How awful is it when you go to a networking event, hand out a few business cards, and get an impersonal html email in your inbox the next morning? It’s only been a few hours since you met this new contact, and they’ve already added you to their email list without your permission. When this has happened to me, I’ve hit the “mark as spam” button a few times. All the other times, I’ve promptly unsubscribed and made a mental note to avoid this person at the next event. And I’m not the exception; people do not like being spammed.
By sending that email out without the person’s permission, you are no longer that person they met at that networking event. You may have lost your chance to become a thought leader in this person’s eyes. That’s right, your emails are now one of those that they ignore, delete, and/or groan about when they see it. You, my friend, are now a spammer.
So how should you grow your email list? Here are a few ideas.
Set a goal.
Every marketing activity you pursue should be tied to a goal. As an example, let’s say you’d like to grow your list from 500 to 600 quality subscribers over the next three months. If you maintain your 5% click rate, this should drive about 30 visitors to your site each time you send an email, up from 25. This is your goal: a 20% subscriber increase within the next 3 months.
Ask your contacts.
If you have existing contacts that could benefit to subscribing to your email list, tell them why and ask them to. Be human. Write an email and pretend like you’re speaking to them face to face. Give them an example of what you include in your emails, and have a link so they can subscribe themselves. Don’t make them feel obligated, just be real.
Ask your website visitors.
Add calls to action to your website pages and blog posts that prompt people to subscribe. Tell them what’s inside or link to your latest email so they can see what it’s like.
Create great content.
Create the type of content that people love. Do your research, and give your visitors what they want. If they love it, they’ll want more. The call to action you already put on your blog pages will give them a place to ask for more.
Capture emails at in-person events.
Going to a trade show? Make sure you bring a way to capture the email addresses of the people you meet.
Tap into your online communities.
Post your content to the online communities you’re a part of. Ask for feedback, and ask your peers to subscribe if they enjoyed it.
Target, target, target.
With all of these tactics to grow your email list, you want to make sure they’re highly targeted. You always want to think quality of quantity when it comes to your subscribers. Once you really hammer down who it is you’re looking for, and where and how to reach them, you’ll hit your goals quicker and easier.
There are so many places you can tap into potential subscribers. At the end of the day, you want to make sure you’re adding value to their inbox with each send. Adding numbers to your list at the expense of opens and click-throughs will end up becoming a headache with no real positive outcome.
Digital marketing takes a lot of planning and analyzing. If you’re doing things right and staying diligent, the results will come.