Email marketing is one of the most important channels a marketer can use. However, it's useless without a regularly managed and robust email list. Sure, you may have a few good email addresses on there that are valuable to you, but without a robust email list, your business is going to be ineffective and in turn, suffer.
It’s a well-known fact that email marketing is constantly ranked high up the list of effective marketing channels. This is due to the strong open rate that email marketing continues to maintain among dedicated and engaged subscribers.
However, without a strong email list, this incredibly effective channel can be close to useless.
This is because a weak email list limits your opportunities to effectively communicate to your ideal target audience in an authentic way. In addition to the fact that you'll be less competitive in your sector.
But compound this with email lists having a very limited life span. HubSpot did some research and concluded that email lists degrade by 22.5% each year, for a number of reasons. The main one being that email addresses can become redundant, as people change from one company to another. Couple this with those who unsubscribe and your list can dwindle relatively quickly.
As a marketer, it’s imperative that you continue to update with your email list and move in a positive direction. This means firstly maintaining the relationships you have with individuals already on your list. But also making a conscious effort to continually build your email list to be bigger and better.
But before we begin looking at ways to grow your email list...
What is an email list
An email list is your collection of email addresses of people who've opted-in to your email database. As these people have willingly opted-in, they’re typically an engaged audience, who know what they’re getting and want to hear from you.
These contacts (B2B or B2C) would have been captured by you through your lead generating campaigns. This means you've provided them with enough value to have them want to hear your updates and the comings-and-goings of your business.
Purchasing an email list
Despite what some people (sometimes ill-informed professionals) may say, it’s never a good idea to buy a database of email addresses to add to your list. Although you need to build your email database, refrain from buying an email list.
There are many issues with doing this. The main one being that you have violated the rules of consent under the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). However, beyond this, buying them is just not sustainable. This is because most email marketing services won’t let you send email to those that you’ve bought.
In addition to the emails typically being bad for your business. This is through the simple fact that these people don’t know you or your business, so you’re really only adding to their mistrust. Couple this with the fact that actual good email addresses aren’t for sale. What you’ll be buying is a low-quality email list that would be effectively useless to you.
In short, if you want to build a killer email list, don’t buy one! It’s best to earn them the old fashioned way.
23 hacks to build a killer email list
Many businesses find it difficult to acquire an effective email list. This could often because they feel as though they’ve exhausted their options. So we’ve put together a creative list of ways for you to continue to build your email list and enhance your email marketing.
Build your list using email
1. Create incredible content
The first way to grow your email list is one that you should be doing anyway. That is to ensure that your email content is amazing. This will not only ensure that you get those new email subscribers, but you’ll also keep them engaged and opted in.
Beyond keeping people subscribed, this can help you grow your subs, too. If your email is truly amazing and entertaining, your subscribers will forward your content to their network.
2. Encourage subscribers to share and forward your emails
Our first point now takes us to our second. Encourage your subscribers to share your content. Do this by including social sharing buttons and an "Email to a Friend" button. Through doing this, you’ll not only gain access to their friends, but you’ll at the very least get your brand out there in front of more eyeballs.
3. Make sure your email list is segmented
Segmenting your email list means to break down your list into various groups that are interested in specific topics. By doing this, you can send specific messages to specific segmented groups. This means that those individuals are only getting emails that pertain to them and are thus more likely to click through.
So create as many segmented groups within your list. The best thing is, most email marketing services like MailChimp, Drift and HubSpot help you with this.
4. Reinvigorate a stale email list with an opt-in campaign
If you’re not as active on email as you would like, then it’s possible that you’ve got a decaying list. Although this may be decreasing in value to you, it’s not totally useless. Let this list know that you’re becoming more active through email and provide them with an opt-in to your more up to date email list or re-opt-in to the current list where you can make a note of the active email addresses. Often people hear “remove emails” as if it’s a bad thing. But in this instance, it’s good because it allows you to only speak to those active users.
If you’re creating a new list, tempt them with a lead magnet and capture the active users’ data. This is typically done through a button at the bottom of your email.
5. Add a link to your employees' signatures
Email signatures are fantastic lead magnets. Beyond this, using an email signature as a call to action is a great way to grow an engaged list. A hyperlinked email signature can lead people to a landing page where they can sign up for whatever you’re promoting. This can be your email list, but can also work great for a blog or to download your content.
This is done through your standard email. For example, if you use Gmail, put your CTA at the bottom. This works great because you’re already in discussion with these people, so asking them to go into your email list is no big deal!
Build your email list using gated content
6. Use a lead magnet
Lead magnets are incredibly useful for generating all sorts of conversions, including email capturing. Use this by developing free gated content (eBook, online tool or resource, yearly reports, etc) that can only be accessed through a landing page asking to provide their email address in order to see the content.
7. Create 'Bonus' Content
Sometimes to grab their interest, the free and gated content needs to come first. You can do this through a blog post that offers a beginners guide on a subject, then offer "bonus" content. This bonus content would provide them with more advanced tips and strategies. They can get it by providing their email address on a landing page.
8. Create an online contest
Creating an online contest with a prize that people really want is a great way to drive individuals to your landing page. Use the contest as a way to exchange an entry for their details. Promote this on social media to let as many people know about the contest as possible.
Build your email list using social media
9. Promote your lead magnet on social media
Create a campaign promoting your lead magnet mentioned above. Make sure that your followers know about your eBook, online tool, etc and get them to redeem it!
10. Promote a social media only offer
Promote your offer through your content on your brand Facebook page. This is a great tool because it allows you to properly gauge your Facebook engagement levels, while giving away your content in exchange for their email address.
11. Add a CTA button on your brands Facebook page
Facebook allows you to add a call-to-action at the top of your page. You can choose to point your followers in many different ways, including to sign up to a mailing list. Here at Caffeinate, we’re currently using this function to move people along the sales funnel to book a meeting.
12. Add engagement features to your YouTube channel
At the end of your next YouTube video, make sure to add hyperlinked "end cards" for your followers get them to subscribe to your channel via their email address.
Build your email list using your website
13. Ask for feedback
When something is important to an individual, more often than not, they’ll love to provide their feedback and opinion. You can capitalise on this by including a form on your website for them to fill out with their thoughts. On this form, make it an option to stay up-to-date with you by submitting their email address. Make sure that it’s clear that they’ll be going onto your email list when they submit it.
Pro tip: Do not make it mandatory for those who wish to submit their thoughts to give you their email address. People like it better if it’s just an option!
14. Shorten your lead magnet forms
Although you have many questions to ask, make sure to stick to basics here. If there are too many things to fill out your form, it’s more likely that you’ll see more bounces and unfinished forms. You’ll see fewer people scared off by reducing your forms to just two to three fields.
15. Put lead magnets on multiple pages where they can be seen
Make sure that you capture as many email list subs as possible by putting a lead magnet on multiple pages. This ensures that customers are not digging around your website looking for places to subscribe, as this increases your bounce rate. Some key pages could be your homepage, 'About’ page, and 'Contact’ page.
16. A/B test different campaign copy
It is possible that you’re doing everything right. You’ve got lead magnets of gated leading to active landing pages, running contests and are active on social media. But it’s still not working.
The issue could be your design or copy. A way to not only find the problem but fix it is to run an A/B test on it. Test your work with different versions of the same content, helping you figure out what works and what doesn’t. This could be any part of the funnel, so make sure you test all of it and track the results for the future.
17. Create a blog
If you don't already have a blog, now's the time to get one. Blogging is a great tool to help increase your ranking on search engines and allows you to collect subscribers. Subscribers that have subscribed to one area of your business, easily segmenting themselves.
18. Guest blog for other websites with a CTA
You’re not the only business in your niche. Because of this, there is an opportunity to connect with your peers and guest blog on their page. Guest blogging can help you grow your contact list from their audience. When you do guest blog, make sure to include a CTA to your website, where those people can read and subscribe to your blog.
Build your email list with a partner
19. Run a promotion or display ads other websites or email newsletters
Leverage other websites or newsletters by promoting yourself on their channels. A great way to do this is to run a banner ad on a channel with an appropriate audience, directing readers back to your page to subscribe or progress to the next stage in your funnel.
20. Co-host with a partner
As we touched on, a great lead magnet is gated content. Well, what if that gated content is shared between you and another business. This means that you can get more content, with a shared burden of creating it. Do this through an eBook or a webinar, then sharing the leads with the co-host.
Build your email list in person and offline
21. Attend trade shows
Do not discount offline events as a way to gather data for your email list. Events like trade shows often show excellent growth opportunities as hundreds of professionals in your industry will attend. Once again, you need to have some kind of magnet in order to get those emails. Whether that be something for free, some content or exchange for your email. So get those sign ups in person and import them into your database afterwards.
22. Host your own events
Meetups, seminars, hackathons, educational panels, and even your own conferences put you front and centre of a networking event. Better yet, they not only make for a great lead magnet, but they position you as a leader in your industry. Make it so those who wish to attend sign up to your email database upon payment or submission.
Not everybody has a brick-and-mortar store, but if you do, then you can do this. Since you have a face-to-face relationship with people, it would be easier for you to gather their details. Create a campaign where you gather data from walk-ins, whether-or-not they make a purchase. Better yet, create a store membership program where they can sign up and receive email notifications for your activities.
There are many creative ways to build an email list. Sure it is not always easy, but given that it is one of the more important assets that your business has, it’s important to get right and capitalise on.
These may not be solutions individually, however, combined, we’re sure that they will help you meet your goals of having a robust and healthy email list in your database. The good news is, they’re all things that you can begin doing today and see results just as quickly.
Once you have a killer email list, you can then begin to communicate with your engaged customers. They have signed up and want to hear from you. Meaning that they expect your emails and are therefore more likely to progress through your sales funnel.
Lastly, as we mentioned before, your email list can degrade quickly. So make sure to keep an eye on what's going on with your list and maintain it as you go, scraping bouncing emails and only keeping the good ones.