How to Build an Email Marketing List

6 Easy Steps to Grow Your Distribution

Feb 18, 2011 | Skip to comments » | Share | |

Recently, we've gotten a great deal of questions from clients and friends on building an email marketing list. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, below are some simple and safe tips and tactics to grow your distribution list.

1. People You Know or Current Clients

This is a great place to start.  You may have a couple or a couple of thousand contacts built up over the years, and asking for their permission to send a newsletter should build your list quickly.  Also, anyone who has inquired about your services or purchased goods or services within the last two years is safe to add.  That said, we still recommend you ask.

2. Make Your Website Work for You, Part 1 - Newsletter Sign Up

If you are just starting an email newsletter, or have been pushing one out for years, make sure that visitors to your website have the option to opt-in through a newsletter sign up functionality.  This should be displayed prominently on the homepage, but it should also be available on interior pages containing relevant content such as blogs, webinars and video.  Most email service providers (iContact, Campaign Monitor, Mail Chimp, etc...) have an API you can use to integrate this into your site.  Also, if your business has an e-commerce component, include a check box at sign out that allows users to sign up for the newsletter there.  Just remember, the check box has to default to unchecked according to the CAN-SPAM Act.

3. Make Your Website Work for You, Part 2 - Provide Great Content

Content goes beyond your newsletter.  Blogging regularly, developing white papers around a specific area of expertise, conducting webinars and utilizing social media will go a long way in building your distribution list.  The higher the frequency of good, relevant content, the higher the likelihood of a new prospect opting in to your newsletter. As mentioned above, make sure your website opt-in is close to this content to make it as easy as possible for someone to sign up. 

Lastly, don't forget to archive your newsletters within your website.  Newsletters need to live on beyond someone's inbox. 

4. Social Media

Once you have your newsletter living on your website, broadcast the link out to the masses via Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.  You'll exponentially increase your audience, and if the content is good, you will get conversions. 

If you want to take social media a step further, customize your Facebook page to coincide with your most recent newsletter.  Our friends over at the Clemson Alumni Association have executed this well and their distribution has grown significantly in just a few months.

5. Prospecting/Networking

We meet new prospects and/or gate openers every day.  We've all had potential clients come close to buying from us or stall. You have a stack of business cards in your drawer.  Why not add them to the list?  You've probably told them you were going to follow up, so ask them if they'd like to receive the newsletter in the meantime. Chances are they have an interest in what you do, and now you have a platform to show off your expertise in your field.

6. Consistency

Generating content can be difficult.  But that's no excuse to become inconsistent.  Sporadically sending out your newsletter is a surefire way to not grow your list.  Consistency will yield more than just new subscribers, it will also increase your click through rate, open rate and forward rate. 

Relevant Links

Merge Webinar on Email Marketing Excellence
What You Need to Know About Permission

Bottom Line: Email marketing is a great tool, and many times we see friends and clients put it on the back burner because they are afraid their list isn't big enough. Whether your newsletter goes to 2 or 200,000, there is still room for growth, so get started on it today.

PS - Feel free to sign up for our newsletter here.  I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't ask. 



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