09 Aug 2-step process for building your email list
Simply put, an email list is a list of individual email addresses that you have permission to send email campaigns to.Email lists can be built a number of ways, and could include people who have:
- Purchased something from you
- Subscribed via your website
- Signed up for your product
- Given you their business card at an event
Building your email list is one of the most important activities you can focus on, and here’s why:
- Get your products and services seen by more people – Whether your emails contain updates on your latest products, discounts to drive sales, or an invitation to your next event, focusing on building your email list will ultimately result in more people seeing your products and services and clicking through to purchase.
- Keep your list fresh and up-to-date – It’s an unfortunate fact of life that occasionally email addresses become invalid. People’s work email addresses change as they move between companies, and others abandon old AOL and Compuserve email addresses in favor of modern platforms like Gmail. However, by focusing some of your time and energy on building your email list, you can fight list decay and ensure you have a growing list of people to receive and click-through on your email campaigns.
A 2-step process for building your email list
Step 1: Create simple subscribe opportunities
The first step in building a massive email list is making it incredibly simple for people to subscribe. To help you with this, we’ve outlined some of best ways we’ve seen businesses create simple subscribe opportunities across their website, social channels, etc.
Here are a few ideas:
If a lot of your customer interactions happen via your website, then including a subscribe form there is a great way to build your email list. But where exactly should you include it? There are an almost infinite number of options, but here are some of the most effective we’ve seen:
Checkout or signup process
If your business sells something online, then you can use your signup and/or checkout forms to capture email subscribers. Clothing brand Nau does a good job of this during their checkout process.
Given that people are already entering their name and email address as part of the checkout process, including a small tickbox to join their email list makes it super simple for people to subscribe.
If your website has a form where people can contact you, request a quote, etc. then adding a subscribe tickbox is a great way to capture new email subscribers. These people are entering their details into the form already, and clearly have a strong interest in what you offer. ConversionLab does a great job of this on their website, including a simple opportunity to subscribe to their newsletter at the bottom of their website’s contact form.
If you run a blog to help build your business, then this is a great place to be adding a subscribe form. In fact, people who subscribe to your blog will likely be some of most valuable readers, accounting for majority of your comments and sharing your content 3x more than other visitors.
Campaign Monitor customer Freshbooks do a good job of this. They offer a simple subscribe opportunity in a prominent popup that appears once you’ve been on their blog for a certain amount of time.
Your social channels
If you have built a following on social media channels like Facebook, then it’s a good idea to try and convert them into email subscribers as well. With Facebook intentionally limiting the number of times your posts appear in your followers newsfeed, it’s becoming increasingly important to try to engage those people on more reliable channels, like email.
But how do you do it? There are a number of different methods for allowing people to subscribe to your email list from your social channel, but here are two of our favorite:
Facebook Subscribe Form
If you are a Campaign Monitor customer, you can easily add a subscribe form to your Facebook page using our Facebook Subscribe Application.
As seen on SXSW’s Facebook page, the form creates a separate tab on your Facebook page, which people can navigate to, enter their details and join your email list.
Your email signature
Depending on the size of your organisation, you are probably sending hundreds or even thousands of emails to customers and prospects each month. These personal emails from you and your team are often highly engaged with, and therefore the perfect place to promote your newsletter and get people to subscribe.
Heartbeat do a great job of this in their employee’s email signatures, including a link to a landing page that makes it simple for people they do business with to subscribe to their email list.
Step 2: Offer a valuable incentive
Now that you’ve made it simple for people to subscribe to your email list, then next step is to give them some incentive to do so.
There are an infinite number of ways in which you can provide an incentive for people to join your email list, and the right one depends on the type of organization you are marketing.
For instance, online fashion stores are likely going to have different incentives they can offer than a financial services firm, so the key is to pick out what makes sense for your business to offer based on what would resonate with your audience.
Some incentives you could use include:
If you have a blog or are using other content marketing techniques to attract visitors, then relevant, high-quality content is a great incentive to offer people to get them to join your email list.
This can take many forms, and we’ve seen many companies excel using a variety of methods.
For instance, the folks over at Buffer write some amazing content on social media marketing and productivity on their blog. The quality of the content they offer is a valuable enough incentive to entice 1000+ people each week to subscribe to their email list just to receive updates when new blog posts are published.
However, the team at ConversionLab take a slightly different approach. They offer an exclusive incentive (in this case, 7 conversion rate optimization tips delivered via email) that isn’t available anywhere else on the web, encouraging people to hand over their email address to get the incentive and ultimately join their list.
Regardless of what approach you take, the key thing is to ensure your content is high quality and relevant to your audience, otherwise it isn’t enough of an incentive for visitors to give over their email address.
Discounts and offers
If you sell something online, then offering discounts or presenting various other value-added offers can be a great incentive for people to join your email list.
For instance, online cosmetic store La Mer offer a fantastic first-order discount to new visitors to incentivise them to join their email list.
This is a particularly effective technique as not only is the potential to save money a great incentive to subscribe to their email list, but the actual discount itself is also a great motivator to make a purchase. So by offering first-order discounts to potential customers, La Mer is both building their email list and increasing sales at the same time.
Early access and exclusive promotions
If you have built up a reasonable level of brand love over the years, then offering early access and exclusives as an incentive to subscribe to your email list can be extremely cost-effective.
For instance, hair care company Oribe has thousands of loyal followers around the world and offers exclusive, early access to new products and promotions as an incentive to subscribe to their email list.
Tools to help you build your email list
Campaign Monitor Tools
If you’re a Campaign Monitor customer, there are a number of free tools available to you (accessible within the app) to help you build your email list. These include:
The Subscribe Button is a small and elegant button you can add to your website to allow people to subscribe to your email list. When clicked, a small popup appears where people can enter their email address.
These email addresses are then automatically added to your chosen email list in Campaign Monitor. To get started using the subscribe button, follow the instructions in this help article.
The Subscribe Form is a simple HTML form you can add anywhere on your website. You can set exactly what fields you want to capture (I.e. Name, Email, Location, Gender, etc) and it seamlessly integrates into the style of your website.
Any email address entered into the Subscribe Form are automatically added to your chosen email list in Campaign Monitor. To get started using the subscribe form,follow the instructions in this help article.
The Subscribe Page is a landing page dedicated solely to capturing subscribers. It’s customizable to suit your brand and you can set exactly what fields you want to capture (I.e. Name, Email, Location, Gender, etc).
All email addresses entered into the Subscribe Page are automatically added to your chosen email list in Campaign Monitor. To get started using the subscribe form,follow the instructions in this help article.
3rd Party Tools
For those looking to get a bit more advanced with their email subscribe forms, there are a number of 3rd party tools available that integrate directly with Campaign Monitor to pass any email addresses captured into your chosen email lists.
These 3rd party tools offer more advanced functionality than the default Campaign Monitor tools mentioned above, but can also cost an additional fee.
SumoMe is a suite of tools that help you offer simple subscribe opportunities. Using SumoMe, you can add more advanced types of subscribe opportunities like popups, slide-ins, and header bars.
Best of all, SumoMe’s suite of tools integrate directly with Campaign Monitor, so you can automatically send any emails you capture through the tool straight to your chosen list.
Optin Monster is an advanced tool that allows you to add various types of subscribe opportunities to your website, including popups, slide-ins, header bars and more.
It features advanced customization and targeting options that allow you to show the subscribe opportunity on specific pages of your website, or to specific visitors (like people coming from Facebook, or people who have never visited your site before).
Best of all, Optin Monster integrates directly with Campaign Monitor, so you can automatically send any emails you capture through the tool straight to your chosen list.
If you’re looking to build your email list using email addresses you already have (I.e. From your existing customers), then integrating your existing CRM, accounting package or eCommerce platform with your Campaign Monitor account can be a great way to automatically add new customer information to your email lists.
Here are a few of the different tools you can integrate with your email marketing software to help build your email list:
- CRM system – You can integrate your CRM system with your email marketing software to automatically pull new leads, prospects and customers into your email lists.
- eCommerce Platform – You can integrate your eCommerce platform with your email marketing software to automatically pull all customers (along with granular customer data like purchase history) into your email lists.
- Accounting Packages – If you keep a lot of your customer data in your accounting package, then you can integrate it with your email marketing software to automatically pulls your customers names and email addresses into your email lists.
If you’re a Campaign Monitor customer, you can benefit from deep integrations with CRM tools like Salesforce, as well eCommerce platforms like Magento and Shopify, that will automatically add new customer information (including name, email address, last purchase date, amount spent, etc) to your email lists.
Alternatively, 3rd party integration tools like Zapier allow you to automatically add new subscribers to your email list from over 500 other applications, including Google Sheets, Sugar CRM, Microsoft Dynamics, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Quickbooks, Xero, Freshbooks, and more.