5 Different Ways to Build an Email List
Email marketing is a trendy, but truly important topic right now, and it’s easy to understand why. When you have a loyal email list of people who love your work, trust you as a person, and want to support you; your chances for finding success skyrocket.
Many people choose not to build an email list because they don’t know how, or they feel overwhelmed, but building an email list isn’t as challenging or time-consuming as it sounds.
Why Building an Email List is So Important
When people opt-in to receive information from you directly in their inbox, that means they’re invested in you and your work — they want to hear what you have to say.
With so much social media overwhelm, it is sometimes most effective to reach people in a place they check every day.
Building a list helps you build trust with your audience. These people are your champions, so when you have something to sell, these are the folks most likely to buy.
Beginner tips for building a loyal email list:
1. Create a list before you’re ready.
When I launched JessicaLawlor.com last October, the smartest advice I received from my friend Alexis Grant was to create an email signup box and collect emails before I was even ready to send an email. I launched my site with email signup boxes and strategic mentions throughout posts, but I didn’t send my first email until April.
That means I actively promoted an email list and my forthcoming e-newsletter for six months before actually doing anything with it. By the time I was ready to hit send on my first email campaign, I already had a list of more than 100 interested subscribers, and I had barely put any work into promoting it.
2. Give your community the tools to help you spread the word.
Enlist your biggest cheerleaders to help with the heavy lifting. In a recent e-newsletter, I included the following as my PS line (a key place to add a note you want your subscribers to pay attention to):
PS — If you like this e-newsletter, would you consider forwarding it to a friend and encouraging them to subscribe? Or if you’re feeling extra kind, maybe you’d consider sharing this tweet by clicking here. Thank you!
To get help, you simply have to ask your community. The link I provided went to a Click to Tweet page where readers simply had to click the button to share my pre-written message promoting my email list. I was amazed at the number of readers who shared the tweet during the week that e-newsletter hit inboxes!
It’s all about the ask. Don’t be afraid to ask your community for help and support. The worst thing that can happen is they do nothing, and the best thing that can happen is your list grows in a very organic way.
3. Make subscribing easy.
The easiest way to get people to join your list is by making the process seamless and quick.
Make your email signup box easy to find and visually pleasing. For example, my email callout box appears both in my sidebar and at the bottom of my homepage; the box appears no matter what page or blog post on my site you’re reading.
Give a brief description of what readers will get when they subscribe — I love the way Ashley from Your Super Awesome Life does this, and with her callout box along the top of her blog, it’s impossible to miss.
4. Offer a freebie.
One of the easiest ways to get people to subscribe is to offer them something a reward or freebie. With WritersBucketList, Dana executes this tip flawlessly. To entice readers to sign up for DIY Writing updates, she offers A Writer’s Bucket List FREE. Similarly, The Write Life offers a free ebook about how to land your first client when you sign up for their e-newsletter.
They key here is to ensure the freebie you’re providing is relevant to the audience you’re trying to attract and build. I haven’t executed this tip myself yet, but plan to do so in the coming months.
5. Provide great content.
Once people start joining your list, you want to keep them there for the long haul and encourage them to spread the word about your e-newsletter and other work. The best way to do this is to provide amazing content on a regular basis. Regardless of the schedule, whether it’s once a week or once a month, pack every email you send with goodies that will keep your community coming back for more.
I personally love Alexis Grant’s emails, because she consistently provides hand-on and actionable content — even if she’s selling a product or promoting a webinar, she always includes fabulous resources from other experts that introduce me to new people. I open every single email she sends because I know it’s going to provide value to me and my work.
If you want to try building your own email list, you can use convert kit landing pages for free.