A cornerstone of any competent marketing campaign is building a list and engaging in email marketing, but too few small business owners know how to go about building a list. It’s crucial for the success of your digital marketing efforts because it allows you to reach out to leads multiple times so your business can stay in the forefront of their minds. Furthermore, it lends you the opportunity to present your audience and leads with additional calls to action.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of leads aren’t going to buy your product or service the very first time they are presented with your website. Sure, there are exceptions like impulse purchases, but there’s a marketing proverb called the rule of seven, which states that the majority of leads won’t make a purchase until they’ve seen or engaged with your business seven times.
Email marketing helps to ethically follow up with leads to increase the likelihood they’ll make a purchase. And the foundation of email marketing is building a list. Let’s take a look at the best ways to go about list building, as well as some tools to facilitate the process.
Incorporate a Pop-Up Slide
I know, I know – pop-ups are annoying. But if you use them sparingly and respectfully, they are a highly effective means of building your list. Once a lead lands on your content and web pages, you want to (gently) present them with a call to action with copy asking them to join your mailing list.
Don’t make it a flashy assault on the eyes that causes the lead to a bounce, and don’t repeatedly pester them with repeated pop-up windows after they have declined. I’ve been on some websites that put their pop-up list-building window on a timer, which I found to be irritating. If you do opt to put it on a timer, make sure it’s long enough that you don’t annoy your audience, though personally, I think once is enough.
Offer an Incentive
People generally dislike giving their information to others, especially for free – even if they have an interest in your content and newsletter. To alleviate this pain point, incentivize your call to action so your new subscriber gets something in return. One such type of incentive is a lead magnet, and it can take many forms.
A free ebook, an industry or niche-specific checklist, access to gated content, access to a closed webinar, and even promotional savings opportunities all act as incentives to compel leads. Additionally, you could choose to gate content, which means that certain content is not available to a visitor until they supply their email list.
This tactic works really well educational course, whereby the first lesson or two are free, but the rest of the course is locked. Whatever you choose to offer, make sure your target audience will see enough value in it to exchange it for their email address.
Use Creative Button Copy
Humdrum button copy is a wasted opportunity and never performs well. Buttons that use any of the following copy should be avoided:
- Click here
- Click here to subscribe
- Sign up for the newsletter
Instead, you can match your buttons’ copy to a question posed in the pop-up window. For instance, let’s consider a security tech-blog that’s offering a free computer security guide in exchange for an email address. The call to action could be something to the effect of, “Get the ultimate 2019 computer security guide now.”
In turn, the button copy could read as follows:
- Yes! I want to maintain my security and privacy.
- No. I don’t care if hackers invade my privacy.
This copy is more effective because it forces leads to think about what happens if they do or do not take action.
Build Your List on Multiple Channels
Thus far, we have only discussed building your list with traffic that lands on your website. But to be more effective, it’s advisable to build your list through multiple channels, especially social media. You may not have a large email list (or none at all), but your business may already have a moderate or established social media presence.
Reach out to your audience on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and post a call to action asking users to join your mailing list. Try to entice them with your lead magnet. Or better yet, create a special limited time offer to increase the urgency to increase the percentage of your social media following that will sign up for your mailer.
Free Email Marketing Tools
The hoards of emails you collect don’t do a darn thing unless you then engage in email marketing. Ideally, you want to have an automated email marketing sequence in place to repeatedly (yet respectfully) reach out to your customers multiple times. One tactic I’ve seen that is highly effective is to make the first part of your newsletter an educational course.
For instance, let’s consider a business that offers information technology training and certification for the job market, and its website contains content and references that teach about various topics: software development, network engineering, etc. This business could create a mailer that gives leads a free week-long crash course in software development, all the while inserting appropriate calls to action for the full semester courses.
But to actually email the members on your list, you’re going to need tools and services. The following are services that, in some capacity, offer free mailing services or trials so you can get your feet wet:
- ActiveCampaign (this is our favorite and what we use for all window treatment and awning clients)
- Zoho Campaigns
List building has been around for a long time for the same reason it’s going to exist in the future: it works. But unfortunately, it isn’t easy and can be quite a time-consuming endeavor, especially if you don’t know what you're doing. Instead of forgoing the opportunity to build an email list and reach out to qualified leads, reach out for the help of a qualified digital marketer today.