Everyone has told you that you need to do email marketing. Everyone’s told you how much impact it can have for your business.
There’s only one problem…
You just can’t seem to get people to join your email list. You’re tearing your hair out and you don’t know what you’re doing wrong.
It’s OK because you came to the right place. Because we’re going to get started on growing your email list right now!
You don’t ask, you don’t get
This is one of my favourite sayings. And it’s particularly true when you want to grow your email list. You need to ask. It’s as simple as that.
But here’s the thing:
Most people ask in the wrong way. For example, you’re at the till in a shop buying something and the assistant says: “Would you like me to add you to our email list?”
What’s your immediate thought? I bet it’s something like this: “Oh, no. They’re going to bombard me with emails all the time.” Was I right?
Now compare it with: “We send a monthly newsletter with offers, competitions and information about our new products. Would you like to receive this?”
What’s your reaction now? You like the shop. You’d shop there more often, and if they sent you offers, you’d get some bargains. So, you hand over your email address.
So, think carefully about how you ask. If you have employees, make sure you train them to ask in the right way too. Because showing value and telling people how often they’ll hear from you will make them feel secure about giving you their email address.
Yes, but why do I need to ask?
There’s a very simple answer to this question. If you don’t ask permission, your emails may get marked as spam.
Here’s why you should worry:
The more spam reports you receive, the less likely it is that your emails will reach people’s inboxes. This is because Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will blacklist your email address.
Make sure this doesn’t happen to you by getting permission.
Isn’t it easier to just buy a list?
No! There are four reasons for this:
- Buying lists is an expensive business. Do you have the resources to do that? We’re talking hundreds of pounds. And when you get the list and send an email to it, you’re bound to get lots of bounces (emails not delivered) because as much as you’re told that the list is up-to-date, it just never is. Now you’ve just wasted your money.
- You’ll be told that you’re buying an “opted-in” list. But think about it. Are they really opted-in to you? Chances are they’ve never heard of you before and your email will be out of the blue for them.
- Are you really sure that your audience is on that list? Building a list organically lets you add people who are relevant to your business. Buying a list is like shooting in the dark.
- You increase your chances of being blacklisted by ISPs. Because guess what? If the recipient doesn’t know you and doesn’t think he or she gave you permission, they will mark your email as spam!
So, how do I actually grow my email list?
Now you know why it’s important to ask and the reason you need to do that, I’m going to give you some ideas on where you can ask. I use some of these myself, and they really do work. In one year of being in business, I’ve grown my list to over 300!
- Your website. It’s the most obvious one. But I see email sign-up boxes hidden away at the bottom or on the “Contact us” page. Unless you’re the type of person who scrolls all the way to the bottom or thinks to look on the contact page, you’ll never find that sign-up box. Put it at the top of your website. Better still, anchor it to your main navigation menu so it follows people around.
- Online checkout. If you’re an e-commerce business, give people the opportunity to join your list at the checkout. Make sure you have a box for them to tick, and remember to ask in a way that shows value.
- Social media. Chances are that the people who follow you on social media are not on your email list. They need to be. Share links to your email sign-up form and tell them why they should join. One great thing to do is tell them that they will receive exclusive news and offers before they are made public.
- At your till. I mentioned this above. Make sure you have a means for people to join your list by your till. This might be in paper form, where people simply write down their details, or you could use any number of apps. I like the Constant Contact app (there’s one for iOS too), which works on tablets because it puts the emails directly into the list I’ve chosen in my Constant Contact account (try it for free!) That’s less work for me!
- On your invoices. Yep, I’ve had people join my email list because I put a link on every invoice I send out. And because I email the invoice, the link is in an Adobe Acrobat PDF, so people can simply click on it.
- Business cards. Again, I have a link on the backs of my business cards. It’s an often forgotten space, but if you have a blank space, why shouldn’t you maximise it? My tip for this: use a link shortener and customise it. Mine is bitly.com/MinalsNews.
- Tradeshows. This is a great place to add to your email list. Make sure you have a way to collect people’s details. You can have a paper form, or use the type of app I described in number 4, above. Alternatively, you can run a prize draw and ask people to drop their business cards into a goldfish bowl to enter. Just make sure you tell them they will be added to your email list.
- Networking events. This is such an easy way to grow your list. Particularly if you’ve had a good conversation with someone. I simply tell people I have a weekly marketing tips newsletter and ask if they would like to be sent it. I’ve not been turned down once! I either take their card or better still, use the Constant Contact app I have on my mobile phone (available on iOS too) and add them there and then.
- Offer something in return. This is another tactic that works well for me. I offer a piece of marketing knowledge, like this, and because people find it useful, they exchange their email address in return for it.
- Guest Wi-Fi. If you have Wi-Fi that your customers can use, say in a restaurant or hairdressers, use this as an opportunity to grow your list. Your customers exchange their email address in return for using the Wi-Fi. Again, just make sure they know you’ll add them to your email list.
So, now you have 10 ways to start growing your email list today. Don’t forget that you need to make sure you welcome new people to your email list. Read how you can do that in this blog post, and save time whilst you do it! You can do this by using email automation, or autoresponders.
Make sure you plan your autoresponders in advance. Use my handy planning worksheet to help you get it done!
Also published on Medium.