How To Build A Highly Engaged Email List

Research shows that it costs a company five times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer!

This is why it is so important to build an email list and keep your customers interested in your business. Loyal customers are the backbone of your business, and this loyalty doesn’t come easily.

There is so much competition out in the biz world. You need to step out from the crowd and draw your customer’s attention towards you.

How do you go about doing that? Two words - Email List.

Once you learn how to build an email list from scratch, you’ll be taking your business to the next level, instantly.

People look for value. With an email marketing strategy in place, you’ll be providing your customers with valuable content regularly. This will create a special place for your business in your customer’s mind, and thus build trust.

If you are a small business owner, building an email list from scratch may seem like a herculean task. That’s why we’re here to help.

With our step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through:

  • What an email list is, and what are its benefits,
  • Getting started with your email list,
  • Growing your email list to great numbers,
  • Keeping your subscribers engaged, and finally,
  • Turning those subscribers into valuable customers for your business.

Excited? Let’s get straight into it!

What is an Email List?

An email list is a collection of email addresses from visitors to your website or blog who have opted in to receive newsletters or other promotional emails from your company.

It is important to be honest and reveal to your readers your intent behind collecting their email addresses.

Providing useful and relevant content is the crux of building and growing a highly engaged email list.

In the old pre-internet days of sales and marketing, there was only one way for somebody to go out and generate leads for their product, face-to-face networking.

The process was time-consuming and expensive. To top it off, it wasn't very profitable either.

  • Today, email is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have at your fingertips. The benefits of email make it far more effective than the days of knocking on doors and making phone calls.
  • Email has few geographical boundaries. You can reach people on the other side of the world with your message.
  • You can contact inaccessible people through e-mail. Anybody with an email account can be reached with email marketing. So, people who are outside your usual market base can learn about your product or service.
  • Email is inexpensive. You don't have the usual high cost of traditional advertising.

Checking email inbox from a laptop

Most important email is effective. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, email:

  • Is the most profitable way to market for the past ten years.
  • Email marketing offers a high return on investment.
  • Is 40 times more effective than social media marketing.

Email Marketing: How To Make The Best Of It

Working out an email campaign strategy

Your email marketing plan is only as good as the quality of the addresses you have in your database.

There are plenty of companies who will sell you email mailing lists. However, these are the addresses of people who have never heard of you or your product. Using these lists makes you a spammer, and nobody likes a spammer.

So, your challenge is to grow your email list with people who have a genuine interest in your product or views.

Here is a list of things you need to set in order before you start creating a subscriber list.

1. Make Sure You Love Your Website

Your website is your business card to the world.

Before you begin growing your site, make sure your content is relevant to your message or product.

A 404 error page

2. Use Your Ready Made Market Base

You need to let people know about your site.

Target the following people in this order:

Friends and Family

Friends and family

Yes, this is a touchy subject because many people are afraid of their friends and family considering them a nuisance.

However, they are probably interested in your endeavor.

The key is not to "sell" to them. Tell them about your new site, business, etc. and ask them if you can keep them updated with exciting news, specials, or developments. Write a short e-mail specifically for these people.

Business Contacts

Your business contacts

Now, contact people from your professional side - your business contacts and acquaintances.

Write a short email explicitly directed at these people. Again, ask them if you can add them to your email list.

When I say add them to your list, I don't mean to ask the question. Depending on your response rate, you could end up having to add hundreds of email addresses. There is a better way to collect them.

In the body of your email add a hyperlink to your sign-up page. This way you don't have to deal with individual responses unless you want to, and the reader will provide their best email for contact.

However, just because you know somebody doesn't mean they will automatically want you to send them information. Also, this step only covers people you contacted before.

How do you develop new contacts from total strangers?

"Offer people something useful."

People Will Like You More If You Give Them A Gift

Grow your email list by providing potential subcribers incentives

You probably know the number one technique you can use to grow your email list is give your readers something useful in return for their email.

For this reason, companies put up contact pages and forms for people to add their address for some form of helpful information. Often, this is an e-book or whitepaper.

The problem is how do you get those people's addresses if they don't know to go to your site in the first place? Well, in all the emails you send out, add a link for your e-book or paper, or whatever you are offering, in the email body. This links to your sign-up page where the respondent enters an email.

Then, to make sure the email address is legitimate, send the download link automatically to that email. The respondents have to open their email to download the item.

With this method, you know you are getting a quality email address and, using analytics, you'll know who downloaded the offer. The fact they downloaded the information signals the people are genuinely interested in your site and product.

How To Optimise Your Site

Earlier, I suggested you make some adjustments to your site, so you are comfortable with people visiting it. Here are some quick changes you can make to encourage people to leave their email.

  • On every page, have a link or sign-up form at the bottom or upper corner of the page. If possible, let them know about your offer.
  • Have a floating sticky bar on each page with an offer to sign-up. As people scroll on the page, the bar will travel with them. For politeness, you might want to allow them to close it at will. However, if they visit another page on your site, it can reappear with the same offer.
  • Add an exit-intent page pop-up to your site. This pop-up activates when the user moves the cursor to close a page. The pop-up offers a sign-up form and your offer to them before they leave. Always be sure the offer if part of the form.

Steps You Can Take To Spread The Word About Your Site

There are steps you can take to lead people to your site.

Social media marketing

  • Consider guest-blogging on other sites and leaving a link to your sign-up page.
  • Reach out to people on social media.
  • Leave a link to your sign-up page in your email signature.
  • If you are a regular participant on forums, place a link in your posts (if allowed).
  • If you have an e-commerce site, add a sign-up link option during the checkout.
  • Collect the emails from people who comment on any of your posts.

The Real Secret to Growing Your Email List

Remember, the idea isn't to have a long list of email addresses. You want a long list of quality email addresses. This requires two things from you:

Patience and Persistence

Even if you take all of these steps, it doesn't mean you're going to get a tidal wave of email addresses. They will begin to trickle in, but if you remain persistent that trickle will build to a steady stream on contacts.

Enginemailer helps our clients grow their email lists and market in an orderly and efficient manner. After all, we don't succeed unless you do. If you have any questions about how we support you and your email marketing efforts, contact us here.

Or, if you are ready to begin the most powerful marketing campaign you've ever started, sign up here! We don't even require a credit card.

The Benefits of a Highly Engaged Email List

One thing has been proved time and again by companies both big and small:

An email list is one of the highest converting marketing strategies.

Buying email lists destroys your credibility and defeats the purpose of your email list strategy.

An email list allows you to offer real value to your potential (or repeat) customers. It helps you establish a great customer relationship and bring you back a high ROI (return on investment).

Here are some benefits of having a highly engaged email list:

  1. Once you gain a subscriber, you only need to keep him/her engaged. You don’t have to spend efforts in winning his/her attention again and again.
  2. An email list is a huge asset if you are planning to launch a new product or service. You can get tons of people to check out your new product/ service - even if it's yet to be launched!
  3. An email list helps you make some quick sales when you need extra money in a hurry. Just email your subscribers with a good offer or discount and the sales will pour in.
  4. An email list can help you validate a business idea you just thought of. It also helps to get traffic to a newly launched website.
  5. Emails are efficient. According to research, the average person checks his or her email more than 15 times each day. Also, emails are more personal than social media posts. They encourage your reader to interact with your content.

Building an Email List From Scratch

When you’re building an email list from scratch, you may not be sure where to start.

Remember to be clear with your customers about your intentions at the very beginning. Set up their expectations right at the start.

Once that is done, deliver on your promises. This helps build trust.

Here are some very effective tips to help you build your email list from the ground up:

1. Add Personalised CTAs (Calls-To-Action) on Each of Your Pages

According to research by Hubspot, personalised calls-to-action perform over 200 percent better than regular CTAs!

So, what are personalised CTAs?

Say your reader has landed on one of your web pages or blog posts looking for particular information. Your call to action should be relevant to the information on that page.

If your page is about a recipe for chicken soup, offer a free eBook of soup recipes! This will entice your readers to subscribe to your email list.

It may seem a bit overwhelming to create freebies for each topic on your blog, but you really don’t have to. All you need is a freebie that covers a slightly broad topic, and then place CTAs on all pages related to that topic.

In the soup recipe example, you can use the same soup book as a freebie on all your soup recipe posts.

The reason this strategy is more likely to work is this:

When readers see freebie downloads on topics they are interested in, it won’t seem like a cheesy sales tactic to them. They’ll find your content useful - and valuable.

2. Pop-up Boxes

Pop-up boxes can make or break your list.

It all depends on the strategy behind them.

Random pop ups that appear as soon as a user lands on your page are quite irritating. Especially when they just ask to sign up to your newsletter.

Instead, make use of timed pop ups, scroll pop ups, or exit pop ups.

In a case study by Digital Marketer, the value of onsite retargeting was highlighted. If you take the effort to offer valuable content in your pop up ads, your readers will find it useful. This increases their chances of signing up to your email list.

Exit pop ups appear when a customer is about to leave a page. They may seem tacky and over used, but that’s far from the truth.

They convert very well, which is why you see them everywhere.

3. Keep it Simple

Most readers are put off with long forms or surveys while signing up to your email list.

They would be much more inclined to either just answer yes or no or just enter their email address in the form.

Keep your sign up forms and pop up ads short and sweet.

If you want readers to take a survey, offer them multiple choice surveys or plain yes or no surveys.

If you are offering a free download such as an eBook, ask them to just enter their email address and then give them a link to an instant download.

Value your reader’s time. Always remember - less is more.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Show Your Personality

The internet is filled with yes or no forms.

Take the time to inject a little humour and personality into your sign up forms.

For example, take a look at this pop up from funnyordie.com.

Funny popup signup form from funnyordie.com

It’s plain, simple, and funny. The ‘NO THANKS, I CAN’T READ’ button makes you laugh and reconsider signing in to the email list.

Check out this sign up form as well:

Creative sign up form with personality touch

Again, simple, with just enough personality to make you consider signing up to the email list.

These kind of witty and personal sign up forms remind readers that there is a real person on the other side, not just a boring automation.

5. Word Your CTA Strategically

Apart from jokes and humour, it is important to choose strategic words while crafting your sign up forms.

Although you want readers to sign up to your email list, you don’t want to use these words ‘sign up’ on your form.

It’s not that you’re trying to cheat them into signing up for your newsletter (that’s just plain wrong!). The truth is no one likes to sign up to more spam or junk emails in their inbox.

Readers want helpful content in their inboxes, and you want to assure them of that.

Words and phrases like ‘Download’, ‘Gain Access’, ‘Exclusive Deals’, and the like will entice your readers. It tells them that you’re not just going to crowd up their inbox with sales promos.

6. Promote Using Social Media

If you already have a strong presence on social media platforms, why not use them to grow your list?

Your followers on social media are already hooked on to your content and know that you provide them with valuable information. Promote your landing page or your sign up form so that they have the option of signing up to your blog - you’ll be surprised how many are interested.

You can also attach a link to your landing page in your email signature. People who receive personal or official emails from you might be interested in signing up if you’ve been providing them with value.

7. Add a Signup Box in Your ‘About Us’ Page

Your ‘About Us’ page is the place engaged readers will rush to so that they can learn more about you.

Why not add a CTA there?

You’ll be targeting readers who are interested in who you are and what you do.

They’ll be more than willing to sign up to your newsletter if they find a CTA there.

8. Use Offline Marketing

Do you sell physical products that are shipped out to customers? Include a brief leaflet with a ‘Thank you for shopping with us!’ note and your website url.

Customers can then find you online and sign up to your email list.

Offer them a returning discount or some other freebies as incentives. This will make them take the effort to find your website online and sign up.

9. Content Upgrades

Suppose a person is reading a blog post on your website about ‘10 Ways To Lose Weight By Watching Your Diet’.

The content upgrade that you offer on the page could be something like “Download The Cheat Sheet To Help You Lose Weight By Dieting!”.

Your readers are then incentivized to subscribe. Now, as a cheat sheet, you could create a neat pdf that summarises the 10 ways. That way your readers could just download it, print it off and keep it handy.

Getting to your first 100 email subscribers is the tricky part. Once you’re there, you can keep testing out new methods and be consistent in your tactics.

Use the tips above to grow your email list from 0 to thousands!

How To Grow an Email List For Free Using Social Media

Okay, so we’ve talked about how you can use social media to promote your landing page/ sign up form.

But did you know there are tons of different other ways you can use social media to build your list?

Let’s check them out!

1) Use Your Bio/ Profile Page:

Your bio is a great place to put a CTA.

Whether it's on Facebook or Instagram, make sure you end your bio with just a tiny sentence showcasing your best freebie. Then you can link to your landing page where visitors can sign up to your email list and get the freebie in exchange.

2) Pin a Post With a CTA:

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow you to pin a post/ tweet to the top of your page.

This post/ tweet is the first thing that visitors see when they check out your profile. Sneak in a CTA there!

3) Share an Image of Your Freebie on Instagram:

Create an image featuring your freebie and post it on Instagram. You can do this easily with free online tools like canva.

You can then mention that visitors can find a link to your freebie in your bio.

This is bound to attract a lot of attention and get your followers to sign up to your newsletter.

4) Include A Signup Button On Your Facebook Page:

You can easily set up a ‘Sign Up’ button on your facebook page to encourage your followers to give you their email addresses.

Click the ‘Add a button to your page’ option, and under ‘Contact You’, select ‘Sign Up’.

It’s that simple!

5) Create an Exclusive Facebook Group:

When you create exclusivity, you will definitely attract a lot of subscribers who are genuinely interested in your content.

Facebook groups help you build a community and add value to your subscribers.

6) Create CTA Pins on Pinterest:

Pinterest is a visual search engine and a wonderful marketing tool.

All you need to do is create beautiful images with your CTAs (using free tools like canva) and pin them on Pinterest.

Your pins will start showing up in the feeds of those interested in your topic, and you’ll gain a huge bunch of new subscribers!

Monetizing Your Email List

Okay, now that you’ve seen how you can start an email list and grow it to large numbers, what next?

Unless you have your own products and services that you can promote to your email list, you have to start thinking of other monetization methods.

Here are some quick tips to help you monetize your hard earned email list.

I. Provide Value Along With Your Sales Promos

This is by far the most important tip on the list.

Your subscribers are expecting valuable content from you. That’s why they signed up to your list in the first place. If you keep sending them emails with less advice and more sales promos, it’s bound to be a turn off.

Set a ratio for the type of emails you send. For example, for every sales promo that you email them, send them three emails offering free valuable tips and advice.

That way, even if they don’t buy something from you immediately, they will continue to stay on your email list and probable buy something later.

II. Make Money From Affiliate Advertising

If you have a blog with no products of your own, you can become an affiliate for some product or service that you use and enjoy.

Be sure to pick and choose products that you know your audience will be interested in.

Also, it is important to mention in a disclaimer that you are an affiliate for the product. Tell your audience that you will be earning a commission if they purchase using your affiliate link at no extra cost to them.

Affiliate marketing can be a great source of income if you have a huge following and are able to point your readers to products that would benefit them.

III. Offer an Exclusive Membership

If you have a loyal following who benefit from your valuable content, offer them a premium membership.

This could be access to an exclusive Facebook group for a certain price. It could also be paid access to exclusive emails with your best content and advice.

You can either charge a one-time fee or a monthly fee, depending on your goals for the group.

IV. Create Your Own Product or Service

Put in the time and effort to create a high quality product that your readers would love.

Or offer a service to your followers as a freelancer.

This shows readers your sense of authority and helps build your expertise.

Creating an Email List Even if You Don’t Have a Website

Okay, so you must be wondering, “I don’t have a website or blog. Email lists may not be for my business.”

Not true.

Email lists, like I mentioned earlier, are a huge asset to your business, even if you haven’t yet launched your website.

It’s pretty easy to build a temporary landing page using free software.

All you need to have is the URL of that free landing page, and you can start building your email list right away!

And then when you finally launch your own website, you’ll have a ton of raving fans to show it to!

Do you have an email list for your business?

What’s your best tip for growing your email list?

Just starting to build your email list? Comment below if you found this post helpful!

Don’t forget to share this post - it might help another smart entrepreneur like yourself!