Friday, 5 October 2012

Building an Email List

Email lists are great, and for numerous reasons. In a nutshell, they provide a great way to drive traffic to your blog, and stay in touch with your clients and customers, no matter what kind of a blog you run!

Just about everyone out there who uses the internet has an email address, which means that getting in touch with you existing, as well as potential clients is super-easy, while at the same time being super-cheap and cost-effective.

Emails are also a Google-safe way of getting traffic; in an uncertain world of Pandas and Penguins, there’s no way of knowing if or when your website will be hit. If your blog gets hit by one of Google’s updates, you’ll still be able to drive in traffic, thanks to your email list.

Besides, email lists are known to have good conversion rates as well as great clickthrough rates.

Here are some tips and tricks about how you can build a large email list, and the things you need to do in order to build one.

1. Goals and Aims of Your List – It is important to define what you aim to achieve with your email list, and the reasons why you want to build one in the first place. Is the primary reason to drive in traffic, generate sales, sell a product/service, or something else? Determining the goal at this point in time will help you tailor your list-building strategies accordingly.

2. Post Content Worth Following – Ideally, people would want to find shortcuts that would let them build a big email list using different shortcuts and tricks. The fact of the matter is that even if you do succeed in doing so, don’t expect your list to have good conversions or CTRs. You could instead do it the right way, and post content that actually encourages subscriptions and follows, and urges your readers to give you their email IDs. Ask yourself this: how can you make someone life easier through your content, why should they subscribe to you and how/what ways would they benefit by giving you their email ID?

3. The Incentive – In order to encourage people to subscribe to your mailing list, you also have to give them an incentive. Yes, your content should be enough (and good enough) for this purpose, however giving back a little extra to the people loyal to you won’t hurt, would it? Choose something that would be a big enough incentive for people in your niche – a free video tutorial, a 7-day access to the members area on your website, a rebate/discount coupon, one of your best eBooks… just about anything that you can give away and that would be valuable for your visitors.

4. Email Marketing Software – Once you have a goal(s), reasons why people would want to give you their email address, as well as what you intend of giving back to them, you will now start the process of actually building a list. There are plenty of email marketing and list-building software and services available out there. However the biggest ones are MailChimp and Aweber. Almost everyone who is serious when it comes to building lists uses either one of these. They offer a ton of features (some free, some paid for), different packages to suit your needs and your pocket, and are easy to manage and integrate with all popular blogging formats.

5. Optin Forms – Most of the aforementioned service will allow you to put up an ‘optin’ on your blog – a box that allows people to subscribe to your email list (Aweber even shows you how to make one and put it on your blog). This is usually a box that you often see on websites that asks for an email ID and has a ‘subscribe’ or a ‘sign up’ button on the bottom. You can choose from a variety of different color/themes for your optin boxes, add fields such as first and last names to them (or preferably keep them simple by only asking for an email ID), and choose to place these anywhere on your website – such as on the sidebar, in the middle of your posts or at the end of them.

6. Don’t be Annoying – Avoid using popup windows and other annoying methods of asking people for their email IDs. They’re generally a nuisance and downright annoying, and might actually discourage people from subscribing to your blog. How would you feel if you were to walk in a store and someone were to shove something in your face? Placement matters, so instead, be intelligent and (as discussed above) place your optin box in places such as the sidebar, underneath your content, etc.

7. Privacy Concerns – One of the biggest concerns people will have when giving you their email, will be privacy. Make sure that you address this issue and include a Privacy Policy statement with your optins (a link to the statement would do), as well as all your emails.  Websites such as FreePrivacyPolicy and GeneratePrivacyPolicy will allow you to easily do this.

8. Your Email List is One of Your Biggest Assets – Remember that not everyone is/will be willing to give you his or her email ID. If people have trusted you with their emails; refrain from selling email lists or misusing them in any way whatsoever. Above all, deliver on your promises – provide your readers with fresh, excellent quality content – on a regular basis – that is valuable and relevant to them. You will slowly but surely build up a list of loyal subscribers, and your list will continue to grow if you follow these list-building best practices.

If you have any questions about list-building and the like, feel free to post in the comments section below!

1 comment:

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