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Building an email list is one of the most important things you can do when building your business or organisation. Even if you don’t do anything with it when you first start out, the key is to begin straight away.

Why is email marketing so important?

Email marketing is an extremely powerful way in which to market your product or services, keep in touch with previous and potential customers, and to share valuable news and content about your business or organisation. In my view, it is far more important than any social media following (more about that in this post). 

Here are the main reasons building your email list is so important:

  • It is a direct link between you and your customers
  • It is trackable, you can see exactly who has opened your emails and what links they have clicked on
  • You own your email list, no-one can take it away from you
  • It is free or cheap to maintain your email list
  • Most people have an email address
  • You’ll probably be collecting email addresses anyway, so it makes sense to collect them

How to build your email list

The first thing you’re going to need is software. Gone are the days when you’d store emails in a spreadsheet somewhere and BCC everyone into an email. There are now plenty of options, some free and some paid. Some providers begin free then you begin to pay once your list has reached a certain number of subscribers. Here are a few you may want to consider:

  • Mailchimp
  • Aweber
  • ConvertKit
  • Hubspot

How does Email Marketing software work?

In all of these options, you store your audience in the software, create campaigns then have the ability to analyse your open rates and engagement for each campaign. The level of analysis is incredible, you can create heat maps to show what parts of the emails your customers viewed, what links they clicked on, what time they opened or clicked, where geographically they clicked…the list goes on.

Create a landing page

Within each program you can create a landing page. This is a page within the software that allows potential customers to simply enter their name and email address. You then create a specific URL for this page and distribute in any way you can. That’s it, they’re on your list! Here’s a landing page on my website:

This method can work, but even better is a landing page with a lead magnet.

Creating a lead magnet

A lead magnet is something you can give away for free in exchange for someone’s email address and contact details. This can be any number of things, but here are some examples:

  • Pdf book or brochure
  • Discount code
  • Spreadsheet or editable proforma
  • Video
  • Drip-feed email series, an online course
  • Checklist or template
  • Quiz
  • Webinar or podcast
  • Free trial
  • Competition

Ultimately the purpose of a lead magnet is to build trust and authority between you and your potential customer. Think of it as a ‘first date’, a way in which to provide some sort of value to someone that a little bit further down the line will become a customer.

How do you deliver the lead magnet?

One of the best functions of all of the email marketing software options above is they allow you to automatically send your new subscriber a series of emails. So once you’ve created the lead magnet and uploaded it to the web, your subscribers can automatically receive it in one of these emails. You can collect emails on autopilot, 24/7.

How can I get visitors to my website on my email list?

Once you’ve created a landing page with a lead magnet you can bring attention with a popup that appears on your website. Again, email marketing software allows you to create your popup, personalise the design and install it on most website builders. Here’s one I designed for my website:

You can decide what size you’d like the popup to be, when it pops up and what screens the subscriber then sees once they’ve subscribed.

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