5 Ways Small Businesses Can Grow Their Email List
Regardless of the focus on social media, email marketing continues to be a force that can drive revenues.
Email is one of the best ways to keep in touch with previous customers, soft sell potential customers, and interact with your target demographic.
Small businesses often overlook email marketing because it seems difficult to build your email lists. How do you get people to sign up to receive emails from you? It’s actually not that difficult.
When you put in the right infrastructure, you can easily and quickly grow your email list. This list is your pool of potential customers, it’s one of your most valuable assets. Invest in it and it’ll build your business, one email at a time…
Table of Contents
- Embedding Email Subscriptions Forms
- Giving Consumers the Options
- Using List Eruption
- Leveraging Contests and Giveaways
- Integrate with Social Media
Embedding Email Subscriptions Forms
The best place to start is by reviewing where you’ve setup your subscription forms. How are you helping users find your newsletter and join it?
There are three places that perform extremely well: the sidebar, after blog posts, and on custom landing pages.
One of the best places to keep a subscription form is on the top of your sidebar on the right. This area is one of the most often looked at sections of your site as users read right to left. There’s a reason most of the time publishers put an ad there.
After Blog Posts:
Another great place to include a form is right after an article. Use a call to action that lets users know that they can get updates whenever new posts are published.
This builds in an inherent value for subscribing to your newsletter: the promise of getting all new posts.
Custom Landing Pages:
Once you have your basic elements setup, you’ll want to start doing custom landing pages. These are pages that you link to or drive users to that specifically outline why they should join your newsletter.
For example; whenever we guest post somewhere, such as Search Engine Journal, we link to a special page we’ve created just for that post. The page outlines where the user came from and why they should sign up for our newsletter.
Custom landing pages work extremely well for convincing one time readers to join your email list.
Giving Consumers the Options
After you’ve setup your website to collect leads from general readers, the next step is maximizing the collection of leads from users that are already performing some other action on your site.
You’ve probably already seen collection like this previously; for example the checkbox on forms that says something like “yes, I want to get updates about your business”.
These conversion points work extremely well because the user has already decided to give you their information to perform the action they wanted to, it’s fairly simple for them to justify joining your newsletter as well.
The contact form is the first place you should include a newsletter conversion option. Since many people reach out to you to ask for more information or ask questions, they’re already looking to consumer more of your content.
Adding a simple checkbox that automatically adds the user to your newsletter, makes it simple for the lead to join your newsletter without having to resubmit their information.
Comment Landing Pages:
Another action that businesses should capitalize on is the comment. When a user reads a blog post and leaves a comment, give them the option of joining your newsletter.
By commenting they’ve shown that their interested in your content and are more likely to sign up for your newsletter.
If you use the WordPress CMS, use the Yoast Comment Redirect plugin to add a landing page for all first time commenters.
Check Out Process:
If your business manages an online shop, be sure to offer all recent customers the ability to sign up for your newsletter.
This can be done by adding a checkbox on your actual checkout pages. That way as users buy your products, they can be signed up to your newsletter as well.
Businesses that are ecommerce enabled should make strong use of their newsletter to inform customers of new products and sales. Consumers that have already bought from you are more likely to buy again.
Using List Eruption
Aside from strategically including subscription forms there are a number of active ways to build your newsletter list. The first of which is using a plugin called “List Eruption”.
What does List Eruption do?
List Eruption is a plugin that incentivizes current subscribers to recommend your newsletter to their friends. The system works by allowing you to offer a bonus product or coupon to subscribers that recommend a certain number of other users.
The plugin integrates seamlessly with WordPress and most popular autoresponders. This means that you can setup and deploy the system quickly and easily.
How does it work?
Most businesses that have a newsletter show a “confirmation” page to users once they’ve signed up for their newsletter.
With List Eruption, you can show a form that gives the user a unique referral URL. Whenever a user signs up using that referral URL the original subscriber receives credit.
After they’ve received a specific number of credits (that you define) they receive an email informing them that they can now redeem the bonus you outlined.
What incentives work?
The best incentives are either information resources or coupons; anything the user can use or download instantly.
If you have a service business, offering users an ebook that helps solve a problem gives enough incentive to share with their friends. The ebook need not be extremely long or in-depth, just something that most of your subscribers want answered.
Online shops can take advantage of exclusive coupons for discounts or free shipping, to incentivize more subscribers.
Leveraging Contests and Giveaways
Another great way to build your email list is by taking advantage of contests and giveaways. These kinds of promotions give users a simple and quick incentive to join your newsletter list.
With the right kind of contests you’re able to both get people excited about your business and have them join your subscriber lists.
How do contests work?
Creating a contest that drives newsletter subscribers is actually pretty simple. The basis of the strategy is to tell readers that they can enter for a chance to win a prize, but to enter they have to submit their email address. Always pose your newsletter as a bonus to entering the contest.
Setting up a contest
Actually executing the contest means simply creating a page with a subscription form, the contest information, and end date.
Simply track who becomes a subscriber from the form and within the time period you have designed. Once the contest is over, contact the winner and send them the prize.
The other applicants should be added to your newsletter list and start receiving either your autoresponder or general email updates.
Promoting the contest
The hardest part of this strategy is actually getting the word out about your contest.
Start by reaching out to others in your industry to let them know the contest is happening. The promotion of the contest should be no different than the marketing you do for you content you put together.
If there’s a budget allocated, consider using Google Adwords to drive traffic to the contest page through advertising.
The goal is to get as much traffic to your contest page as possible and use the contest to convert readers into subscribers.
Integrate with Social Media
Just like everything else online, don’t treat your newsletter as an island. Instead, use other marketing channels to cross promote it.
Use the viral aspects of social media to drive traffic to your subscription forms and to increase awareness of your newsletter. Fans of your social media profiles have already shown that they trust your business, give them another option for connecting with you.
Use your Facebook fan page
Depending on the system you’re using, embedding a subscription form on your Facebook fan page can be fairly simple.
Invite users to join your newsletter
You should also be sure to use your social media channels to invite users to sign up for your newsletter.
One trick is to setup a recurring message that you send out once a week or once every two weeks that lets people know about your newsletter.
Some people like to post updates just before they send a newsletter, to give an incentive for new subscribers (an example update might be, “Just finishing up our monthly newsletter, better sign up now before you miss it!”)
Add social sharing buttons
Even if you don’t end up using List Eruption, you should definitely embed social sharing buttons strategically throughout your subscription process.
The first place to ensure you have social sharing buttons is on your “Thank You” page. This is the page you show to new users after they’ve confirmed their subscription. Make sure you setup your social sharing buttons to share your landing page and not the “Thank You” page.
If you use a newsletter archive page (most newsletter providers allow you to do this), you’ll want to include social sharing buttons on here too. This allows people to share the page and potentially convince new users to join your newsletter.
Small businesses tend to overlook the opportunity that newsletter lists afford them. The ability to send a message and contact current customers and potential consumers can drive significant revenue.
Before you’re able to create the huge impacts that newsletters can make, you have to build your list. Start simple and you won’t get overwhelmed.
Have you already started a newsletter list? What are you doing to promote it? Have you seen a positive return from sending messages? Leave a comment and let us know!
Credit: Jon Gosier