Building an email list is important – especially for small businesses and solopreneurs. I think most people would agree on this. There are some who believe that building social media fanbases are more important – and there is an argument to be had, but the true difference lies in control. When you build an email list, you are in absolute control of that list. You control where you put the list, who gets it, and you have direct access to your client.

If your social media platforms change their algorithms and your audience no longer sees all your posts, well there’s not much you can do about it. You shouldn’t solely rely on social media to get your brand out there because you never know what may change. That’s why today we are going to help your build an email list.

Remaining in Control of Your Email List:

Like we mentioned, you are in complete control of your email list. If you are using an email service provider like MailChimp and you no longer like what they have to offer, you can take your whole list elsewhere. It’s your data and you choose what you want to do with it. You can’t convert your Instagram following to a Pinterest following – no matter how cool that would be. You may be able to steer them in that direction, but there’s no guarantee that they make the jump with you.

Now, don’t get me wrong, having a strong social presence will absolutely help your business. It’s the reason why we offer our social media marketing services. And we aren’t just picking on social media either. This problem also occurs when you rely too heavily on search engines to grow your customer base. At any given moment, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and any other search engine can change their algorithms. One day you are killing it on the search engine result pages and the next day you are no longer ranking on the first page. We’ve seen it happen several times. And guess what? Chances are it is going to happen several times again.

Say it with me, “when you build an email list you are in control.” Did you say it? No? Okay, moving on. When you rely on these other platforms for revenue, you begin to realize pretty quickly that being in control is key. When you build an email list you are in control of what people see, when that message is provided, and who that message reaches. As long as you stay within the spam laws, your email list will flourish if properly optimized.

Turning Readers into Subscribers:

Recently, I wrote a blog post on getting the most from Facebook Advertising and in that article I told you that the best way to engage your audience is by simply asking them. If it is on your blog post, ask them for a comment: share a tip they find useful, do they agree or disagree with you, etc. Well the same goes for email marketing. To build an email list you first need to ask people to sign up.

There are two things that will help build an email list:

  1. Ask for your readers to subscribe
  2. Don’t have a cluttered web design.

Engaging Your Readers:

When you ask for readers to become subscribers a couple of things must happen. The first is that they have to already like your content. This is why content is still king and will always remain king. Without great website copy, you won’t have a reader base to begin with. The second is that you have to offer them unique content when they sign up for your newsletter. Don’t just slap together bits and pieces of recycled content from your blog. If they are actively reading your blog than they already have experience with this content. Offer tips and suggestions in your emails that they can’t get anywhere else.

Optimal Layout to Build an Email List:

You can have great content, but if your reader doesn’t know where to opt-in on your website than you’ll never build an email list. We have our opt-in in two locations. When you are reading our blog it is in the primary sidebar and everywhere else it appears in our footer.

However, it’s not just enough to have it in multiple locations. You have to have it in the right locations and it has to be compelling. To build an email list you should keep your opt-in front and center. This means when you have a side bar, don’t include a million social buttons or links. These will only distract the reader and draw attention away from your subscribe button. If you have a notifications bar, this is a great way to build an email list. It is at the top of your page and is one of the first things a reader will see.

At the end of the day if you want someone to sign up for your list you have to make it so apparent that there’s no way they will miss it.

It’s worth stating again, make sure you explicitly ask your audience to sign up for your content and remind them that they are getting prime content. The price of entry is great information and if your audience feels like they are going to receive it in their mailbox than they will sign up.

Be Aggressive:

For a client of ours, in order to prove a point, we ran a poll on his social media pages and his website. The question was simple: “are you aware of our email list.” The polls came back exactly how we predicted. Almost three-fourths of his audience didn’t know he had an opt-in on his page. Do you know why? Because this business owner buried it under so much content that it was hard for anyone to find it. We aren’t blaming him, because many people share his logic: “if someone wants to sign up for my newsletter they will find it.” But you can’t rely on the consumer finding it. In order to build an email list you have to be aggressive. On our website there is at least two points of contact on any given page. On the homepage there’s four. This is essential to building an email list.

Moreover, people talk about pop-ups as if it is a dirty word. They can be annoying at times, especially when it keeps occurring on the same website, but there’s a reason that businesses use them. They work. if you haven’t used one before as an opt-in maybe you should try it. Keep a record of how many subscribers you obtained during a 30-day window without the pop-up. Then keep track of how many people you obtained during a different 30-day window using a pop-up. If it is working for you, obviously you should keep it going.

Building an Email List For Your Blog:

We write so others will read. #ego Click To Tweet

There are a lot of people who don’t sell anything on their website. Perhaps they manage a blog on a variety of topics, but they don’t sell services or items. Often, someone will ask: what is the point of an email list if I am not trying to convert readers into buyers. The first time someone asked me this I was honestly stumped. I didn’t have an answer… yet. The truth of the matter is if you are writing a blog that generally means you want people to read what you have to say. It is natural for you to want your work to draw attention.

Nearly every book that I ever read on perfecting your writing craft or a memoir of an author – and I’ve read a boat load during my graduate studies – there’s always mention of why they started writing. It generally boils down to they wanted to write compelling work that people would enjoy reading. Take out everything else from the publishing industry and that is what it comes down to. We write so others will read. Maybe it is ego, but the goal of every author is to have their content read by an audience. It’s my goal for this exact post.

So what does this have to do with having an email list for your blog? Everything. The more people that subscribe to your email list the more eyes you have on your writing. The more eyes you have the more time you will want to spend on your writing and doing something you love.

Build an Email List to Identify Your Ideal Client:

One of our blog posts is titled: “Tips for Identifying Your Best Customers.” In it, we spoke at length about ideal customers, how to find them, and how to keep them. One of the best ways to identify an ideal customer or client is by, you guessed it, building an email list.

Think about it from this perspective. In order for someone to subscribe to your email list – at the minimum they have to take three actions:

  1. Arrive on your website
  2. Find your email list opt-in
  3. Enter their information and hit subscribe

These are three actions where they could have went somewheres else. They didn’t have to fill out their information, but they believed in your content so much that they want more of it. Immediately you have to recognize this individual as a potential client and perhaps even an ideal client.

Last Words:

Now that you know how to optimize your site for the best email list building results, go out there and try it. Let us know in the comments below how your results are shaping up. If you think all of this is nonsense and would instead like to hire someone to build an email list for you, let us know on this page.

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