The goal of this article is to show you the different steps involved in the process of building an effective email list that have better conversion ratio. The word “conversion” means the every email you sent to your visitors can generate a sale if you’re promoting any affiliate products, or a lead if you’re trying some CPM offers or at the least to get some targeted traffic to your web site.
I am going to classify the entire process of creating an email list into three steps.
- Getting Permission to Send Emails
- Collecting Email Addresses
- Boost the process of list building by offering Freebies and Incentives
Lets have a deeper look to each steps.
Step 1# How to Get Permission to Send Emails to Your Targets
If you do sending emails as part of your email marketing campaign without having any type of permission from the recipient can spell disaster for your marketing campaign. Whether you’re aware or not, You can’t legally send emails to persons who are a total stranger to you and even if you could, without any doubt, I could say that you’re not going to make very many people happy by sending them emails they didn’t opt for. Therefore, an email list without permission isn’t very valuable, in fact it could affect your brand name negatively.
On the other hand, when your email list is build upon the email addresses of prospects and customers who have shown an interest to receive emails from you or have explicitly asked your business to send them emails to stay updated with your offers and services, you have got a very valuable tool for your marketing strategy.
If you execute my instructions that I am going to show you below, you could make your list is full of people who want to receive your emails.
The initial step towards building a permission-based email list is deciding on a permission level. We can classify the permission levels into three basic types of permission.
1# Implied Permission Email list
The lowest level of permission is implied permission. Meaning, you don’t have received any written or oral agreement from the clients to send emails to them, However, you have already established some kind of relationship and you believe it is OK to send a couple of emails to them based on your relationship. For example, when you receive a business card from some of your customers or someone and says let’s stay in touch, you could assume that means sending a few emails. But you should be extra careful with implied permission, because people may be unpleasantly surprised if you start sending bulk marketing emails without first confirming their interest, your content and the frequency of those emails.
It’s advisable that, in the case of implied permission to send an email confirming your decision to add someone to your email list and include a link for opting out if you’re new implied subscriber doesn’t want to be on your marketing email list.
2# Explicit Permission
The second level of permission is explicit permission. In this case, someone fills out an online subscribe form to join your email list, that person has given you explicit permission to send the emails your email sign-up form specifies. Explicit permission is the widely used industry standard for email marketing. If you run marketing campaign for a general website or blog that doesn’t sell any products or services directly to the clients, then this is the recommended level of permission you required.
3# Confirmed Permission
This is the third and most stronger level of permission, also called as double opt-in permission. Confirmed permission helps you to make sure that your email list recipients are highly interested in receiving your emails and confirming permission generally improves your delivery rates too.
Confirmed permission often works in two levels:
- On level 1, Someone shows an explicit interest to be a part of your weekly email list, like filling the subscriber form that you have placed in your site.
- In Level 2, You send an email by asking him to confirm his decision to join your list by clicking a link or replying to the confirmation email with a specific message.
Now I would like to call your attention into a few forms of permission that actually have the potential to get you in trouble. You should avoid building your list based on someone else’s permission. Having said another way, never send your marketing emails to a subscriber lists belonging to your partner firms, vendors, colleagues, or any other trade organizations that have some relationship with you to provide their email list. However, If you really wanted to reach people on a third party email lists, better you ask the owner of the list to send the emails to their list on your behalf and ask them to explicitly opt in to your email list.
It is not uncommon to see some email lists are sold or leased out by list brokers, and permission-based quality is very important if you decide to use a broker to send your emails. If you decide to use a list broker anyway, you must first make sure the list broker you’re going to use is completely compliant with all laws and industry best practices. Never compromise on this rule, if you do you could broke your brand’s goodwill.
Since you have build a permission based email list, treat and protect it like a golden marketing tool that can take your business in to the next level. Don’t share your email list with anyone and don’t compromise on your permission standards by sending emails your subscribers who didn’t shown an interest for a specific product or service from you.
How to Collect Email Addresses for your Email Newsletter
I believe, by now, you’ve understood the position of the subscriber permission in a better marketing plan. Now, When it comes to collecting emails, I could list at least five methods to ask people to join your email list.
1# Create highly-converting CTA Sign-up Forms
The most common way to collect email IDs is by putting an online sign-up form to your website visitors. You should place the sign-up form or at least a link to the sign-up form on every page of your site, not just the homepage, because you never know when someone will visit your website or exit your website.
- See: Top 10 WordPress plugins to get more Email subscribers
- Useful Email marketing WordPress plugins
2# Collect Email Addresses in Person
When someone visits your office, or calls your business on the phone, don’t miss the opportunity to collect email addresses from him in person. You ask directly if he or she would like to join the email list to receive information about the topic of the call or the visit. When you participate in events like keynote speech or trade shows and when you meet people for appointments, don’t hesitate to ask everyone to join your email list.
3# Printed Marketing Materials (Printed Ads)
Printed marketing materials such as printed ads of your business in a local magazine, or a classified ad should describe a way to join your email list. You can offer a sign-up form by asking people to write their information directly on the form, and you can use printed advertising to promote other methods of joining such as placing a QR code in your ads that can take the readers into your online subscription form if they scan it.
You can put a mobile barcode shown above in the printed ads and ask your audience to scan it. If you scan the above QR code, it will take you to the ShoutMeLoud’s subscription page. If you have smart phone to scan QR code, give it a try right now to join the shouters list. Recent marketing reports shows this method is actually working well.
4# Use Social Media accounts to create E-mailing list
You can make use of your social media presence to collect email addresses. Provide sign-up links to your newsletter subscription form on all social media sites you own and encourage your visitors to subscribe through your social posts. Facebook API allow you to develop an application plug-ins, so you can directly place forms into your page.
Note:- An email address is more effective when you combine it with other information like a first name for personalizing your emails or Postal Code for targeting local offers. However, please do remember that demanding too much personal information through the initial sign up form may reduce sign-ups significantly. It is always a good idea to ask for further data once you’ve established a relationship of trust with the subscribers of your list.
Promote Email Sign Ups by Offering Incentives
Collecting email addresses and other personal information is not an easy task. If you find yourself you’re not yet close to your targeted subscriber number, then it might be the right time to learn how to create incentives to increase the number of subscriber sign-ups you get.
If your conventional wisdom says that people aren’t willing to share their email addresses, then you could be wrong. Actually, they are willing to share. All you need to do is to communicate the value of your email list effectively. What I am trying to say is to exchange value for information. The more valuable your newsletter, the more folks will subscribe to receive that value.
Now, there are two basic methods you can follow to maximize the value of subscribing to your lists.
1# Offer Quality Content
The first way is to make the content that you’re going to send through your emails valuable in and of itself. On another note, offer something special that people can’t find easily through googling.
The content should be relevant, for example, if you are a SEO consultant then you could offer free advice or techniques to help your clients to get some immediate backlinks through the email newsletter.
2# Offer Freebies for Sign Ups
You can also provide your subscribers immediate incentives for subscribing the email list. You can offer these incentives in the form of a valuable ebook download, or giving access to a special video, or freebies like a coupon or discount, or a free product or service, or anything else that has immediate benefit to the new subscriber. Usually incentives are given to subscribers in the form of an immediate automated email sent to the email address used for the subscription.
Remember, In order to yield maximum results, your give away incentive should be something related to your products or services as opposed to offering a freebie that is far related to your niche. That will make sure you’ll gain a prospect who is just as interested in what your business is as what you’re giving away.
Lets take a look at some of the incentives offered by different websites to their new subscribers at this writing time.
- Labnol.org offers its new subscribers an useful ebook that provides information about various useful sites.
- A restaurant network named TGI Fridays offers a free dessert to anyone who joins their email club. They will send a coupon to everyone who subscribes.
In addition to offering immediate freebies, offering the same benefits in the future can be very good idea. The benefit of future giveaways is the fact that you could send a few emails to new subscribers before they receive the offer.
If you have focused a lot on building an Email list but never thought about conversions, I suggest you to re-think about your Email marketing strategy. Instead of creating an Email list of 1000 people, a list with targeted 100 people will work better for you or for any online business.
This is a guest post by Sinan from TechShared. If you would like to write for ShoutMeLoud, check our submission guidelines.