If you're looking to increase the reach of your email campaigns, you may have considered buying an email list. Don't. Email lists contain random addresses scraped from the Internet. Many addresses will be inactive or run as spam traps, while the people you do reach will be more likely to mark your unsolicited email as spam than read it with interest.
The only way to ensure that you have a targeted list is to build it yourself using email addresses provided by people who have chosen to do so. Having a huge list is not a goal in itself. A smaller list with a high click-through conversion rate is far more cost-effective than an enormous list with a low rate of conversions and clicks. Sending your newsletter to a few subscribers who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer is always better than trying to win over disinterested recipients.
Fortunately, building up a relevant and valuable email list is relatively straightforward. You don't have to spend a lot of money to achieve results. These techniques will allow you to build a highly-targeted list fairly quickly.
1. Place a subscription form on your site
A highly visible subscription form on each page of your website makes it as easy as possible for potential subscribers to sign up. This form should be easy to spot, but it should also be easy for visitors to use your site without engaging with the form if they don't want to. A popup lightbox can be highly effective, but make sure there is a clear close button so you are not forcing visitors to sign up.
2. Offer something in return
Give subscribers something in return for their email address, if you can. It doesn't have to be anything flashy. A chapter from an e-book, a song from an album, or 2 weeks of free access to your service will make your subscribers feel like they have received an immediate reward for signing up, and will also give them a clearer idea of the value your company can offer them.
3. Make it quick and easy
The more a potential subscriber has to do to sign up for your newsletter, the less likely they are to do it. Asking for extraneous information at this point will be counter-productive. Ask for as little information as possible: name, email, and possibly company name. If you need more information you can conduct a survey at a later date, once you have subscribers.
4. Run a competition
Give potential subscribers the chance to win something relevant to your brand or industry. Relatively inexpensive electronics, software, or premium access can all make great prizes. If you have a high proportion of foreign visitors to your site, bear shipping costs and customs duties in mind when selecting your prizes or disclose that the prize is only available to subscribers from a certain geographic location.
5. Promote your newsletter on social media
Use your social media presence to promote the benefits of signing up to your newsletter. Let your social media followers know they can sign up for your newsletter. Share snippets of information from your newsletter on your social media a few days after it's been sent out. Include a link to your sign up form on all relevant posts.
6. Use all points of contact you have with your customers
Mention your newsletter in your email signature, brochures, and other transactional and promotional materials. Be sure to stress the benefit of signing up to your mailing list, such as being informed of the latest trends in your industry or new product updates.
7. Write for industry magazines/blogs
Demonstrating your expertise through contributions to respected industry publications will help to boost your company's reputation. Most publications that accept articles for publication will allow you to place one or two links in your author bio. Mentioning your newsletter and linking to the sign-up page in your bio will allow people who found your article helpful to subscribe immediately.
8. Run a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign
Create a purposeful and hard to ignore landing page that encourages visitors to sign up when they click through on your PPC campaign. Once again, keep it simple and straightforward. Name, email address, company (if necessary) and a big bold button they can’t miss. As per above, ideally offer something in return for their email address.
If this seems like a lot of work, don't worry. You don't need to do it all at once. You may not even need to use every method in order to develop a subscriber list you're satisfied with. You can adjust your sign up campaign according to your needs and resources at any time.