No doubt that the way you communicate with customers influences the success of your business. Making an effort to talk to your customers in a language that they can easily relate to will definitely help you win their trust and support.
Perhaps you’re wondering which communication methods are effective. In the digital medium alone, you’re flooded with endless options: social media, paid search, online display advertising, content marketing, and many others.
Well, if you’re new, save yourself the cost of channel experimenting and start with the best one — email. Adobe says that for every $1 spent on email marketing, there is a $40 return. That’s huge! This shows that email is the best channel for business when it comes to Return on Investment (ROI).
So, if you’re a digital marketer looking to jumpstart your company’s customer communications, let it be email… But first, you need a marketing list… Is this the part where you start to panic because you don’t even have a single email address to start with? Actually, no. This is the part where you hit the bookmark icon because this guide will help you build a killer email marketing list for just about any business.
Step 1. Start with your why
First, answer the question “Why do you want to start an email marketing list?”. Of course, it’s to grow your business, but how exactly?
Will you use this to build your following and gain authority in your field? Will you use it to sell your service or products? Are you going to use it to nurture the relationship that you have with your current clientele? Are you trying to build an advocacy corps that will rally behind the brand that you’re going to launch next year?
Your answer here will guide you in the next steps, so it helps if you are as specific as possible.
Step 2. Define your target subscribers
Now that you know what your list is for, you can easily identify the group of people who are going to be interested with what you’re trying to do—they will be your target subscribers.
You need to define them by creating a buyer persona, a fictional representation of your ideal customer. In doing so, you must discover:
- What are their job titles, where do they work, how much do they earn?
- Where do they live, what’s their culture like?
- What are their interests and motivations?
- What are the problems that your company can help them solve?
- Where can you find them online, where do they hang out?
You need to know these things, so you’ll know where to find these people and how to connect with them.
Step 3. Decide on your initial offer
Look: People are basically interested in themselves—and ion things that are only beneficial to them.
So, if you are trying to get the email addresses of people who don’t know you, you have to give them something in return. Something so valuable that they’d happily swap something as private as their email.
You need to figure this one out. If you do your research (Step 2) well, then knowing what the offer is will be easier.
Perhaps sharing these big companies and their offers down below will inspire you:
- Hubspot Marketing Hub – A free demo of the software
- Quicksprout – Free web page SEO analytics
- Digital Marketer – Social media swipe file
Other types of content that you can serve as your offer include whitepapers, e-books, library resource, short email course, document templates, checklist and other printables.
Step 4. Create your email signup form
Once those things are done, create the form that will collect the email addresses. Here are examples:
It’s easy to create one using an online form builder, some of which are free. Just make sure that the form creator allows you to:
- Embed the forms on other places (ie, websites, social media, and blogs) so you can easily share the form anywhere.
- Integrate with the email marketing platform of your choice so you can easily manage your subscribers and send emails to them
Your signup form should be visually appealing to get your visitors’ attention and trust. So make sure that it has the following elements:
✓ A short description of the offer (what they’re going to get after signing up)
✓ An actionable call-to-action button with a design that stands out
✓ Only a few number of form fields (email address and password only) to encourage signups
✓ Promises of privacy and security
Step 5. Start collecting emails
Hooray! You’re ready to start collecting the addresses.
The common practice is embedding the form into your homepage or landing pages and marketing these pages.
But what if you don’t have a website yet?
Well, this shouldn’t stop you from starting your list. What you need is a stand-alone signup form like this one and tap your existing network.
If you know somebody in your circle whom you think might be interested in joining your list, then send them an email or message them on Facebook. Tell them about the project that you’re doing. Highlight what they’re going to get from it. And ask them if they’re up for it.
If they respond with a yes, then send them to your form and ask them to sign up.
It doesn’t stop here though…
Starting your email marketing list doesn’t end with collecting random emails. You have to be objective about the picking. You have to have a strategy behind it. Follow these 5 steps and you’re on your way to creating a killer list.
Once you get to the part where you’re already getting a number of emails, congratulations! But the work doesn’t stop here. Remember, what you want is an email marketing list that grows. You won’t get that if you don’t market your offer, but that’s another topic.
For now, focus on getting the first hundred subscribers. Good luck!
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