral and watch your subscribers grow.

Be generous

If you want to build your email list, you’re going to have to be prepared to give something back. Small discounts and exclusive offers for new sign-ups will go some way towards encouraging people that your service is worth their attention.

One thing you cannot forget thereafter is customer retention. Once you’ve seen an increase in sign-ups on the back of this promotion, you’ll need to keep feeding through the exclusivities and rewards to maintain what you already have. Then, if all goes to plan, you’ll only be greeting your customers rather than waving them goodbye.

Play the host

Online webinars are ideal for building press around something separate from the event. Try hosting a free online webinar and, in return, asking all the attendees for their email addresses upon registration. Just remember to let them know they may be contacted in the aftermath.

Get affiliated

Aside from all the free tricks, sometimes paying for something really does pay off. Enlist the help of affiliates with your attempts at contact list building and you should see an immediate return on your investment. While this shouldn’t represent a long-term strategy, using display advertising for short bursts of promotion will help you attract the initial batch of subscribers you’ll need to make your activity worthwhile.