May 05 2014

7 Overlooked Ways To Jump-Start Your Email List Today

Whether you just heard about the insanely high ROI of email marketing and decided to build an email list or you&aposre already running a successful email program and hit a dead end, I&aposm sure you are looking for ways to jump-start your list. Before we dive in, make sure you...

  1. Sign up with an email service provider.Current email marketing statistics show that businesses using an ESP are more likely to be satisfied with their email program than businesses who do not. An email service provider gives you tools to easily design and manage your email campaigns.
  2. Content, content, content.You need to have something to say in your emails. Without producing high quality content, consistently, there is no point in email marketing. What are you going to send to your audience? Without great content, everything else falls apart.
  3. Create opt-in incentive for your audience.You need to give people a reason to sign up for your emails. Check out these 10 opt-in incentive ideas to help you choose the right subscription incentive for your audience.
  4. Update your opt-in process.There are dozens of tricks to make sure your opt-in process is optimized to convert website visitors into email subscribers. Check out these 16 opt-in tricks to help you.

Now you're ready to grow your list. There are hundreds of ways to get new subscribers but we often overlook the most obvious tactics. The 7 list-building tactics below are perfect for building an email list from scratch or jump-starting your program today. Let's dive right in...

Tactic #1: Reach out to friends and family. When you're building an email list, don't overlook the power of your personal network. In the early stages, some of the best support you'll get to grow your list can come from your strongest connections - friends and family.

Sure, some of the people closest to you might have no interest in your emails. But what about their friends? What about their professional connections? You never know until you ask. Reaching out to friends and family can be difficult, so try this:

  1. Be serious.If you're not serious about building a list or you don't actually care about it, why would you want to tell your friends and family? Make sure you plan on following through with what you're selling. Otherwise, you'll hear about it forever. It's not worth ruining your personal relationships unless you are 100% committed.
  2. Don't be serious.Contact your friends with your usual communication method. If you usually call your cousin, don't email her out of the blue with a request. Call her, and if she wants to help, send a follow-up email. Keep it fun, keep it casual. Just because you're looking for help with your business does not mean you should suddenly change your approach or tone.
  3. Make the ask. Make it easy for your friends and family to help you. One of the best ways to do this is to share a link to your subscription in your email page and provide a clear call-to-action. Do you want them to share the link with one friend they know would love your emails? Or simply share the link on their Facebook wall? It's up to you to choose the ask - you know them better than I do. ;)

Friends and family are usually willing to help unless you stole the last piece of turkey on Thanksgiving. If you are confident in what you're building, you should have no problem turning to friends and family for their help. This is a very overlooked way to build a list. Tactic #2: Send a reengagement email to your dated opt-in list. Are you sitting on an opt-in email list that you built years ago? Send a reengagement email to give subscribers the option to re-subscribe to your emails. This is a great way to build your list and ensure that subscribers are engaged and interested in your campaigns. Remember, this is for opt-in lists only - buying email lists is illegal. Tactic #3: Send one-to-one emails to old contacts. Over the years, I'm sure you've emailed hundreds, if not thousands, of people that are interested in the topics you cover in your email campaigns. Even if you haven't stayed in touch with these connections, you can still engage them to sign up for your emails. But how do you go about it without spamming?

  1. Make a list of connections. Take a look at your address book and make a list of connections that might be interested in your emails. You can easily export contact lists from most ISPs.
  2. Draft a template email.Write an email that explains the general benefits of your newsletter and links to your subscription form. This will be your template to work from when sending one-to-one emails to each contact on your list.
  3. Send personalized emails to each individual connection.Working from your template, write an email to every contact on your list. Make sure you include a memory cue or hint to showcase that this is a one-to-one email and not spam.

This tactic sounds tedious, but you'd be surprised by how many of your old contacts will respond to your email. Even if you don't get as many subscribers as you want, your outreach can refresh professional relationships that will add value elsewhere. Don't get lazy and try to send an email blast - spam is illegal. Tactic #4: Take advantage of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an extremely powerful social channel for professional networking and promotion. Here are a few ways to take advantage of LinkedIn to promote your email subscription and attract new subscribers:

  1. Send private messages to key connections.Identify connections that are in industries that might benefit from your email subscription and send them private messages. Make sure to keep each message somewhat unique because LinkedIn users can mark messages as spam.
  2. Share your email subscription in LinkedIn Groups.If you're not already an active member in LinkedIn Groups, get active today. LinkedIn Groups are a great place to communicate with industry peers on a variety of topics, and a great place to promote your new subscription. Make sure you review Group Rules before or you might get yourself kicked out.
  3. Share your email subscription on activity feeds.Make a public announcement on your personal profile and company page to let people know about your emails. Let people know why they should sign up for your emails.

LinkedIn promotion is great for first-time subscription promotion and for a more developed email program. As you continue to develop your email campaigns, tap into LinkedIn Groups and your activity feed to promote your latest content or email newsletter. Tactic #5: Encourage in-house sharing. If you're just introducing email marketing into your business, engage your team to encourage them to help you drive awareness to your subscription. The whole team will benefit from better company performance so promoting your email list should be a win-win for everyone, but don't force the issue.

If your team supports your business and its direction, they will likely have no problem promoting your email list. Consider using some tips from this post to give them direction on how to spread the word. Getting every member of your team excited to share your subscription can be a valuable step to reaching more subscribers. Tactic #6: Post an ad for your list on Craigslist Craigslist can be a surprisingly useful resource to attract new subscribers. Not only is it free to post ads, but you can get specific in terms of location and subject matter you're addressing. Don't believe me? When I was promoting the launch of an online social network for music artists, over 80% of our beta users came from Craigslist. I encouraged people to submit an email address for a chance to join our beta community and focused on benefits of joining in my messaging. I tested ads in Chicago, and expanded to other markets once they were successful. Craigslist won't work for every business but it is especially helpful if you are building a list for a product launch or a local event. Instead of creating an ad that sends people to your subscription page, I recommend communicating the value of your product or event and requesting people to share an email address directly. Tactic #7: Update your email signature. Almost no explanation necessary on this one. Simply add a line to your email signature encouraging people to sign up for your email list and include a link to your subscription page. Every email you send can help you get the word out!

Conclusion Building an email list takes time but when you're trying to get your first 500 subscribers or inject new life into your email program, direct outreach and simple promotions can make all the difference. Whether you're calling friends or posting ads on Craigslist, sometimes its the weird & overlooked tactics that give you the boost you need to see consistent growth. How would you jump-start a list? Any tactics to add? If so, keep the ideas on flow and leave comment below!