Grow Your Email List : Grow Your Business

You already know that there's power in an email list. It's your direct connection to your customers and potential customers. It's your non-intrusive way of marketing your business because the people who signed up asked you to let them know when you have new items in your store or you're running a sale or if you'll be at a show.

Yet, most of us don't have a solid mailing list. We might have a few names of loyalty customers and family members but that's not going to keep you in business. And ten names aren't going to help you grow your business. For that, you need to continually collect new email addresses and grow your list.

I'm not sure why collecting email addresses is so intimidating but I get it. I'm right there with you. For me, it's about obligation. Once I have your permission to contact you, I feel like I have to come up with something exciting to say every time I send a newsletter. I'm a writer and that worries me; I can't imagine how it feels for someone who prefers a paintbrush to a keyboard.

Then there's the "favor" aspect. Asking someone to give you their email address sounds like you're asking for a favor. Please, take pity on me and join my list so I feel better about myself. Yikes. That's nothing but Mr. Low Self-esteem talking. Kick him to the curb. When you add a name to your mailing list, you're doing your customer a favor and not the other way around. You're giving them access that others don't have and if they like your work, that's a good thing. I'm not saying customers should beg you to be put on your private, exclusive list.

Don't get me wrong. This is a two-way deal. Done right, you both benefit and big time. Once you get past the mind games, it's time to jump the next hurdle - actually collecting names.

You Sign-Up Before They Sign-Up

The first thing you need to do is sign up for a free service like Mailchimp. Setting up over there can be confusing so don't hesitate to ask them or us for help. Once you're set up, follow the instructions here to get your code on your IndieMade site. Ideally, everyone who visits your page will sign up but that's not likely to happen without a nudge. This is where the Lead Magnet comes in.

We're Magnets: We Attract

A lead magnet, is a freebie you hand out in return for someone's email address. It's a fair trade that could take your mailing list from ghost town to boom town. Most people give away some kind of ebook or digital tutorial as a lead magnet. Retailers often use a one- time discount code - "sign up for our email list and get 10% off your next order".

Remember, your magnet has to resonate with your ideal customer. If you sell high-end jewelry, a coupon might be too low end. And they probably don't want a tutorial on how to make a bracelet. What they probably want is to be the first one to see your new piece or get access to your exclusive VIP's only collection.

If you are selling a service, offer a free half-hour on Skype in return for a sign-up. Or host monthly webinars just for the people on your list. Just make sure that the lead magnet is in line with your business. Remember those crazy real estate scammers who would give you a cruise if you sat through their horrendous seminars? You don't want people signing up just to get a super freebie.

Which leads to me to contests as lead magnets. Bloggers have been using giveaways to collect email addresses for ages. If you publicize your giveaway on one of the large contest sites, you'll get sign-ups, but will they be potential customers? Probably not. People who can and will buy a $500 painting aren't the type to enter a contest to win one.

I'm a fan of giveaways but they're only good for one thing - driving traffic. So if you have a blog with ads and sponsors, a giveaway will boost your numbers. If you're looking for future clients, forget the giveaway and go with a solid lead magnet instead.

Time to take the first steps toward building your own email list. Go sign up for Mailchimp or other newsletter company and get your opt-in form on your IndieMade site. Then, start thinking about that lead magnet. Next week, we'll talk about 3 additional ways you can get sign-ups for your list.

Do you have an email list tip or question? Let us know in the comments below.