10 Great Ways to Build an Email Marketing List

Oct 25, 2013

Though every one of us might say we get too many emails, we still want information and we actively sign up for email lists that are relevant to us. We keep our email open all day and we check it constantly. No wonder email marketing drove some $67 billion in sales last year, a return on investment that outperformed most other digital marketing tactics.


When someone signs up for your email list, they’re saying Talk to me. Tell me something. To an attentive business owner, that sounds an awful lot like Sell me something, doesn’t it?


So how can you attract more people and build your email list? There are lots of ways you can develop a high-quality, engaged email community. Here are ten quick and easy ideas.

1.      Offer something of value.  Promote enticing content—news, blogs, e-books or how-to tutorials—and ask visitors to provide an email address to access or download it.

2.      Add a sign-up box to all your forms.  Feedback forms, online event registration forms, “contact us” forms should all include a sign-up box. But keep it unchecked by default. Just because someone’s contacting you doesn’t automatically mean they want your emails. Invite them, don’t kidnap them.

3.      Put it in your footer.  Make sure your footer includes both a button for signing up and a reason: “Sign up now for subscribers-only coupons and specials.”

4.      Hold a contest with a giveaway. People will trade their email address for a shot at a prize. Promote a fun online contest through all your channels and have entrants sign up with their email address.  (Be sure to announce the contest results and give a shout out to the winners.)

5.      Make it part of the purchase process.  A paying customer is your best audience for future communication, so include a sign-up button in the purchase process. (And follow up with a welcoming email relevant to the purchase they just made. Was it a blender? The next email ought to be your “Protein Smoothie of the Month” blog.)

6.      Add QR codes to any print material. We are a screen-loving society, so put a QR code on your print ads, postcards, posters, and product packaging and invite people to sign up for your email. (This also helps you track the reach of whatever the QR code was printed on.)

7.      Put a tab on your Facebook page.  Add a sign-up tab under the Views & Apps section on your page. With an email list, you don’t have to drive people to your Facebook page to look for your message—send it directly.

8.      Do it in person. Bring a laptop for on-the-spot subscriptions at offline events like trade shows, conferences or community events, or make a simple sign-up sheet available at your booth (don’t forget the pens—printed with your logo and URL, of course).  Send a quick “thanks for stopping by” to verify the address and confirm the opt-in.

9.      Invite your blog audience. Add a check box to the end of all your posts, including guest posts. (Pssst: scroll down.)

10.  Target your subscription types.  Your subscribers won’t read what doesn’t interest them. Creating targeted lists focuses your messages per audience segment and enhances those relationships. If you’re a sporting goods store, your fishing aficionados want the blog on the hottest new lures. Your marathoners? They’ll click on the top ten tips for pre-race nutrition. Give them each what they want.


Please remember: Nobody wants to feel like their address has been sold or shared without their permission, so ALWAYS confirm a sign up. It’s not just courteous, it’s regulated by law in many states. Protect your reputation and ensure your emails are appreciated—and effective—by respecting your customers’ preferences.

If you consistently provide addictive content to the people who want it, they’ll stick around and help you grow your list by sharing with their friends and family.

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