You might have heard the phrase “the money is in the list“?
In the first post in this series I showed you seventeen reasons you should use small business email marketing.
But how do you get started, how do you start building an email marketing list?
Firstly you need to create an account with an email marketing provider, I suggest MailChimp as their service is simple and free for up to two thousand subscribers.
The following two videos will show you how to get started and then below the videos we’ll talk about how you build your email marketing list.
How To Create Your Small Business Email Marketing List With MailChimp
How To Add A MailChimp Sign Up Form To Your Website
How To Build Your Small Business Email Marketing List
There are five steps to building your email list, follow these and you’ll have your first subscribers in no time.
Step 1: Make Your List Compelling
I can’t tell you how many websites I’ve seen where the signup form says “get my free updates” or “get my free newsletter“.
The reality is that unless you’re a celebrity and people just want to hear “anything” from you, then you need to make signing up to your list compelling.
Don’t tell me about the process, tell me what’s in it for me, show me the benefit of signing up.
You’re not only asking for my email, you’re asking for my time. You want me to spend the time opening your emails and digesting your content and have you seen how busy my email inbox is already? It’s going to take a lot more than “get my free updates” for me to put my email address in that box.
If you’re an accountant, you could tell me that you’re going to save me time by giving me tax updates, budget information and cash flow tips in small manageable pieces so that I don’t have to spend time looking for them, or save me money by avoiding fines by sending me reminders when I need to submit tax returns. If you’re a caterer you could take away the time I spend thinking about what to eat tonight with simple, quick recipes.
You get the picture?
Show me the benefit, not the process.
Step 2: Make Your Form Obvious
Regardless how compelling your sign up is, I’m not going to hunt for your form.
Put it in places that are obvious so it’s easy for me to sign up. Here are some of the places that you should consider:
- Homepage: either obvious like mine, or at least in the side bar.
- About page: when people learn more about you offer the sign up, like mine.
- Blog Post: at the bottom of each post and/or in the side bar. I use both in this post.
- Sidebar: in the sidebar of any of your other pages of products, services or information.
- Dedicated Page: create a dedicated page to explain the benefits of your sign up in more detail like mine.
Step 3: Make Your Form Easy
The less information you request, the more likely you are to get people signing up.
You only need the email address, when the person becomes a customer you can get the rest.
Some people also ask for the full name or first name so they can personalise the email and write “Hi Rob” or “Dear Mr Peters” but we all know the emails are going to multiple people, we’re not kidding anyone so ask for less, you’ll get more people signing up.
Less information means less resistance.
Step 4: Make Your Sign Up Attractive – Use A Giveaway
As well as making your list compelling you can increase sign ups by offering something for free.
Create a piece of information that will be of immediate benefit to your potential customers and offer it free for anyone who signs up to your email marketing list. You’ll notice that through this website I show the image of my free eBook “How To Grow Your Business In Any Economy” on my sign up form.
Here are some examples:
- Free short call with you via telephone or Skype (great for coaches, consultants and trainers)
- Free report, eBook or whitepaper that contains interesting, relevant information (great for accountants, solicitors and architects)
- Free video or audio that demonstrates an activity (great for software providers, caterers and fitness trainers)
Just ensure that you free giveaway is a preview to your full service.
If you offer too much the customer won’t need you, offer too little and they’ll wonder if you really know you’re stuff.
Step 5: Make Your Sign Up Visible – Promote It
Now you’re ready to start building your list. Now it’s time to promote your sign up.
Here is a list of places that you could promote the benefit of your email marketing list and link to a page with your form:
- Email Signature: add it to the bottom of every email you send
- Forum Signature: promote it every time you post in a group or forum
- Social Media Profile: add it to your Facebook page and link to it from Twitter, LinkedIn, etc
- Offline Advertising: include your free giveaway, benefit, and where to get it, in all of your offline advertising, flyers, newspapers, radio, back of your business card, etc
- Current Customers: email your current customers and give them the link, you can’t just add them to your list as I explained in the first small business email marketing post in this series.
- Customer Referrals: ask your customers to direct their friends, family and colleagues to your website to get your free giveaway and join your list
In order to build your email marketing list you need a compelling benefit, an easy, clear sign up form and your free giveaway.
Once you have these ready you can get people signing up to your list and grow your business with small business email marketing.
Has this information helped you? Are you ready to benefit from email marketing? Do you have questions?
Please let me know by leaving a comment.