Thinking about buying an email list? Wait. Before you pay anyone for a “list” of potential newsletter subscribers, you should absolutely attempt to capture these names directly. Why? Because it’s free, and it’s been my experience that purchasing an email list does not provide good value or results.
If you build it, they will come.
This doesn’t apply just to “Fields Of Dreams,” but also to building subscriber lists with names and emails that are interested in the products or services your business provides.
The most effective way obtain a good list is to build it yourself. And it all starts with good content. If you build it, they will come. Here’s how:
- Write practical, useful content. You will never collect email addresses just because you provide a newsletter “free of charge.” You must first provide content that the reader deems worthy to click, stay, and subscribe. Providing unique and valuable information first and foremost is the most important way in growing your email list.
- Make it easy. Add a subscription form to multiple pages of your website where it is appropriate to do so, place it in a prominent position on the page and identified clearly.
- Ask for just the basics. Request minimal information – for most newsletters, a first name and email address will suffice. The more information you request, the less likely your web visitor will subscribe to your newsletter.
- Provide a sample newsletter. Offer subscribers the ability to view your newsletter before they sign up. Those that like what they read will sign-up. Those that don’t would most likely unsubscribe from your email list anyway.
- Give away an opt-in bonuses. Create an opt-in bonus in return for subscribing. An ebook or PDF report, webinar, podcast, or downloadable or web-based software are great ways to entice new subscribers, and builds credibility as well.
- Include “Sign Up” button. Use a button or link within your newsletter providing a text link to your subscription page. If readers forward newsletters to others, or share online, the “sign-up” button or link will give others an immediate manner to opt-in.
- Testimonials. Put testimonials on your squeeze page and/or your email sign-up forms in your website. Video is very compelling medium for testimonials. If possible testimonials should include full names, locations and/or links to establish credibility.
- Create a squeeze page. A squeeze page is a simple page on your website designed solely to capture opt-in emails addresses. Unlike other pages on your website with content and navigation, when a person arrives at your squeeze page, they have only two options: either sign-up or leave.
- Set Expectations. Let subscribers know what they will be receiving: useful information, discounts, offers from third parties, or some combination? How often will they receive emails: daily, weekly, monthly? If possible, let subscribers adjust their own preferences. Letting people know what to expect will increase your opt-in rate.
- Use Social Media. Post links to published newsletters on your Facebook and Twitter pages. Mention upcoming topics for future newsletters to generate additional interest.
- Archive past newsletters. Make it easy for subscribers to access past newsletters and provide the capability to search past newsletters by keywords and topics. A library of newsletters also builds your credibility and positions you as an authority in your particular field.
- Network with publishers. Publishers of other newsletters and/or print articles can provide valuable links, content, and subscribers to your own publication. This is a win-win for both, and will help to build your lists faster.
- Ask readers to share. Word of mouth is viral. If a subscriber finds your newsletter to be informative, ask them to share it with friends and colleagues. This is a great way of get new subscribers.
- Blog consistently. Blogging creates great dialogue with potential customers, and creates nice synergy with email marketing. Be sure to include a newsletter sign-up form on your blog page.
- Comment. Post valuable comments on related blogs. In most cases, comments are posted with a link back to your site. This is an easy way to generate new traffic and subscribers.
- Allow reprints. Websites and publishers actively look for high-quality content. Allow them to reprint yours as long as it’s not modified. With each reprint, your audience and exposure grows leading to new subscribers, traffic and links.