Janine Popick is CEO & Founder of VerticalResponse in San Francisco, California, USA, and the winner of a Gold Stevie Award for Female Executive of the Year-Business Services (up to 2,500 Employees) in the 2013 Stevie Awards for Women in Business.
The 2014 Stevie Awards for Women in Business competition is now open. The early-bird entry deadline is July 23. GET THE ENTRY KIT HERE.
“How do I build or get an email marketing list?” As the leader of an email marketing software company for the last 13 years that’s been the most common question I’ve heard whenever I’ve talked to small businesses.
I’m also often asked if it’s okay to use a purchased, rented, or scraped email list.
My answer? Nope. Nada. Not so much. There are no shortcuts to growing an engaged and loyal base of subscribers, fans, and followers.
In reality, rather than get you the results you want, that purchased list could tarnish your relationship with your recipients—not a great way to start out.
So, how do you grow a list with engaged subscribers who want to hear from your business? I have five sure-fire ways, so read on!
1. Offer Value
In exchange for giving you their email address, subscribers expect to get something of value. Whether it’s a discount, exclusive deal, advance access, tips, how-tos, advice, or something else, make sure the value is stated on your email sign-up form.
2. Give ’Em a Sneak Peek
You can give folks a sneak peek of what they’ll get by joining your email list. How? By providing tangible examples of your emails, newsletters, and invitations right on your website. This gives them a chance to “try before they subscribe.”
At VerticalResponse, we archive our weekly VR Buzz e-newsletter so folks can preview what they’ll see before they hand over their email addresses. Also, once they’re a subscriber, if they happen to miss a newsletter, they always have easy access to it.
3. Subscribe (Opt-in) Everywhere
Sending emails to your subscribers is all based on getting their permission first. Here’s where your “join my list” form—also called an opt-in form—comes into play. An opt-in form is priceless because, when people willingly give you their email addresses, they’re saying they want to hear from you. And by getting opt-in permission, you build a relationship and gain trust. It’s a win-win for both parties.
Tip: Make sure you keep your forms short, and easy. Also, give folks the opportunity to sign up whenever they contact or interact with your business, including from multiple pages on your website (homepage, contact page, pricing page, etc.), your blog, your Facebook profile, transactional emails such as receipts and invoices, and at events or tradeshows.
4. Get Them to Pass It On
The ability to forward an email to a friend seems to have been around since the dawn of email marketing (trust me, I was there), but it’s amazing how many people still don’t include the forwarding ability in their emails. This is a missed opportunity, especially now that people are totally accustomed to sharing any messages that they think friends or co-workers might get value from or enjoy.
Encourage the forward by saying something like: “Share this email with friends you think might enjoy it!” All email service providers should allow you to insert a forward to a friend link very easily when you create your email. The bonus is that an email service will usually include an option to sign up for a mailing list in these forwarded emails, and that will add to list growth!
5. (Social) Sharing is Caring
Make sure that every email you send can be shared by your current subscribers on their social media networks. Most email service providers let you include social media buttons in your emails that allow recipients to share your message on Facebook and Twitter. Reporting and tracking will allow you to see how many people are sharing your messages.
There you have it: Five sure-fire (and easy) ways to grow your email list. Have any to add to my list? Share them in the comments!
About Janine Popick
Janine Popick is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse, a provider of online marketing tools for small businesses that include email marketing and social media marketing. Janine brings over 20 years of experience leading direct and Internet marketing programs for some of the biggest brands in technology and entertainment.
VerticalResponse Inc., a subsidiary of Deluxe Corporation, provides a full suite of online marketing tools to help small businesses connect with their customers on email, social media, mobile, and more. More than 1 million users worldwide have relied on the VerticalResponse platform to easily create, manage, and analyze their own marketing campaigns, all from a single account. For more information visit www.verticalresponse.com, or connect on Twitter and Facebook.