If you want to use email marketing to communicate with your customers and potentially find new customers, then you need to build a list. While there are some questionable techniques for gaining subscribers, the most effective way to grow you list is through genuine, organic interest.
There are some common ways that small business owners can encourage their target audience to opt-in to receive email from the company. One is by including a sign-up form in various places on the company website and blog. Many small business owners also find they are able to get an increase in signups by offering an incentive; they may provide a free downloadable report, coupon code or other benefit in exchange for the website visitor providing his or her email address.
But what if you are already doing those things and want to boost your signups even more? There is a lot more you can do; here are four ideas to get you thinking.
1. Run a Contest
Contests or promotions are a great way to encourage potential subscribers to opt-in to your email list. You can make the sign-up process part of the contest entry, and you can even give new subscribers a chance to share the contest with friends for additional entries.
Keep is mind that just as it's important to post the rules of your contest, you should also make sure it is clear that entrants are being added to your email list, and what the means (i.e., how often you'll send them messages, the types of content, etc.).
2. Use Social Media
If you are active in social media, one way to generate email list signups is by using your social presence to spread the word about your list. Of course, you can tweet, post and share the links to sign up. Consider taking it one step further and creating custom landing pages you can link to from your social network profiles and promote activity that brings visitors to a page specifically designed to get them to sign up for your list.
3. Go Offline
If you speak at small business conferences and other in-person events, you have a great opportunity to ask your audience to subscribe to your email list. Try passing around a sign-up sheet after your session to encourage participants to sign up.
You can also add a link to your opt-in form on your business cards and other printed marketing materials to let people know you have a newsletter or other mailing they can sign up for in order to stay in touch.
4. Add It To Your Email Signature
Your email signature provides an effective piece of marketing real estate. While you wouldn't want the entire signature to be marketing focused, adding a line or two with a call to action for signing up for your list can be an effective way to maximize a marketing tool you use every day.
There are a lot of creative ways you can grow your email marketing list, and trial and error is a great way to test the waters. As you get started with email marketing, make sure you understand and follow the CAN-SPAM Act rules to protect your business. And browse this list of email marketing services to explore options for streamlining the email marketing process.