List Building 101

Ken CookCustomer Experience, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation

Building lists

Thomas Edison defines success with the famous saying “Success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.” It’s easy to get hyper-focused on the end goals and brush aside the fact that not everything is a cakewalk. In reality, the key moments are in the individual choices we make each day. As Edison says, we must persevere through struggles even if they seem pointless at times. Applying this concept to marketing is especially vital due to the fundamental business maxim: time is money. Growing your subscribers can feel like a daunting task, but we’ve discovered a simple four-step system for increasing your email list.

The first and simple step is creating a solid foundation of “why.” Why are you passionate about your profession? Why should other people listen to what you have to say? How can you help better the lives of your subscribers? Creating a clear reason why people should pay attention to you is the most important piece of the puzzle in gaining followers. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. created a movement around his passion for change and desire to impact the world positively. He took a positive outlook and proclaimed his “dream” to a stunning crowd of nearly 250,000 people before the age of mass communication. His success resulted from his “why.”

The second element to gaining a successful following is researching your target audience. Consider:

  • What are the common struggles they face?
  • What information would benefit them that you can provide?
  • How will my information change their lives/business?

You will be able to find answers to these questions by searching for the top relevant blog posts. It’s amazing how many similar topics you’ll discover, but clearly, those themes are what engages your audience. Once you know what questions you will answer, formulating an engaging call to actions is a must. These brief statements are what will draw the viewer in, and lead to a fast-growing subscriber list. (See our post on how to write the perfect headline)

The third step is seeking out followers. There are two important types of people we should attempt to reach. The first group is the people we often know relatively well, and with whom we have a history. Presenting them with a summary of your company’s values, and the purpose of your email list is all it takes to get a simple “yes, add me” answer. Pursuing these kinds of people is valuable in that they will likely be open to sharing your information with their peers. If, not only as a business owner but as a friend you ask these curious and dedicated followers to share your information with people it’s more likely than not they will follow through. You can find these potential subscribers in your recent sent folder on a personal email, or through contacts on social media. Don’t be afraid to reach out even to acquaintances you wouldn’t expect to say yes; they may surprise you.

The second kind of followers we want are complete strangers who are fascinated with you. Rather than directly reaching out to these folks, the best way to engage them is using passive list building techniques. These methods include setting up a scroll box on your website as well as pop-ups which lead the viewer to your email list form. As long as your site is engaging, represents your company, and has a high-quality call to action, the response rates from these methods will be astounding.

Another conventional method for sparking the interest of strangers is leading with a giveaway – one that shocks the viewer. Presenting your audience with a chance to win a $500 gift card if they suggest peers to your list is a great way to multiply your followers fast. With this simple interaction, your list will grow substantially and doesn’t require a lot of manual labor on your end. If these methods don’t produce results instantly, don’t get discouraged. It takes patience and repetition. Persevere through the tough times!

The final step to keep in mind is consistency. Send updates when you said you would, and keep them engaging. Best practice is no less than 2x a month (if your list has gone three months without a contact its considered cold). It’s likely you will get the opposite response that you desire if emails are sent irregularly, or thrown together last minute. Remember the goal is to grow your list, so keep your audience in mind before anything else. Apply these four simple steps to your own company and bask in the glory of your results.

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