Although social media sites have attracted the majority of attention from marketers over the last few years, email continues to be the most-used platform among consumers. It is ubiquitous. Everyone has it, and most importantly, everyone uses it. Moreover, mobile devices, which are now owned by most U.S. consumers – 87% of adults in the U.S. have a cell phone (Pew) – have provided a convenient way to retrieve email.
That means you need to build your email list. And the bigger, the better.
The larger your list, the greater your reach. Also important, external factors have a minimal effect on that reach. If your website is de-indexed by Google, you can still contact your list. If your social media accounts get hacked, you can still email your customers and prospects. If your host goes down for an extended outage, you can still get in touch with your audience and you can do so in minutes.
There are dozens of ways to increase the size of your email list. Some are highly effective, attracting subscribers who want to hear from you and are likely to buy from you down the road. Others are all but useless and may even lead to legal problems. Read on for the top 7 ways to grow your list quickly with targeted subscribers.
1. Create An Irresistible Bribe
In the 1990s, the idea of joining a list was new and daring. People clamored to subscribe for the mere promise of being contacted by the list owner at some point down the road. Web surfers needed little encouragement and little inducement.
Today, people need a compelling reason to join your list. Before they provide their email addresses and permission to contact them, they want something in return. They want a bribe.
One of the best ways to entice people to subscribe is to create a piece of content they consider valuable. Then offer to exchange it for their email addresses. The format of the content is less important than the value it contains (in other words, you don’t have to get fancy with your graphical elements, if that's what you're all worried about)!
2. Optimize And Test Your Sign-Up Landing Page
Devote an entire page on your site to luring people onto your email list. Referred to a landing page, it should have one simple goal: to persuade people to sign up. Include an image of your bribe along with a simple opt-in form and a button that tells the visitor what to do (for example, “Claim Your Free eBook Now!”)
Your landing page should contain minimal links pointing to other areas of your site. Each link is a distraction that threatens to pull visitors away from taking your desired action.
Track your page's conversion rate over time. Make small changes to the page, and test the results. If the changes you make increase your conversion rate, incorporate them and use them as the new benchmark for additional tests.
3. Allow People To Opt In On Your Facebook Page
In the past, you would include a link on your Facebook page that sent people to your landing page. There, they could sign up for your email list. Today, most of the top email providers, such as Aweber and MailChimp, will help you to create an opt-in form that you can place directly into your Facebook page.
This eliminates a step in the sign-up process. As a result, fewer people will abandon the process, and a greater percentage will opt in.
4. Create Content People Want To Share
An effective way to grow your list quickly is to create email content that people want to read and share with others. Doing so solves 3 problems.
First, it improves the chances that people on your list will actually read your emails instead of deleting or ignoring them.
Second, because subscribers are receiving content they want to read, they will be less likely to drop your list (unsubscribe).
Third, the better your content, the more likely people on your list will forward it to others. They may even encourage friends and associates to join your list themselves.
For more content ideas that your followers would love to share, check out this post: 15 Content Ideas That Your Followers Will Love to Share
5. Bribe Twitter Followers To Share Your Content
This is a tactic used by very few marketers, but can have a huge impact on the size of your email list. The idea is to pay people to tweet about your content. Here are the basic steps…
Step 1 – Create an irresistible bribe (refer to #1 above).
Step 2 – Offer the bribe to those who join your list.
Step 3 – After people join your list, provide the original bribe as promised and offer an “upgrade.” The upgrade may be in the form of another piece of content, a discount on your products, a white paper, or coaching time.
The “price” of the upgrade is to tweet about your original bribe – the one that persuaded them to join your list in the first place. When they do so, they receive the upgrade.
You can automate this process with a service like Pay With A Tweet. The advantage of using this tactic is that it quickly spreads the word about your content to those who might otherwise never hear about it.
6. Post Archives Of Your Newsletter On Your Site
Before people sign up for an email newsletter, they want to check the quality of the content. Doing so gives them comfort that signing up will be a good use of their time. In order to provide that comfort, post past issues of your newsletter on your site. Let visitors peruse them at their leisure.
Assuming you are creating email content people will want to read and share, posting the archives will further entice them to join your list.
7. Create A Community Around Your Email List
Many marketers treat their email list like a well from which they can draw water whenever they wish. They send offer after offer. Most of their emails are promotional. Predictably, their subscribers begin to lose interest and eventually stop reading. Some unsubscribe. But most simply delete the messages.
Creating high-quality email content (refer to #4 above) will help prevent this problem from occurring. But you can further strengthen the relationship you have with your subscriber by creating a community around them.
Rather than just being an email list owner who talks at his or her subscribers, personalize the experience for each of them. Mention your subscribers in your messages – for example, you could say “Mike in Chicago thinks…” or “Sandra in Houston wrote that…”
You can also run a blog and encourage those on your list to participate in the comments. This helps them to identify with one another. Some will become friends, which makes them much less likely to drop your list.
Bonus Tip: Funnel All Marketing Channels To Your Opt-In Landing Page
Treat your email list as the core of your marketing strategy. Your social media presence, YouTube videos, search engine exposure, and other marketing efforts should funnel people to your opt-in landing page. Once they have joined your list, you can let them know about new content you have created for them in these and other channels. You can also encourage them to tell others about it, resulting in a continuous stream of new prospects entering your funnel.
There you have it! My top tips on how to increase you email list by 200%! You may find that it is much easier than you thought. This time next year you might be looking at a list 10 times its current size – and growing fast!