We wanted to learn about list generation and how to get people to sign up to our email list. We know that we can deliver quality content through our website and blog. We know that everyone is using FREE giveaways such as eBooks, reports, worksheets, videos and some even their entire course but how effective is this strategy? Does it build a loyal audience and ultimately get you and your products in front of the right audience?
We did our own research and look at the different strategies to building an email list.
Social Triggers have a page dedicated to building an email list, copyblogger had an article on how to build a first class email list in 30 days, Pat Flynn described in his post how he accumulated 10,000 email subscribers in 13.5 months on his site The Smart Passive Income, Fizzle focused on 4 strategies to build an email list and HubSpot features 25 clever ways to grow your email marketing list.
What Do You Need To Start Building a List
Apart from actually building and attracting an audience and ultimately convincing them to sign-up as your subscribers, you will first need to sign up with an Email List Software. Personally, we use AWeber but you can also find others like MailChimp and Campaign Monitor. These are sometimes known as Auto-responder as you can set the service to automatically send confirmation email and subsequently, schedule and send follow up emails in series.
While there is nothing stopping you from collecting emails manually with a contact form and manually adding them to your address book and sending them emails when you have an update, such a task can be automated with the software. You also avoid the risk of your domain or IP address of your Internet connection being black listed as a spammer.
So, start building your own mailing list using one of these tools to slimline the whole sign-up and confirmation process and take advantage of other automated functions as soon as possible.
- AWeber: We use AWeber to send broadcast emails safely to your audience keeping them informed
- MailChimp: similar to AWeber, MailChimp is another email marketing campaign tool
Next, read about the strategies that we and others used to get attract visitors to sign-up as subscribers.
Top 5 Online Resources on Building an Email List
Here are Google’s top five results on ‘how to build a (email) list’
- List Building 101: How to Build an Email List (Social Triggers)
- How to Build a First-Class Email List in 30 Days -from Scratch (copyblogger)
- 4 Ways to Build Your Email List Today (without spending time learning new tactics)
- How I Accumulated 10,000 Email Subscribers in 13.5 months (Smart Passive Income)
- 25 Clever Ways to Grow Your Email Marketing List (HubSpot)
David Halpern in his article List Building 101 made the following points:
- get started on building your list as soon as possible
- sprinkle lots of sign-ups on your About page (an idea he borrowed from Copyblogger also featured in the top 5 resources here)
- add subscriber sign-ups boxes at the bottom of your posts, visitors read the article to the end, they are obviously interested in what you have to offer
- maintain a fairly simple sidebar with a sign-up box as minimum, David suggests a sign-up box and your popular posts box and no more than 4 (with search bar and ads)
- he goes on to suggest that for your sidebar, the sign-up box is position at the top including social proofs (the number of subscribers)
- in his other article, he suggested adding sign-up boxes in 7 key areas; a feature box on the front page, top of sidebar (mentioned earlier), at the end of an article, in the footer, in the header and in the lighbox pop-up.
- add a full width Hello Bar to your page(s), a sort of welcome bar that doubles as sign-up that builds a list on Hello Bar that you can then synchronize with your own mailing list on AWeber, MailChimp or Campaign Monitor.
- finally, in using Hello Bar, he went on to talk about How he gained 1180 additional email subscribers in 30 days by offering audience a ‘tangible bribe’ (ebook, webinar, etc) and sending Hello Bar traffic to a landing page to increase conversion.
For his full article click here. David links to his other articles published both on Social Triggers
Ben Settle of copyblogger in his article boldly titled How to Build a First-Class Email List in 30 days – from Scratch use the following strategies:
- trade half a dozen of press releases with someone with a big list talking about your site over the month
- hone in on your skills and write on what interest both you and potential email list owner
- he also gave us some pointers on how to reach out to these email list owner; start by building up your contacts over social media, ask other business owners or colleagues, participate in discussion forums relevant to your industry, work with small list owners too, become better at what you do and you will automatically get free recommendations.
For his full article click here.
In her article, Nathalie Lussier on Fizzle.co takes on building an email list without spending time learning new tactics in 4 steps:
- Use the slow and steady method to build traffic; create content, blog, guest post, use SEO on your article, get word of mouth then repeat
- Use short bursts to build traffic; these involve live webinars, contests, joint ventures or ads campaign
- Use a launch to build traffic; this involves a product launch and typical activities surrounding a launch i.e. interviews, guest posting, social media, affiliate generally to plan ahead a get everything ready for a big splash
- Use vertical markets; this involves re-purposing your content for different markets and then any of the above strategies to build traffic.
For her full article click here. She uses many live examples that are worth looking into for cues and tips to build your own email list.
Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income used the slow and steady method as described in his article:
- to set the scene, it wasn’t until a year after he started his blog that he got the idea of building a list, so there were already plenty of content and loyal audience on his site
- he uses a ‘no-selling’ strategy with his list that results in higher open rate and more trust from his subscribers whom are then willing to recommend others
- he drives traffic to his website where he publishes any recommendations or promotions via soft sell
- Pat also emphasizes on the giveaway be it an ebook, report or course, it has to be of value to your target audience
- finally, he talks about the choice of colours, graphic, text and placement for the opt-in form in the sidebar to attract visitors
- as for placement of opt-in form he suggested the sidebar, end of each post, within comment form with plugin, a landing page that he shares on his podcast, YouTube and in guest posts and interviews.
For his full article click here.
Last but not least, Andy Pitre in his blog article on HubSpot lists 25 ways to grow your email list. We are just going to highlight a handful here but do click on the link below to read his full article.
- create content with such great value that it is likely to be shared or forward on
- like Pat and everyone else, create a free ebook or whitepaper and offer this free as part of the sign up
- host an online webinar
- use an online contest such as offering a free giveaway to encourage more visitors to sign-up*
- add opt-in form on a custom tab on Facebook page
- run a promotion on partner website
- use share this buttons in your email to encourage existing subscribers to share and forward our email
- promote your site and sign-up when guest blogging
- use Twitter, LinkeIn Company page or Group, Google+, Pinterest to promote offers, ebook or free resource leading to opt-in
One thing I would like to add is that, *don’t just offer any any free giveaway. Consider offering something that will be of value and relevant to the target audience. It needs to attract only the audience you want. Giving away an iPad or iPod doesn’t really help, unless you are building a list to promote your e-store or gadget shop. Think of a gift that will encourage your target audience to sign up.
For his full article click here.
It’s good to know that both Derek Halpern and Pat Flynn use and recommend AWeber as the preferred Email List Software.
While you can find many more resources online available for free, personally we needed a more structured and focused approach to list generation and building. We signed up to the Inbox Blueprint course earlier this year. We are still working on the strategies offered in the course and will probably do a full review on this after we have completed and put all the strategies to practice but it has definitely set us in the right direction.
If you have come across a useful resource or article on building email list, please do share this with us by leaving a comment below.
Please note that some of the links on this page are affiliate links. We only recommend them because we trust and use them.