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3 Strategies for Building a Solid Email List

One of the toughest things to do online is trying to build an email list. It’s tough because people fiercely guard their emails more so today than they did 10 years ago.

But the Internet is here to stay and unless you have a killer database, chock full of hot prospects and repeat customers I don’t know why any small business would not try to cultivate a list online. But it ain’t like talking about it!

The goal of any list is to bring people into your sales funnel and the conversion rates online are much higher than if you are talking to someone in person or on the phone. Most lists have a conversion rate of 2 – 5% and in theory these conversions can move up into the double-digit range if you are targeting a specific audience.

Regardless, many marketing experts feel that your list needs to be around at least a thousand subscribers before you can gain any real traction on a regular basis. That’s not to say you won’t make any sales – you just won’t make that many.

Keep in mind that list building isn’t a sprint – it’s more like a marathon. Here are three strategies that you can use to help build your list more quickly and with targeted leads.

Go Offline
Many people focus a ton of their attention online and forget that there are still prospects offline. We sometimes forget that there are real people on the other side of that screen looking for someone to help them solve their problem.

Once you pick an email service provider – be sure to download their mobile app. This will give you the opportunity to add people, that you’ve connected with in person, to your list.

Check with your ESP on their spam laws. Some of them like MailChimp will allow you to manually add subscribers to your list but others won’t.

Make a list of the various trade shows, meet-ups and expos that will be fertile ground for your target audience and start pounding the pavement. You can approach people casually or print up a few subtle postcards or flyers promoting your latest opt-in offer or promotion that they’ll receive when they sign-up for your list. It’s slow but effective.

If you don’t want to manually type in their info on site because it may be too awkward – swap business cards and scan them in later. You can use an app like Scan Biz Cards to put them into your database. I love this app. It has several features including letting you schedule a reminder to follow-up with your new found contact after the event.

Produce Webinars
Another way you can build your list and expand your reach is via a webinar. Webinars allow prospects to see how you work without making a big financial commitment upfront.

It’s also a way to generate new revenue if you are able to offer your services or products or services online. Just think of a webinar as an online version of one those “infomercials” you see early on Sunday morning or late at night.

If you’re wondering why do you need a webinar when you’ve already got a blog and social media – because so does everyone else. People absorb and find information differently. Some will find it via social media, others enjoy blogs and those who are willing to sign-up for a 30 or 45 minute webinar, on a subject, are most likely going to pull the trigger and buy at some point in time.

Webinars are excellent ways to zero-in on and segment the prospects with whom you can “close the sale” with from those who are “just looking”. The subscribers on your list are all prospects but they’re just in different parts of your sales funnel.

Conduct a Live Workshops or Seminar
A live workshop/seminar is almost a cross between what you can accomplish networking and a having webinar.

Studies have shown that you have a better chance of closing a sale in person. It’s just a matter of whether you have a compelling enough message to get your prospects to take action.

This usually means providing high value content time and time again to build that elusive “know, like and trust” factor. You want to leave no doubt in their mind, that you are the person they should work with. By conducting a workshop, you should be providing potential prospects with educational, high-value info and content.

The idea is that you’re doing this for free or for a small fee, in exchange for the opportunity to “up-sell” them to your products and services on the spot or give them an incentive to sign-up for your email list. It’s rare that anyone who comes to these workshops isn’t expecting you to up-sell to something.

They know the drill, but a free “white paper” or a small “webinar” comes in handy here for those who leave the workshop but aren’t ready to buy just yet. This gives you another opportunity to make an impression on them again.

You see if they sign-up for the “free” white paper or “webinar” they have “self-selected” {aka they chose to do so of their own free will without you being there}. This is a good sign that your lead is moving further down the “sales funnel” and moving closer to becoming a prospect.

Conclusion
I know if you have been reading this blog for a while you probably have noticed that certain phrases like “sales funnel” and “visibility and reach” keep coming up. Well, that isn’t a mistake. At the end of the day, your website is a marketing and sales tool for your business, just like all of the other tools in your marketing strategy.

How you convey your marketing message is entirely up to you, but I hope that if you haven’t started building your email list or if you are struggling to do so, that you’ll try these 3 strategies. Like the old marketing saying goes. . .”Remember, the money is in the list!

Question: What strategies or techniques have you used in the past to help build your list? Share your comments below.

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