Why you need to build an Email List to sell through Email – And exact steps how to build an Email list

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A lot of businesses complaint about missing out an opportunity to market their product/service on search engines, and/or social media. But there’s one channel that’s way cheaper than both of the above-mentioned channels, which is the second cheapest channel of all. First being content marketing, obviously. Furthermore, one of the biggest challenge marketers face in Email Marketing is to build email list. A list that is full of excited prospects eager to know more about news from your business and engage with your content and/or buy product/service.

In this guide, I will share insight about the so-called biggest challenge, and help you understand it’s not that tough to build email list.


Why is Email Marketing still effective?

A lot of people have questions about How to sell online? How to make money online? How to market our business in a cheaper way? If you too have these questions, then you’d find the whole guide super-useful.

One of the easiest ways to get started with earning online is to sell product/service online. You don’t even need to spend a penny on buying a domain or buying hosting space. You can simply create groups on Facebook and promote the special offer and exclusive coupons.

This seems a lot of work. Additionally, you can put the same amount of work to build email list and send out emails to the list and see the magic happen. However, you’d need to invest as little as $15-$20 a month for email marketing software, but as per stats, for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you make $28 on average. That’s 280% profit straight, isn’t that amazing?

There are three reasons why I find email marketing effective than any other type of marketing:

  1. It’s Direct: You can directly reach your prospects. It has a much better chance of getting in front of them than organic traffic. Directly reaching your prospects, without annoying them is a brilliant way to connect.
  2. Better Open Rate: People, including you and me, check email several times a day. You don’t search for particular search query several times a day. Right?
  3. Personalization: You can personalize your email, which is not possible in organic search results. Everyone from the search engine sees the same web page, over and over again. Though you send email to thousands, if not millions, yet; you can personalize each email you send. And I believe, this is the most convincing reason to include email marketing as part of overall marketing strategy of your online business.

The secret to a great email campaign is a good email list

No matter how great your business is, how amazing your product/service is, how amazing your email design is – but if you don’t have a good email list you are not going too far. If you aim to grow your business through email marketing, you ought to have a good quality email list.

You’d think to get an email list from an online source and get started with your business from day one.

Buying an email list is an all-time bad idea and 100% waste of money. If you value the quality of prospects in your list, then building an email list is the way to go. The reason why you should never buy a paid email list is that those email id owners are most likely to be disinterested in your product/service. They don’t know you and hence there is little to no chance of having a good conversion rate

All in all, it’s totally pointless to have a paid email list for your business. 

While building an email list, you should focus on three things:

Quality: The quality of the list depends on how well you know about the people on the list. You already know the fact that people check email on daily basis, so knowing about them in the list would give you an upper hand in this deal.

Relevance: This is both advantage and deciding factor of a successful email campaign. More relevant to the list, higher CTR, and higher profit rates.

Volume: Quantity matters, I admit but only when quality is uncompromised. If you have 10 subscribers and 6-7 open your email, if not convert, it is good. What if the CTR is not that good? In that case, the quantity of the list will help. Once you do well with the first two, you can focus on the quantity.

So, you are done with basics. If you’ve made this far, the next two sections are going to change the way you look at email marketing. Read on.

How to build an email list (step by step)

Building an email list is important and easy. Easy because it’s less technical, but it is a time taking process. You will have to wait for at least 90 days of continues efforts to reap the fruit of it. The results depend on various factors like your reach, organic traffic, quality of content, niche, your optin strategies etc.

Considering a decent traffic, good content quality and appealing optin strategies, following are some tips that will help you build an email list.

Tip #6 Be an early bird

This is a cosmetic step. As said earlier, if you have a decent traffic, high-quality content, and appealing optin approach, there is a very high chance that the email list will start compounding in no time.

These factors are important because the quality of the email list depends on these three factors.

  • Decent traffic to average the quality.
  • High-quality to resonate and pick only the relevant users
  • Appealing optin so that more people sign-up and increase the overall quality of the list

So if you start implementing necessary steps for building an email list, you’ll start reaping it’s fruit sooner. If you wait for certain things then you will be missing the boat.

Tip #5 Target people who know you and who you know

Dig out the business cards you got in seminars. Find out people in your LinkedIn connection. Circulate joining invites of your business groups on Facebook or Whatsapp or any social platform for that matter.

Bottom line is to target all people who you know and creating a brand awareness. By this means, you will have a great kickstart. Reason being, they already know you and now they will know you your brand too(if they don’t know already).

Furthermore, if you use any CRM, then get some inputs from there for building an email list. This should get you enough contacts to get you started. For building an email list you can use software like MailChimp(it’s free for first 2000 subscribers), AWeber, GetResponse, InfusionSoft  & ConvertKit.

Tip #4 Have a great blog

A blog serves as a way for people to come to your site and know about your product/service. If you find an appealing way to incentivize their presence, you can have on board for sure. B2B companies that blog regularly generate 67% more leads than those who don’t. Furthermore, content marketing is the cheapest way to market your business considering the quality of the content you produce.

There are a few things you should keep in mind while working to build your blog and hence email list through it:

  • Have opt-in forms in all your blog posts. Place it at the end of the posts and make sure you have a great content to convince the readers.
  • In-line forms also do great in bringing more sign-ups if placed right. An exclusive content(not present in the blog post) in exchange for their email is a good way to start. Your content in the blog post should be top-notch that would appeal for the exclusive content.
  • In such optin forms, limit the amount of information your pull from the subscribers. Full name and email ID should do.

Tip #3 Have an incentive for Optin

Give and take has been the way to trade since the inception of human civilization. It’s not that you should ask for signup only in a blog post, you can have the signup forms on your homepage, sidebar, footer, popups etc. Point is to have it as meaningful as possible. You should trade your prospect’s email information for something that adds value to their life. Not only you should serve them with easy solutions, but you should also add value. Even if it takes going out of the line. This additional stretch will get you enough subscribers you can only imagine.

Depending on your niche, you are free to roll out ebooks, whitepapers, discounts, exclusive offer or whatever you think your users will find appealing. Offer your user these incentives in most attractive fashion and gain subscribers like a pro.

Remember Barter System? The trading option when human civilization didn’t come up with currency? This works even today. You exchange a value-add resource in exchange for your prospect’s email id.

Tip #2 Social Sharing

Having a social sharing feature in your email body is considered to be the ninja technique to do growth hacking like a pro. Statistically, it increases CTR by 158% on average. Social sharing is more about establishing your online presence, brand awareness and making people interested in subscribing to your mailing list.

Social sharing is key to grow user base exponentially. One great example I can think of in this context is Gillette sending shaving kit to boys on their 18th birthday. Not explicitly mentioning to share on social media(which they knew the receivers will), they had a hashtag on the box which the receivers will use in their post. This way the company managed to create a trend and also get some free publicity.

I understand this is not through emails, but you can make use of this strategy too. Wouldn’t it be amazing?

Tip #1 A/B test new CTAs

When it comes to call-to-action you can come up with anything traditional. Obviously, you can go out of the line to do the A/B testing of between pop-ups and in-line sign-up form. You can try and test between single opt-in or double opt-in.

Experimenting the CTAs will get you data that will help you decide which CTAs work for you. This includes internal & external attempts.

You now know about the working tips that will help you grow your email list. Now that you know it, let me tell you ways to sell anything through email marketing.

How to sell anything through Email

Now that you have the tips to grow the existing list, or build it from scratch, here’s an awesome infographic on different ways to sell anything through email.

build email list

Final thoughts on building an email list & sell anything through email

If you have no intentions to grow your business through the number 1 channel, then you don’t have to spend time and energy to build email list. If you’re an aspirant blogger or a start-up business, you should spend a quality time building an email list.

Email marketing is definitely one of the channels where you can get closest to your subscribers. And since it is the closest way to reach them, you can deliver any personal message or personalized.

I use MailChimp for my email marketing software. What about you?

Over to you. What do you think about building an email list? What are the ways by which you build email list for your business?  Let me know in the comment section.

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I am an SEO consultant by profession and photographer by choice. I have 5+ years of experience in SEO consulting and content marketing. I aim to become the one-stop for all your digital marketing needs