So how do you create an email list from scratch? We all know at least something about this. It’s about collecting names and email addresses and it’s about sending out a marketing message to those leads and prospects. The problem isn’t in what to do, but how to do it, what platforms to use and how much money to invest. In this post I’ve reviewed a number of methods of collecting email addresses and marketing to prospects that range from using your current email provider to using a commercial product to do this for you. Also I’ve evaluated what you’ll need to do to entice people to subscribe to your list and keep them on your list! You’ll find how to capture a new business lead from each of your site’s pages.
1. Create an Email Marketing Strategy Using Outlook – Most articles about email marketing focus on using commercial marketing services such as Aweber or MailChimp, but in this post I wanted to also consider the use of tools that you may already be using. So let’s look at the possibility of using Outlook to set up lists of leads. To automatically collect leads we’d initially require having an email account added to Outlook such as Yahoo! or Gmail etc. Then we’d need to use this email account to collect leads online. Heinz Tschabitscher has written an article all about how to create an email list using Outlook express I have tried to add my free Yahoo! account to Outlook and at the time of writing I wasn’t able to get POP3 access. According to a number of online forums this is currently a known problem with free Yahoo! accounts. This is a shame as I’m genuinely interested to know if a business could in theory run a decent home made lead capture system using Outlook, a free email account and basic email capture forms in WordPress. So at this stage I’ve got no idea to the extent that I’d be able to monitor the number of opened emails and know who has clicked on what links. But I’d imagine that there is a way of doing this using a free tracking program where you’d route all of your links through. Maybe a project for 2012! But for now I’d say this approach is both time consuming and probably paved with unknown pot holes and banana skins.
2. Create an Email Marketing Strategy in Gmail – Ok I’ve moved on from using Outlook and I wanted to know to what extent I could just take a free email account like Gmail and use that as my main marketing strategy. I got this idea from reviewing lifehacker.com and read an article that was focused on how to create an email list in Gmail with contact groups. Whilst this is a similar strategy the outlook option there appears to be some support online for using Gmail as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool – see the following article on articlesnatch.com http://www.articlesnatch.com/Article/Free-Lead-Management–Turning-Google-s-Gmail-Into-Crm/590541 Here it is claimed that Gmail can be used as a CRM account. I’m now getting slightly frustrated with the whole idea of using a free email account as I’ve spent over an hour playing around with Gmail and I’ve not found any functionality for interrogating my data! Maybe I’m missing something. No disrespect to Google but to me Gmail is a pleasant web based tool and not necessarily meant to be used for anything more than single mail write and read or sending out group emails to either business associates or friends. So, a great tool for sending frequent emails to a handful of people. I will pursue this idea though as I’d like an alternative to commercial services to offer my readers and associates if there is a sensible way of doing this.
3. Commercial Email Marketing Strategy – There are many different email marketing services that you can use to create an email list. However, I have used Aweber now for the past 18 months and can fully recommend it. Whilst I’m always looking for other strategies at the moment Aweber meets my needs. What I like about Aweber in particular is that it is very easy to setup and quickly create an email list. Also there are many excellent widgets and plug-ins for WordPress that make it easy for the two platforms to speak to each other. The ease of interoperability with Aweber and other applications means that you can do most of the work of setting up a low budget lead capture system without needing to touch your web sites coding. Bonus!
How To Create An Email List: Key Considerations
I have outlined below what I consider to be the key considerations for creating an email list. These include information on how to incentivize your leads, where to put your opt-in form, the best pop-ups to use, using WordPress as a lead capture tool and how to gain trust from your audience.
4. Incentive to subscribe – I’ve mentioned the importance of incentivizing prospects to fill in your opt-in forms a number of times in my blog posts. As a basic overview you need something (a report, ebook, or special product) which your leads want and are willing to exchange their name and email address for. For information about read my ultimate guide to listing building
5. Multiple Sign-up Forms – Dr. Ralph F. Wilson has been involved in internet marketing since 1995 and we’d do well to pay attention to his advice. In an article that Ralph posted in 2007 he outlined 12 great tips on how to create an email list – The tip that stands out for me is putting multiple sign up forms across the breadth of your web site so that there is a signup form on every single page. Ralph widens this out to offline contacts too and recommends that we all take every opportunity to get telephone leads or people you work with face to face to subscribe to our newsletters or free product. My advice is to make your opt-in forms visible i.e. displayed above the fold of the page. The internet is a bit like real estate in that success is based on location, location, location! So make sure your visitors see your opt-in forms.
6. Use Popup Light Boxes To Attract Subscribers – Hey we all know the score. We go onto a web site that has information that we want. The site looks reasonably well produced and then bang only 30 seconds on the site and a popup lightbox appears. The offer is tantalizing and we consider for more than a moment to enter our details. Well folks products like Popup Domination actually do work. On my testing of my web site Popup Domination out performs all other lead capture strategies in terms of the number of leads generated through this single method. The Popup Dominationguys often bundle some good stuff with it too. However, it is worth considering how often you want to bug people. I’ve set my popup light box to activate once a day, but that could be too often for some people so I’m considering setting it to popup to first time visitors only. The great thing is that the program has a number of settings that you test in real time and adjust so that it works optimally with your own site. You could be missing a trick if you overlooked a product like Popup Domination
7. Create An Email List With WordPress for Free – Wpbeginner.com is a great resource that I’ve used throughout the development of my blog. You get good independent advice there. I’d recommend reading their article on how to create an email list with WordPress This post focuses how to market a product ahead of buying a more expensive service such as Aweber or MailChimp by using a WordPress plug-in called WP Email Capture It’s a two field, double opt-in form. The email addresses can be uploaded to an email marketing program at a later date. This is a good free option if you want analyse the likely amount of interest before making the investment to use Aweber or MailChimp etc.
8. How To Stay Subscribed – Peter J has written a useful article for famousbloggers.net which outlines how to create an email list where subscribers stay subscribed He sensibly highlights that sending out affiliate links week after week will have your subscribers reaching for the unsubscribe button faster than a Japanese Bullet train leaving Tokyo at high speed. Peter also reveals that a cool way to keep subscribers on your list is to work on a cycle of say one email a week, to offer good advice and offer subscribers the opportunity to be interviewed. These are great tips and I’ll certainly be thinking about interviewing my subscribers for featured emails / posts in the future.
9. Keep it Permission Based – Sitepoint.com is one of those sites that is worth visiting every once an a while to get a feel for good marketing practice. Alyssa Gregory points out in her article how to build an email marketing list that we need to keep your email list permission based. If you have a double opt-in email marketing program such as Aweber then this will be taken care of for you. However, if you plan to use your own methods of email lead capture then consider giving people a chance to opt-in first then offer an introduction to your offer/ business and provide a means for folk to unsubscribe. There is nothing worse than receiving emails that don’t offer the option to unsubscribe.
10 Why Should A Prospect Trust You? – Matt Mansfield correctly points out that trust is the cornerstone of email marketing success and is a key factor as to why a new business lead would want to subscribe to your material. Matt goes on to share in his article how to create an email list without sacrificing trust some wisdom around the dangers of over eagerness in building a list too fast. I totally agree with Matt’s position here. For instance, if you have a good business, then I’d imagine that you’ll have great products and services. Right, otherwise why are you in business? So relax – even with mediocre marketing it’s just a matter of time before your business will take off – providing you have great products or services. Obviously you’ll need to get your message out there, but better to concentrate on quality low frequency contact with your email list rather than bombarding your list with un-thought through, untargeted messages. Building trust is a case of getting your prospects/leads to appreciate that you are a person of quality and a person of integrity.
11. The Money is in the List – Onibalusi knows their stuff in this article how to build an email list that makes money they have pretty much summed up my free online marketing e-course. To get to the money there are a number of steps that you’ll need to take. You’ll need to consider who your target audience is, need to design an offer that is in alignment to what they want, you’ll need to consider how to capture your leads and then how to communicate with them. For more details either read Onibalusi’ article or like many people have already done subscribe to my free ecourse on list building.
OK that just about does it for today’s round up on how to create an email list. I have produced a number of other posts that you may be interested on around 19 list building mistakes to avoid and the definitive guide to email list building, which mentions many things not covered in this post.
To Your Success,
Professional Internet Marketing Coach
Author of How You Can Generate 50-100 Leads Per Day