An email list is a database of subscribers. Subscribers are people who have said they want to receive information from you, are open to your messages and ideally are your client avatar.
Who needs an email list?
Everyone needs to build an email list – entrepreneurs, speakers, coaches, authors, thought leaders, consultants. Anyone who has space for more clients in their business should develop and maintain a curated, dynamic list to stay in contact with leads.
What's the purpose of an email list?
An email list’s purpose is to build the “know, like, trust” factor with your ideal client avatar. People are more likely to invest in and work with people they know, like, and trust. Your email list allows you to send content, maintain communication with your audience, and build relationships. It affords the opportunity for your prospective and current clients to understand what you’re about, your perspective, and stay current about your offerings and services. You maintain an ongoing relationship with thousands of people at the same time so when they are ready to buy, you’re top-of-mind and easily accessible for them.
Why is an email list better than social media?
Email lists are important because it’s a direct line to subscribers and ideal clients. Email is like making a phone call. It’s a direct connection that isn’t filtered by a service provider and no one can limit the access. You own your email list — no one can come between you and your target audience.
Social media is different. It’s a roadside billboard — you hope the right person drives by at the right time and happens to see it. You’re relying on chance that they’ll receive the message you’re sending. With social media, you don’t control the platform, own the route the message takes, or influence who follows you. The specific platform decides how, when, and to who your message is delivered. What an email list provides that social media doesn’t is control of your message delivery and a direct line to your potential client.
How expensive is building an email list?
The only costs associated is for the platform that houses your database. There are many available that tailor to your preferences and needs. The fees range from three to hundreds of dollars a month depending on the size of your list and a few other factors.
I encourage caution using free platforms to help grow your list. Most free services reach a point requiring payment. Ideally, your list is going to grow. You need to select one that will shepherd you into your next phase of email marketing and list management. Clients often start with a free product and quickly need to move to a paid product. But if those paid products from the originally free services don’t support client needs, you’re forced to migrate your entire list to a new platform. That can be a real headache. Sometimes starting at the low price in a paid platform will allow the growth you need and ultimately save time, money, and effort.
What is an opt-in form and how is it connected to email lists?
An opt-in form is the webpage section where someone enters their name and email in order to sign up for your list, often in exchange for free content. It’s critical because it’s what collects subscriber information, permission to join your list, and connects to your list database.
What should I keep in mind when designing an email list sign-up form?
- Request as little information as possible – preferably first name and email address. The more fields someone has to complete, the less likely they’ll fill out the form.
- Ask for first name and email in that order. It’s more intuitive, common, and reduces sign up errors.
- Put your sign up form “above the fold” on your landing page so it’s easy to find and doesn’t require a lot of scrolling.
What is a Call To Action and how does it relate to email lists?
A Call To Action (CTA) is a simple statement on an opt-in form or landing page giving instruction for what to do. People are more likely to sign up or take action you want them to when you’re very clear about what they need to do. Examples are:
“Fill out the form below”
“Enter your name and email address to receive my five tips for X, Y, Z”
CTAs are important because they provide clear instructions to your audience and are a subtle way to acclimate your audience to follow your direction. They also help with your conversion rate.
How do I get someone to join my mailing list?
Offer free content (Lead Magnet), set up an enticing landing page, and make a compelling CTA that clearly describes the problem you’ll solve for them and why they should sign up for your list.
In order to add list subscribers, you need a very small amount of information from them. I recommend collecting their name and email address. If you’re in a European country governed by General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), you’ll also need to get GDPR consent.
How do I build an email list fast from scratch?
To build a list quickly, you need 2 things. First, you need a foundational structure (your Lead Machine) in place. This means having your email platform set up, lead magnet in place, and welcome series of emails ready. When your Lead Machine is set up and ready, you can capitalize on various list building activities available by capturing email addresses of potential clients.
Second, once that structure is in place, you can begin to actually build your list. There are many ways to build your list and you can select the ones that are right for you and your business based on cost and other factors:
- Direct contact outreach
- Traditional in-person networking
- Offering free courses
- Joint ventures with other influencers serving your client avatar
- Virtual Summits
- Include a CTA in your blog linked to the landing page and offering more information in exchange for subscribing
- Facebook live broadcasts, comment links on posts/in groups, and feed posts which include a very clear CTA directing people to sign up on your landing page
Building a list without a website is also easy. You can build a form in your email platform and distribute it. I suggest distributing through a landing page, but that’s not required.
Once I have a list, how do I grow it?
Growing your list happens in many of the same ways as building it:
- Joint venture partnerships with people serving the audience you want to draw in
- Direct outreach
- Hosting a Virtual Summit
What are the secrets to maintaining a large email list?
The secret to maintaining a large list is to nurture the relationship. It is critically important. Just like they say the 3 most important things in real estate are location, location, location… the 3 most important things for maintaining a list are nurture, nurture, nurture.
Often, people build a list and treat it as a static asset that doesn’t require maintenance. It’s a relationship – just like any other relationship in your life. You have to continue to tend to, nurture, cultivate, and communicate with your list just as you would a person you love.
Make sure you’re sending messages that are connected to your client avatar, tuned into who they are and what they want, and aren’t only “selling” to them. Be consistent by sending at regular intervals. I recommend twice per month and stick to that interval. Demonstrate you do what you say you’re going to do and get them accustomed to hearing from you regularly. THIS is how you build the know, like, trust factor over time.
Avoid these common email list mistakes:
“Ghosting”: after building a list, you never send anything and they forget they’re even on it. Your audience will unsubscribe because they hear from you so infrequently, they don’t remember who you are.
“Booty-Calling”: you only message your subscribers when you need something. Again, your audience will unsubscribe (or worse – get annoyed with you!). It doesn’t feel good to only hear from people when they need you to buy something because you haven’t established credibility or built a relationship.