There is still no better way to build business and tighten your connection to your customer than a good email list. The hardest part of course is building up those opt-in emails. Before reading any further–don’t be tempted to take the short-cut and buy an email list. Creating a strong permission-based, personally developed email list will pay much larger dividends.
1. Make sign-up forms easy to find: Most likely you will be getting opt-in email addresses from your website or blog. The number one mistake is making these sign-up forms hard to find. Embed them in content, in the sidebar, in the upper-righthand Web hotspot, or even pop them up; but, most importantly get them noticed.
Try using multiple forms, test different positions, and try a variety of presentation techniques. Also, don’t forget to pitch your email list with a link in your email signature.
3. Provide an incentive to subscribe: Give your readers a reason to sign-up. This is also a great way to quickly provide a sample of what a subscriber can expect. This should show your new subscriber how valuable it is going to be to be on your list.
Provide an exclusive eBook, presentation, white paper, or other unique content. You can also provide them special offers or discounts that are linked to your product(s) or services(s). Get them started right–make sure this incentive gives real and immediate value.
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4. Don’t ask for excessive information: This is probably the second biggest mistake (behind obscuring the sign-up form). You are not trying to get them to fill out a mortgage application–you just want an email address. Chance are all you really need to ask for is a name and an email.
It is nice to know a little about your subscribers, but chances are the blog or website that attracted their sign-up gives you enough clue to their interests. Plus, once they are subscribed conducting a survey and asking questions is a great way to engage and strengthen that list.
You don’t need these questions as barriers to signing up.
5. Use multiple subscribe forms: Testing is the key to all online marketing. This is no exception. Try a variety of different subscription forms, calls to action, and display techniques. You will be surprised the difference that subtle changes make on the Web.
6. Use forward to friend feature: One you have them on the email list you want it to go viral. Make sure every email and sign-up form lets them tell a friend about your emails. Every subscriber has their own little mini email list. You want them to forward into that group.
Oh, and don’t be afraid to ask them to do just that.
7. Share your knowledge: This is really the key. If you want your email subscribers to really value being on your list you need to share knowledge and value. Each email you publish to your list should have at least one actionable step.
Email lists can be powerful, affordable, marketing strategies in tough markets. Give it a try today.
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