Starting from Scratch: How to Develop an Email List

Written by Silvia Lightcap

Did you know that email marketing alone drives the same amount of revenue as social media, website optimization, and display advertising efforts combined? According to The Relevancy Group’s market research findings, email marketing beats out every other form of online marketing in terms of ROI.

One of the base requirements for a successful email marketing campaign is an impressive email list. But what do you do when you don’t have one? Building it from scratch can feel overwhelming, but it is possible.  We’ll discuss strategies to not just build an effective email list but create a loyal subscriber base within, ensuring that you attract more qualified customers in the long term.

1.  Create a Pop-up Email List Form

Ultimately, most individuals do not like pop-ups appearing while they are on a website. However, we cannot deny that pop-ups do work when done properly! The most important consideration when adding a pop-up email form to your website is to make sure your pop-up is not gimmicky, but instead is helpful to the reader. You should avoid making the pop up appear immediately upon the reader landing on your website. Instead, use these pop-up styles:

  • An exit pop-up – Appears when a user tries to leave the page.
  • A side bar pop-up – Appears on the outside edge of the page if the page is wide enough. 
  • A scroll pop-up – Appears after the user scrolls a certain percentage down the page.  

2. Create a Valuable Call-to-Action

The optimal target market for your email list is the individuals already engaged with your brand, company, or products. One method of guaranteeing these are the individuals included on your email list is to create a call-to-action (CTA). Ideally, this CTA should be included on your “About Us” and other highly viewed landing pages as well in blogs.

Keep in mind this CTA should also offer value to your potential clients. Specifically, if your CTA offers content directly related to your readers, you need to avoid the “sales pitch” messaging. Instead, position your offering as helpful and valuable to the reader.

You can accomplish this by optimizing your sign-ups. Using “sign up” or “subscribe” as your CTA does not explain valuable content. However, using the CTA “access all our exclusive offers” offers a clear value to signing up.

3. Advertise Your Email List

Just because you are starting an email list from scratch doesn’t necessarily mean that you do not have a loyal following. Social media is a powerful asset when building an email list, and Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter followers are treasure troves of connections that are already dedicated to your brand. Why not notify them of a new resource? Make social media posts to advertise joining your email list and go further to describe the type of value followers will receive from doing so.  

4. Include an Email List Sign up on Your Main Menu

Your navigation bar is the universal item that every visitor to your website sees no matter what page they visit. Including a link that encourages readers to join your email list, keeps that information in front of site visitors and reminds them to sign up if they have not already. 

5. Create a Content Creation Strategy

Content remains king when it comes to building an email list. One of the best ways to build an email list is to create valuable content regularly. When you create content relevant to your target audience, that audience is likely to share your content. The more that people exposed to your content begin to see you as a valuable asset, the more likely they are to want more content from you in the future. In turn, this creates more potential sign-ups. 

6. Giveaways

Incentives are everything. If you want visitors to sign up for an email list, you need to give them something in exchange – something they would find relevant to their buying journey. The most common forms of incentive are discounts, sales, eBooks, or offers for free shipping for a limited time. Preferably, the incentive is relevant and directly aimed at your target audience. For example, jewelry store owners could provide a free jewelry cleaning to every new email subscriber. By offering a jewelry cleaning instead of an Amazon Echo you are making sure that the subscribers are your ideal customers who are interested in jewelry. 

7. Create a Referral Program

A referral program is a great way to obtain new contacts and even new customers! Just as you can grow an email list by offering giveaways, you can do giveaways under a referral program. The idea is to influence current subscribers to refer their friends, families, and colleagues to your email list through an enticing offer. Similar to giveaways, those offers could be free shipping, coupons, discounts, or content.

 Email Marketing with PHOS Creative

Now that you have built an extensive email list, you can focus on cultivating a relationship with the people on it.  If you are interested in better utilizing your email marketing campaigns and investing more in your digital presence, our team of digital marketers brings expertise to help you with strategies specific to your unique business.

Silvia Lightcap