How to Grow Your Email List from Scratch (6 Helpful Tips)

Syed Balkhi

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Are you a blogger or small business owner thinking about diving into the world of email marketing? If so, you’re far from alone. Most people in your position have the same thing on their minds.

This fact shouldn’t come as a surprise. Email is one of the best ways to connect with your audience, build trust, and improve engagement across all other marketing channels. If used correctly, email marketing can help you grow your social media channels, increase website traffic, and boost sales, to name a few benefits.

The problem many people run into when they first start is they don’t know how to get their first few subscribers. It’s hard to find the motivation to write an entertaining and valuable newsletter or promotion when you have a single-digit subscriber count.

The good news is there are plenty of things you can do to accelerate your growth. Below, you’ll find several helpful strategies that will allow you to connect with more prospects and grow your lead list.

Let’s begin!

Learn about Your Audience

Before you can start growing your email list from scratch, you must learn about your target audience. Every business has a list of qualities they look for in an ideal customer. In fact, most companies have multiple customer profiles (also known as buyer personas).

For example, online pet supply stores have profiles for people who own specific types of pets. They may also have smaller segments within core groups, like people who own large dogs versus those with smaller breeds.

Details you’ll want to gather include:

It’s possible to gather all this information by reviewing your on-site analytics, following relevant social media groups, and conducting good old-fashioned customer surveys.

Once you have enough data, put it together and build profiles that define your target audience. These profiles are important because they will affect every other part of your email strategy. You can’t create an engaging lead magnet if you don’t know what your customers want and need.

Add Email Signup Forms to Your Site

Now that you know more about your target audience, it’s time to add email signup forms to your website. The key to maximizing conversions is to keep your form short and sweet. Usually, our signup forms have three fields; name, email address, and a third optional question.

The first two details help us connect with the user and call them by name, which is vital for maintaining engagement. The last question is designed to help us learn more about the individual. In the pet store example I mentioned earlier, the marketing team may ask, “What kind of pets will you be shopping for?”

When placing signup forms on your site, choose places that receive a lot of traffic or targeted users.

A product landing page, for instance, is an excellent place to include a signup form. If someone made it to this part of your site, they are interested in your product or service. Asking these people to subscribe could be the correct answer since a vast majority of first-time visitors are not ready to buy.

Including signup forms on your blog is also a good idea since 77% of people read blog posts regularly. Use this opportunity to capture leads early in your sales funnel so you can convince them that your brand is the right choice.

Create an Irresistible Offer

If you want people to sign up for emails from your website, you have to offer something valuable. Think about the times you’ve decided to join an email list. There’s an excellent chance you were offered a unique piece of content or a special deal on your first purchase.

Lead magnets are a great way to immediately add value to your customers’ lives before they ever think of pulling out their debit cards. When you show that you’re committed to helping people, they are more likely to consider your brand in the future.

You can present your special offers in a variety of ways. One email marketing tool I want to mention is pop-ups. These marketing tools are often seen as negative, but it truly comes down to how you use them.

Research shows that a well-placed, valuable pop-up on a blog can help marketers grow their list by an astonishing 1,375%! The key words are well-placed and valuable. If you’ve properly researched your audience, you know what they want and expect from your business. You can deliver on these needs by creating lead magnets that match their goals and pain points.

Host a Social Media Giveaway

Social media contests are another terrific way to grow your new email list. Most people love participating in these types of events because it means they have a chance to win something valuable.

Research shows that giveaways have a conversion rate of 34%, which is much higher than other types of content. Now, consider that you can reach nearly 5 billion people on social media, and the benefits become crystal clear.

If you want to convince users to enter your giveaway and grow your lead list, 2 things need to happen.

First, the prize has to match the needs of your audience. This scenario is one more example that shows the importance of getting to know your ideal customers. You don’t want to offer potential subscribers something they don’t want.

We typically offer an annual software subscription, but your prize will vary. When in doubt, choose a reward that most people would enjoy, like a new pair of premium headphones or an Amazon gift card.

The second thing you need to grow your subscriber count with a giveaway is entry methods relevant to your goals. You should offer your followers several ways to enter, including liking and sharing the post, following you on social media, and subscribing to your email list.

Send a Welcome Email

A big part of growing your email list is keeping users engaged once they join. You will not see much traction if you have 10,000 subscribers and less than 50 people consistently open your emails.

The best way to improve your engagement rate with new subscribers is to send a welcome email once they hit the signup button. Welcome emails have an open rate of 86%, making them one of the most valuable marketing emails you can send.

People are more likely to open welcome messages because your brand is still fresh in their minds. They saw something they liked on your website and decided to join. If you wait a few days to send your first email, you will see a shockingly low open rate.

Your welcome emails should be concise and explain key points to users. Here are a few topics we touch on in our messages:

  • Who we are (Connect and find common ground)
  • What we do (Explain what you offer)
  • Why users should care (features + benefits)
  • What to expect next (Newsletters/promotion frequency and topics)

If a user signed up for a lead magnet, don’t forget to include it in your welcome message. The last thing you want to do is erode trust.

Gather Feedback

My final tip for you today is to gather feedback from subscribers consistently. We like to send a survey every 4-6 months where we ask users to tell us what they like, don’t like, and want to see in the future.

Questionnaires are a great way to learn how to better connect with your audience. For example, if most people say they want more promotions in your survey, this could help you plan future flash sales and offers.

As your audience grows, you’ll want to send segmented surveys to your audience so you can further develop the customer subsets you built when you first started your email marketing journey.

This strategy will help retain existing subscribers while building a better experience for new users.

Final Thoughts

Email marketing is here to stay. If you’re not using this channel to grow your business, it’s time to make a change. The tips outlined above will help you on your journey. As your list grows, you’ll likely see a surge of traffic and engagement across all your other marketing and sales platforms.

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Syed Balkhi is on a mission to level the playing field for small businesses. 19+ million websites use his software to grow and compete with the big guys. 100+ million people read his blogs every year to grow their website traffic, sales, & conversion

West Palm Beach, FL
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