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How to Build Your Email List


As a marketer, you probably know that email is one of the most effective communication channels available to you today.

However, the success of your email marketing efforts largely depends on the size and quality of your email list.

So how do you build a great list that gets results for your business?

In this FREE webinar, you’ll learn:
  • Why you should focus on building your email list if you want to drive results for your business
  • The 2-part formula all marketers can use to grow a massive email list
  • Tools you can use to start capturing subscribers right away

Hey everyone, and welcome to today’s webinar presented by Campaign Monitor. My name is Aaron, and I work on the marketing team here at Campaign Monitor, and today I wanna share with you guys The 2-Part Formula for Building a High Quality Email List. Now, over the years we have used this formula in various ways, but overall, it’s been the key to building our email list to millions of users, which is where it is today. So in this webinar we’re gonna talk about a few things. We’ll start by discussing why it’s important to build your email list, and I’ll present a few statistics and different things that show you why you should be putting a higher priority on email than social media, and some other channels as well that you may be dedicating your time to now, and then we’ll dive into the formula. And I’ll break down the two different parts of it and I’ll give you lots of actual examples about how it can be applied in different types of organizations so that you can really find the right mix for yourselves.

And finally, I’ll share with you guys some of the different tools you can use to start capturing subscribers and really getting into building your email list. So jumping in first, let’s dive in and talk about why you should focus on building your email list. So we wrote about this statistic on the blog a few months ago, that you’re actually 45 times more likely to get your message seen using email than Facebook. So a study by the advertising agency, Ogilvy, showed that when you post an update to your Facebook page, less than 2% of your followers will actually see that post in their newsfeed. And this is because Facebook has begun purposely limiting the reach of your organic posts. And the reason they’re doing this is it’s really an attempt to drive marketers like you towards their paid advertising options.

However, on the other hand, when you’re sending email campaigns using a tool like Campaign Monitor, it’s likely that more than 95% of your recipients will receive the email in their inbox, which ultimately means that your message is 45 times more likely to be seen when you send it via email than Facebook. Further to this, you’re actually six times more likely to get a click through from an email campaign than from a tweet. So the average click-through rate on a tweet these days is about 0.5%. In fact, Mashable, the popular tech news site that has over, like, 7 million followers on Twitter they’ve stated that the average click-through rate on tweets is just 0.1%. But if you compare this to email, however, where the average click-through rate on a campaign is over 3%, you can see that you’re actually six times more likely to get someone to click through to your website using email than using Twitter.

So now that you understand how important building an email list is when it comes to driving sales and revenue, the question kind of becomes, how do you do it? And it turns out that you’re not actually alone in asking that. So according to a recent survey we did with a whole bunch of marketers, the lack of an effective list building strategy is actually the number one barrier that marketers face when it comes to building their email lists.

Fortunately, for you guys, though, there’s a really simple formula that you can adopt as part of your list building strategy, and that formula is right here on the screen. It’s a valuable incentive, plus simple subscribe opportunities equals a massive email list. And yeah, it is a little bit of a simplification, but it’s kind of also just logical. Like, regardless of how good your incentive is, you’ll never be able to build a massive email list if you make it impossible to find the subscribe forms. And kind of on the flip side to that, even if you make it super easy for people to subscribe, you’ll have a very hard time building an email list if you don’t offer a really invaluable incentive for them to do so. So while it’s a simplification, and it’s also a bit logic, it also still leaves some questions open. And that’s kind of like, what is a valuable incentive and what makes a simple subscribe opportunity? So I think now would be a great time to dive in and answer those two questions, and specifically using some examples from Campaign Monitor customers as well. And we’ll start with the valuable incentive part of the equation.

So BuzzFeed, I’m sure everybody knows who BuzzFeed are, the very popular viral news site, they use the articles they publish on the site as the incentive to get people to join their list. So visitors come along to the site, and they can subscribe to get stories of cute animals, in this case, delivered to their inbox every Friday in case of the animals newsletter. And the BuzzFeed team will literally sit down and curate the best animal stories from the site, like, over the course of that week, and they’ll put them in a newsletter and they’ll send it out. And so using articles as an incentive has really worked for BuzzFeed. And you’ll see an article on our blog that says that by leveraging their library of articles, they’ve been able to add over 1 million subscribers to their email list every single year. So ConversionLab, they do it a little bit differently. Although they’re still offering content here in the form of, you know, the best tips to boost conversion rates, instead of sending the same articles that are kind of available to anyone who comes to their site, which is largely what BuzzFeed does, ConversionLab kind of offers a series of exclusive posts, and these posts can only be accessed by joining their email list. And this element of exclusivity really adds, like, this extra incentive for people to subscribe and it really helps them boost their email list in the same way.

So La Mer takes a slightly different approach. Instead of offering content, which is what BuzzFeed and ConversionLab sort of focus on, this online cosmetics store offers a first purchase discount when someone arrives at their online store. So this is a really effective technique because, not only people have the potential to save money, and not only is that a great incentive to subscribe to an email list, but the actual discount itself is a great motivator to make people purchase. So if you were to take this approach in your own online store, not only you’re giving great incentive for people to subscribe to your email list, but you’ll actually find that you’ll be able to increase the amount of sales that people make on first-time visits as well. And finally, exclusives in new products and promotions is another great incentive to offer. So, if you’ve got a reasonable level of brand love that you’ve built up through your marketing over the years, then offering these kind of insider access kind of things is really great incentive to get people to subscribe to your list. And hair company, Oribe, is a great example of this here. They’ve got thousands of loyal followers across the world and they use, you know, the idea of being the first to know about their new products as an incentive to get people to subscribe.

So now that we’ve talked about incentives, and hopefully given you a few ideas on how you can incentivize people to join your own email list, let’s talk about setting up simple subscribe opportunities. So, generally speaking at a high level, there are three main areas in which you can offer some simple subscribe opportunities: your website, any social networks that you’re active on, and in person. The best place to offer these really depends on, I guess, the incentive you’re offering but mainly like where you interact with your customers and your prospects. So, for instance, if you’re an e-commerce store, and your incentive that you’re offering is a first order discount, then, obviously, you’re gonna want to offer that through your website. That just makes total sense. But if you’re a retail store and you’re mainly interacting with people, like sort of in-person when they walk in the front door, then you’re gonna wanna focus on creating, like, in person subscribe opportunities because that’s where you’re gonna get the most value. So all this is pretty high level.

So let’s dive into sort of, I guess, each of these areas, the website, the social networks, and the in-person and talk about, you know, exactly where you can put them on your website, exactly where you can put them in your social networks to really get, attract the most subscribers. So the checkout process on your e-commerce site is a really great place to be trying to capture subscribers. Given that these people are already entering their name and their email address as part of the checkout process anyway, including a small tick box, like Nau has done here in the screenshot, really makes it super simple for people to subscribe.
Another good area is the blog if you run one on your own site. Yeah, there’s a clear correlation here between, you know, the offer and the incentive in the content and it’s likely that these people will become, and if they do subscribe, it’s likely that this people will become some of your most valuable readers. In fact, speaking from our own experience, when we publish a new post on our own Campaign Monitor blog, the email that goes out to our couple of thousand blog subscribers is the number one driver of traffic to that post. And beyond that, it also kick-starts a whole bunch of social sharing that really drives, you know, further traffic through the social networks as well. And I think the way FreshBooks does it here is a really great approach. As you can see in this screenshot to the right, they’ve got this great really prominent pop-up and they’re offering a really great relevant content incentive to subscribe.

If you’ve got like a contact form or request of quote form, or some sort of like Contact Us form on your website then this is also an awesome spot to be adding in, like, a little tick box, and trying to capture subscribers. Because if you think about it, these people are entering the details into the form already in order to contact you, and because they’re contacting you, they’ve clearly got like a strong interest in your company or the products or services that you offer. So it just makes sense to give them a really easy opportunity to subscribe to your email list. And in the example here, I think ConversionLab does a really great job of this. So whenever someone clicks Contact Us, this little blue bar on the right-hand side pops up and people can fill out their details, and also it’s just super easy to tick that little box and subscribe to their newsletter.

So social networks are a really interesting other area to try to capture email subscribers. So Facebook, for instance. If you’ve got a really decent amount of people who like your page, then this is a great spot to be trying to capture people as email subscribers. They’re clearly interested in your company, but as I mentioned earlier, Facebook is starting to intentionally limit how much you can reach them. So converting them into email subscribers really allows you to communicate with these people when you want and on your terms.
And so as you can see on the right here, South by Southwest is an example of a company that’s doing great job with this. They’ve got a nice little form that’s really easily accessible within their Facebook page and allows you to sign up for their email list directly. Similarly, like, if you’ve got a really big following on Twitter, then there’s a huge opportunity to try to convert those people into email subscribers as well. And Twitter actually has this relatively unknown feature that they call lead generation cards. And so basically what you do is you create these cards within the Twitter interface and then you can kind of tweet them out to all your followers. And then when one of your followers sees the tweet in their feed, they can simply click the “Join The Email List” button, and they’ll actually be automatically added to your email list using the name or using the email address that they have associated with their Twitter account.

So as you can see in the screenshot on the right here, Moz is doing a great job of this. They’ve tweeted out this card about joining their newsletter and it’s super easy for me to join the list. All I have to do is click the blue button and it will use the email address associated with my account there. Super easy for the end user and therefore a great way to build your email list. But perhaps you’re running like a retail store or some sort of brick and mortar presence, and you’re not really conversing, or at least your website and your social presence really isn’t the main place that you’re conversing with potential customers, and maybe it’s your retail store. So this, obviously, then becomes an awesome place to capture email subscribers. And Paradise Pen Co. are a great example of this being done right. By simply getting their employees to ask customers at the point of sale, they were able to, like, grow their email list from 10 people originally to over 90,000 people today. And it was simply by getting their employees who are working behind the counter to ask people if they wanted to join their email list as they were making the sale.

If you wanna take a slightly different approach, then Deus Ex Machina, they’ve got a really interesting approach as well. So when they’re at trade shows, or when they’re at, like, consumer shows that kind of stuff, they’ve got an iPad always wandering around with them, always on the bench, always with their various salespeople, and they’re able to capture subscribers by letting people just input the details into the form.

Okay. So we’ve talked a little bit about incentives and we’ve talked about a few different ways that you can give people really simple subscribe opportunities, and I really hope you’ve gotten a whole bunch of different ideas from that that you can kind of apply to your own business. So let’s now talk about execution, and more specifically, let’s talk about some tools that you can use to capture the subscribers and start building your email list. Now, in Chapter Three here, I’m gonna share with you what I’d say is two different categories of tools. The first is tools that are available free to all Campaign Monitor customers inside the app, and the second category is a series of third-party tools that, while they offer a bit more advanced functionality, they also have to come with a bit of an extra cost. So you need to weigh up how important this is to you and what your goals are here.

But the first tool I wanted to share with you is the subscribe button. Now, this tool is available for free within the Campaign Monitor app and is therefore available to any Campaign Monitor user or customer, and it’s super easy to add to your website. You basically go into the app, you select the color, and customize the button a little bit, and it will give you a small piece of code that you just copy and paste anywhere on your site, and the button will appear there for your users to use. And so when someone comes along to your website, they can click on the button, a small little pop up will appear and it allows them to enter their email address, and then they’ll be automatically added to whatever list you choose within Campaign Monitor. So it’s just a really nice kind of unobtrusive way to capture subscribers that really creates a good experience for them.

The second tool is what we call the subscribe page, and this is just a really simple, as you can see, pretty bare bones but quite customizable page that can be set up from within any Campaign Monitor account, and it’s, of course, free to any Campaign Monitor user. And the idea with this is that it’s a great place to send people when you wanna get them to subscribe. So if you’re doing an ad campaign and doing some banners and you need to get people to subscribe, and you need to send them here, or maybe you’ve included a little link in your Gmail or Outlook signature, and you need to send people somewhere, the idea is that you use all these different ways of reaching people and then you send them back to this page, which is super simple, super bare bones where they can subscribe and join your email list. And obviously, anyone that fills out this form will be added to whatever list you choose within the Campaign Monitor interface.

And the third Campaign Monitor tool I wanna share with you guys is the iPad application. So this is awesome if you’re trying to capture email addresses at any sort of physical location like, whether it’s your retail store, whether it’s a trade show, whatever it might be. So if you’re a Campaign Monitor customer, you can download this app actually for free from the app store and you can customize it to look however you want, and then you can even choose what list you want subscribers to go into. And then once you’ve got it all set up and you’re out and about in your store or, you know, at trade shows, or wherever you may be, you can just hand it to people or you can take the details down yourself, and it’ll instantly subscribe them to the list. And the benefit is that it saves you from having to try to write it down on a piece of paper and then, you know, type it all up later, and potentially misspell someone’s name or their email address. It makes it just a really fluid, seamless, beautifully branded process.

So the last couple of tools that I’ve talked to you about, the subscribe page, the button, and the iPad app, they’re all examples of tools that are available within Campaign Monitor and they’re free to use for anybody with a Campaign Monitor account.

SumoMe, however, it’s a third-party tool that while it’s quite, good some good functionality, you will need to pay a little bit for it on a monthly basis. So what SumoMe is really good for is creating like pop-ups, and slide-in bars, and different kind of subscribe forms on your website. It’s super easy to configure and to set up, and if you’re a Campaign Monitor customer then it actually connects directly to your Campaign Monitor account, and any emails that you capture through this, through the pop-up or the slide-in, go into whatever at least you’ve chosen. And then OptinMonster, kind of like SumoMe is a third party tool that will actually cost you a few extra dollars if you decide to use it, but I think it’s totally worth it because it’s really an advanced version of any of these tools and its got some really powerful features like exit-intent, which kind of allows you to show a pop up when someone goes to leave your website. It’s got page targeting, which sort of allows you to say, “I wanna show this pop up on this page but not on this other one,” or maybe you wanna show pop up A on your blog but pop up B on the main part of your website. So, quite advanced page targeting features.

And then, obviously, A/B testing is great so that you can sort of show different offers and see which one works best and really optimize the incentives that you use to build your email list. And the thing I like the most about OptinMonster is that while it’s really powerful, it’s actually quite easy to use. And again, it’s totally integrated with your own Campaign Monitor account so that whenever someone does come along and subscribe in an OptinMonster pop-up, or a slide-in, or whatever it might be, that person gets automatically added to your list in your own Campaign Monitor account.

Okay. So there you have it. I mean, that’s the 2-part formula that we’ve been using for many years to build our own email list and it’s gotten us to, you know, millions and millions of subscribers which is where we’re at today.

So I hope you guys have gotten a few ideas from this webinar and there’s some stuff there that you can take back and apply to your own business. But if you do have any questions and want some more ideas or wanna chat, feel free to reach out to us on Twitter. Our Twitter handle is just @CampaignMonitor, and we’ll be happy to help you guys. Thanks so much for joining us, and hope you learned a lot, and I hope you have a great day.

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