In the first part of this series, we talked about the importance of building an email list. Now, we need to talk about how to grow that list.
The most common way to get people to sign up is to offer them a freebie in return. This is called a lead magnet and you can read more about that in the previous post.
Here are a few additional ways to collect names for your email list.
Craft Fairs and Appearances
When you create a mailing list, you agree to only send email to people who have specifically opted-in, otherwise you're a spammer and that will get you kicked off your mailing list host.
This doesn't mean people have to add their names online themselves. You can add names in bulk as long as you have permission. When you're out in public at a craft fair, exhibition or convention, encourage people to sign up for your mailing list with a sign-up sheet or individual sign-up cards. You can combine this with a giveaway for an added push, just remember that when you incentivize you're more likely to get people who just want the prize.
Make it clear that by writing down their email address the person is giving you permission to add them to your list.
If you teach a class or speak at an event, you should always collect the names of the participants and add them to your list. In a case like this, you can make joining the list a given and require people to "opt-out" if they don't want to be included.
Always include a link to your site and a link to your mailing list signup page on all of your business emails. Answering a customer enquiry, responding to bloggers, emailing suppliers - the more you put the link out there, the more addresses you'll collect.
Social Media Call to Action
You never know how people are going to find you in the first place so be sure to regularly promote your mailing list on all of your social channels. If you have a lead magnet create an eye-catching graphic for Pinterest and Instagram. Tweet about it and include it in the description box of all of your YouTube videos.
The most important thing to remember about growing your email list is that you have to ask people to sign up. Don't assume they'll figure it out. Ask them to join, sign-up, opt-in, become a part of, whatever - just ask then give them a can't miss, easy way to do it.
Before you shout, no, no, no - just listen. I know people who have used Facebook Ads to gather a lot of names in a short period of time. But this technique is not for everyone. You can run a Facebook Ad for $20. Properly targeted, that could be enough to get you a new customer or two. For a big return, you'll have to invest more and that's where it gets tricky.
Running ads is like playing poker. Skill and knowledge help, but you're still at the mercy of how the cards fall. Never spend more on an ad than you're comfortable losing if nothing comes of it. That's why I like FB ads, because you can test the water with just a few dollars. (Unlike other forms of advertising where you need 100's to get started). No matter how much money you have to spend, Facebook ads will only work IF you truly understand your target audience. Directing ads at the wrong audience is a waste.
Facebook Ads are tricky beasts, so do your homework before handing over your credit card.
If you still haven't set up a mailing list, get going right now. The benefits are huge and there are plenty of free tools out there that make it easy..
The hardest part of creating an email list is getting out of your own head. From 2 signups to 200 - this is how you grow an email list and a business.