How To Build An Email List, The Easy Way

How to build an email list - symbolic illustrationWant to learn how to build an email list and get the best secrets straight from the email marketing pros? We went ahead and prepared this guide just for you.

It contains a total of 13 quick and easy-to-get points that will help you get started on building a high-quality list. All it takes to create a massive list is making the first step, and I think this guide can be that first step for you.

Come Up With the Right Incentives

Before we delve into anything else, the very first thing you have to do is analyze things a bit. You have to figure out what the major pain points are for your typical prospect, lead and customer. And then figure out what you can do as a business to solve those.

Let’s get back to the absolute basics of marketing and sales for a moment here. All successful selling comes back to WIIFM (what’s in it for me). People don’t buy from you or sign up for your list to do you a favor. They want to get something out of it.

I know it sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how often we forget that this is at the absolute core of everything we do. So you really have to sit down and figure out what subscribers will get out of signing up for your list.

Produce High Quality Valuable Content

While we can make things more complicated, there is an easy way to make sure that you’re delivering value to subscribers. All you have to do is commit to providing valuable content to your subscribers.

What is valuable content though? Well, it comes in a couple of standard forms. The easiest one is focusing on content that shows them how to solve problems. And obviously, it is best if it centers on some of the major pain points you’ve identified for your market. 

Not all your informative content has to be centered around major pain points though, as you will need a volume of emails to keep up consistency. Educational content about “not-as-painful” problems is just fine.

You can share small tips and tricks that help them get a little edge here and there as well. Not everything has to be super-impressive and life changing.

In addition to educational content, keeping them up to date is also valuable

If a person signed up for your list, they do at some level care to receive updates about what your company is doing. Now, we do suggest segmenting out your subscribers and sending more updates to the more engaged leads, and less to those who aren’t as warm. In general though, it is going to be part of your content strategy.

If you are a SaaS business, this will include sending updates about new features, pricing changes, and different offers. If you are an offline business, feel free to inform people about new events, locations and anything that makes sense.

Special offers and discounts are also valuable content

Now, in general we say that your list has to be mostly about providing valuable content, because you don’t want it to be a continuous sales pitch. However, the funny thing is that certain types of sales and promotions do qualify as “valuable content”.

If you’re having the sale of the year, or you have just discounted certain products, this is valuable information, and the person gets something out of it.

The issue is when most of your emails revolve around “buy this” or “buy that”. However, if most of your emails revolve around quality educational content, sending special offers is a good thing.

And it will also depend on the business model. In e-commerce (or anything involving a big catalog of products) people do actually sign up to learn when there are discounts, sales or new products coming in. With that situation you would obviously have a high ratio of informing people about products and sales.

Organize Free Events

This is a really cool one, but will depend on your business model, and it will not be applicable to all businesses. However, if you can organize an event where you give something of value, it is a really easy way to gather leads that are further down in the customer journey. That is, they are more serious leads.

And in a lot of cases it is a very cost-effective way to gather leads, especially given the quality of the leads you will get. All you need to do is tie the registration to the event to an email. That is, the “free ticket” is sent to their email address.

The way this gets them onto your email list can come in two forms. Most marketers just do it implicitly. A person asks to get something (for example a ticket to a free event), and they just add them to the email list, and start sending emails. Other marketers will put a notice on the signup form that says you’re also signing up for the email list.

Personally, I’ve found that when you’re a good copywriter you can make it clear without a drop in conversions. If you frame it well, people have no problem opting into your list as part of getting the freebie.

You can have a (pre-checked) checkbox below the form where they book the free ticket. And this checkbox can say something like “Also sign me up for the xyz list”. Very few people will uncheck it, especially if you’re giving them a ticket to a free event.

Leverage “lead magnets”

If you haven’t heard the term, it’s just a fancy way of saying “a valuable item given away for free, in exchange for an email address”. 

Technically, the free event trick we discussed above could be a lead magnet, but the term is often used for digital items, such as a whitepaper, free digital course, or an eBook of sorts.

Lead magnets are only “magnetic” however, if you do it right. It has to be a major pain point in this market, and your copy on the page where you offer the lead magnet has to be done well. If you’re not getting people’s email addresses in exchange for your lead magnet, then one of these two needs to be improved.

As a side note, delivering the lead magnet is exceptionally easy with a platform like Emercury. You simply set up an automation that delivers said lead magnet after they fill out the form.

Consider Trying Facebook Lead Ads

This is a special new ad format that Facebook came up with, specifically tailored to those looking to acquire leads, and it can work really well if you’re looking to build an email list.

Now, it won’t work better than a traditional landing page in all situations, but in many situations it does and can outperform sending Facebook traffic to a regular landing page.

So it is definitely worth giving it a try. And if you need more help with that, check out our guide on getting started with Facebook lead ads.

Utilize Waiting Lists

This one is kind of interesting because it can be used in so many contexts. And in fact, it can be combined with many of the other methods on this list.

It works best when you’re dealing with something that involves a limited quantity. For example, let’s say that you have a big sale where you limit how many people can get the discount.

If people miss the sale, they should see a big notice that says they missed out, but they can put in their email address to be notified for the next big sale.

You might use that for an event registration page, for a webinar registration page, or anything that you can think of, where it makes sense. If people miss out on something, it’s a great opportunity to get their email address.

Offer An Attractive Free Trial

This is another one of those that will depend on your business model. However, if you run a SaaS or anything involving giving a type of service to people, please consider the free trial. It is often the best way to build a quality list of great prospects.

Now, let me point out something that might or might not be obvious. The free trial has to be a very valuable offer. If you’re giving 30 day access, it’s good to give people full access to your most premium plan, so that they can see everything you offer in its full glory. 

And if you’re doing a “free tier”, you want to make sure that your free plan is generous enough to warrant people creating a username, password and giving you some data in the process. 

This for example is one of our secrets at Emercury. We have one of the most generous free plans out there. In fact, I think we might even need to dial it back down, or at least many people tell us so. 

In either case, if you can act quickly, you can grab yourself a username, and you get to keep this generous plan forever. Provided you do  grab your username now, while we still offer registrations.

Advertise The List in Your Email Signatures

This is a fun but simple trick. Now, I’m not saying you’re going to double your list by doing this or anything like that. However, it is easy to implement, and every bit helps.

In addition, the people who would come from your email signature are a much higher quality lead than a random person coming from some of the other methods that focus on volume of leads.

Implementing this one is easy. All you have to do is go into your email program, or account settings, find the “signature” option, and put in a link to where they can sign up for your email list.

Iterate on Your Copy And Offer

Unlike the other points, this isn’t a specific way to get signups, but a strategy that will increase your sign ups across all of the different methods and channels.

Let’s take a look at one possible example. You might be using landing pages that offer something in return for an email address. The absolute fact is that your very first attempt at producing a page that attracts sign-ups, is not going to be your best. 

This means that you will need to continue tweaking and experimenting with the offer presented on the page, that is what you’re offering in exchange for the email address. But also how the offer is presented, that is the “copy” which explains the offer and why they need to act on it.

If you use this iterative process with all of the different methods that bring you signups, over time you can double, triple or quadruple the number of signups.

Give Quizzes a Try

This one is kind of interesting because I’ve found that it either works really well or not at all. It depends on the type of business that you have, and your business model. In many businesses it won’t apply, and in fact, it would be weird to advertise a “free quiz”.

However, in other businesses, it makes perfect sense to advertise a free quiz, whereby you do an assessment based on their answers in the quiz. And the quiz is obviously gated and requires inputting their email address.

As I mentioned in the point about free events, you can either opt them into your general mailing list implicitly, or my favorite, have it as a pre-checked option that they can opt-out of. 

Give Out Quality Consultations For Free

This is one of our own personal secrets. We get a ton of high quality people in Emercury from our free demo sessions. However, it also has to do with the fact that these are genuinely useful to the person who schedules one. We actually sit down and have a session where I can figure out how we can help grow their business with better email.

This is a good option for businesses where some of the other methods don’t “fit” as well. For example if you offer a premium service, and stakeholders or decision makers need to get a “feel” for what your company can do for them.

blocks spelling out "Demo", symbolic representation for how to build an email list with free demosObviously, the way this works to grow your business is that people give their email address to book the demo. And with a demo you can even ask for more data, that you can later use for better personalization. If your demos are good (as is the case with Emercury demos), you can expect many to become instant customers. 

But even if they don’t, they will continue to follow you by getting your emails, and might become a customer in the future. Side note, this ability to keep in touch with people who don’t buy immediately is crucial. It is actually the main secret behind why email produces the most profits out of any marketing channel.

Oh, and if you haven’t scheduled a free demo with Emercury, please go and do that now, while I still have time to do these. You can do this here.

Ask for Referrals

Too many people doing marketing are shy about asking for referrals. However, there is no reason to be hesitant about asking for referrals. Especially if you use a powerful platform like Emercury where you have fine segmentation over your lists.

This means that you can send stronger referral requests to warmer leads and fans, and keep it more subtle for those who are just a regular subscriber. 

I would say that it is always ok to weave in a subtle suggestion that if people like your emails, they can refer friends by sending them a specific signup link. 

Bonus tip, I wouldn’t link them to one of your generic sign up pages, but create a separate page just for referrals. That way you can know which signups came from referrals.

Get A Partner On Your Side

There’s no need to go at this alone. While we do put out a lot of free content to help you, nothing beats a one-on-one conversation. In these articles we try to help clarify things as best as possible. However, every business is different, so we have to generalize.

If you want to understand better how to implement email marketing in your specific business, let’s have a chat. At the moment I am still able to do some free demos, so be sure to book one while I can still do these.

I would love to hear about your specific needs, challenges and any confusion you might have about best practices. And then, help you see how you can use Emercury to improve your bottom-line.

Alternatively, or in addition to booking a free demo, you can also grab a username for our forever-free-plan while we still have it. It’s probably the most generous email marketing automation plan on the planet. We include almost every feature in this plan, with very few restrictions.

Remember, you get to keep this plan for life, for free… Provided that you grab a username while registrations are still open. Be warned, we might decide to pull this way-too-generous offering at any point. So click that link to check if we still allow registrations.


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