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Building Your Email Marketing List: How to Get Started and Keep it Growing

Email is one of the oldest digital mediums still in use—having stemmed from the early days of the internet as a form of digital identity. With its tenure status in the digital marketing world, you may think that email marketing is an antiquated means of exposing potential consumers to your brand, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Though people are now more sensitive than ever as to what is allowed to filter into their inboxes, it simply means that marketers must be equally as sensitive to the material they are sending out—and be more creative in capturing and keeping their email audiences. But before you can launch an email marketing campaign, you must first lay the foundation. Building your email marketing list is the basis you need to get started.

Your email marketing list is one of the few things in the digital marketing world that you have complete control over—as opposed to social media and search that are defined and dictated by constantly changing algorithms. That being said, it is a tool that you should not miss the opportunity to take advantage of. For one, nearly half of the world’s population has an email address, and billions of emails are sent every day—the actual number is expected to reach 246 billion by the end of 2019. In addition, according to the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), email does produce a return on investment. For every $1 spent on email, the DMA reports, the average return you can expect is $38.

Though you may be convinced that it’s time for your business to start building your email marketing list, actually determining how to do so can prove intimidating. Check out these tips for building your email marketing list—and to keep it growing.

  • Don’t buy a list. When building your email marketing list, many people are tempted to buy lists because they see them as the quickest and easiest way to obtain emails. But in life, the easiest way is rarely the best way to do things. There are actual disadvantages that can come along with purchasing a list, besides the fact that you are spending money on it. Purchased lists can leave you sending content to unsolicited addresses, which can end up having you labeled as a spammer. You could also end up with dead emails and emails that include people out of your target audience. These people will not have as high of a level of interest in your brand as contacts that you collect yourself.
  • Sign up for an email marketing service. An email marketing service will give you the tools you need to obtain and manage subscribers, test campaigns and generally, maintain your list. At McNutt & Partners, we recommend that our clients use MailChimp because it is a user-friendly and free email marketing service ideal for businesses just getting started with email marketing.
  • Take inventory of the contacts you already have. Use any headway you have already made in regard to building your email marketing list to your advantage. Look for names to add to your list in your email address book, sales records and even business cards that you have laying around. If you have an existing list that you want to start a new campaign, offer people on your existing list an incentive to sign up for your new newsletter, blog or whatever it is you are trying to promote.
  • Include opt-ins on all of your digital assets. An opt-in is essentially a sign-up form for people to subscribe to your email list. You should include opt-ins wherever it is feasible: on your email signatures, social media or website pages, for example. Your opt-in should be easy to fill out (the less information you ask for, the better) and should include language that lets people know the benefits they will receive from signing up (i.e., see incentive ideas below).
  • Offer incentives to sign up. You should also offer incentives to sign up for your email list. These could include:
    • Discounts
    • Loyalty programs
    • A free eBook, webinar access, etc.
    • Giveaways
    • Valuable information

While it’s true that some people may sign up just to obtain the incentive and then opt out, many people that you pick up from your incentive offer could stay—especially if you keep them interested with the content you are pushing out.

  • Solicit outside of the digital realm. Acquire emails at your business’ physical location if you have one, or when you are out and about representing your brand. Place an email sign-up notebook at your point-of sale, have people place their emails into a bowl to win something at a trade show, or simply pass around a sign-up sheet if your business is hosting a lunch and learn or seminar.
  • Put out beneficial, entertaining and engaging content. Put simply, subscribers are more likely to pay attention to your emails—and to want to stay subscribed to them—if the content you are putting out captures their attention. You should think about the particular needs of your subscribers and offer information that is relevant to those needs. Do your best to create content that is exclusive—so that email users will have to rely on your brand in order to consume it.

Building your email marketing list and maintaining your subscribers should be high on your priority list within your digital strategy. Email is a powerful force in the digital realm that can work in your favor when executed successfully.

If you need help building your business’ email list and creating content to keep consumers interested, contact the McNutt & Partners team today at 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.


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