In my last article, I presented key reasons that email marketing is important for your business.

If you’re just getting started, then you’ve probably realized there is one glaring problem.

You don’t have an email list.

Without a list, you probably agree that email marketing is important but you have no idea how to get started. Not to worry, in this article I’m going to tell you about 4 ways to build your email list and how to make sure your list keeps growing without you having to constantly do hands-on work.

In order to get started, it’s important to make sure you have an email service provider such as ConstantContact, iContact, Aweber, MailChimp, Infusionsoft or some other program. If you’re still on the hunt for the right fit, check out our blog post that provides details on all of these providers.

Once you have your email service provider account, use the 4 ideas below to start building your list.


1. Manually Import Individual Contacts

This method is very easy to do, but can be extremely time consuming because you have to enter each contact’s information one by one. If you’re planning to enter more than 10 or 20 contacts at a time, it’s probably best to skip right to #2.

But, if you’re just starting out, you may only have a handful of contacts to enter, which makes this an easy solution.

Manually entering in contact information also makes sense if you already have your list started, but meet some more prospects that you’d like to add to your list. For example, if you recently attended a networking event or got a business card from someone at a conference, you’ll want to enter the information for these prospects so you can start using email marketing to follow up with them.

The process for doing a manual import is simple.

First, log into your email program and find the button that says something like “add contact”. Then, follow the steps to add the contact information. If you have separate lists (i.e. Prospect List, Past Client List, Email Newsletter List) the program may give you the option to choose which list to add your contact to. Once you choose the list and add the contact information, your contact will start receiving the email marketing materials you send out.


2. Manually Bulk Import Contacts

A bulk import is a good option if you have more than 10-20 contacts to add to your list.

Each email program has a slightly different file format, but as long as you are familiar with Excel, this will be easy to do.

To get started, you’ll need to create an Excel file that includes the information for each contact. To do this, each row should be a different contact and the columns include information like First Name, Last Name and Email Address.

Once your file is formatted correctly, then log into your program and find the button to “Import Contacts.”  From there follow the directions to upload your Excel file and add your contacts to whichever list you’d like.


3. Add a Lightbox to Your Website

One way to gain more newsletter subscriber is to directly ask people to join your list.

A great way to do this is by having your web developer set up a lightbox pop-up on your website. Lightboxes keep the visitor in the same window as your website and the pop-up prompts the visitor to enter their contact information.

Some visitors may find these types of pop-ups annoying. One way to combat this is to offer a one-time coupon or a discount with an email sign-up, as an extra incentive for a visitor to input their information.


4. Add Other Webforms

One of the best things about email marketing is the fact that once you’ve gone through the initial set up, you can put a lot of tasks on autopilot.

On way to do this is to edit the forms on your website to automatically add those contacts to your email list. A web developer can easily set this up. That way whenever a prospect completes a form, he’ll instantly be added to your “prospect list”.  If a customer completes a purchase, then she can be added to your “customer list” without you having to manually put in anything.

I already discussed the option of adding a lightbox pop-up asking people to join your newsletter.  But, by using the other forms on your website to generate contacts, you’ll be able to capture even more prospects.

Here are the different forms I recommend adding to your website (and linking to your email program) so that contacts are automatically added to your list:

  • Email Newsletter Signup – Most visitors will not use this form, but it’s worth having especially if your content is high quality and subscribers start referring/forwarding your information to friends.  This will allow prospects to easily sign up.
  • Contact Us Form / Quote Request / Demo Request / Schedule Appointment – All of these types of forms should add contacts to your “Prospect List” so that you can use email marketing to nurture, educate and eventually close the sale.
  • Lead Magnet – This is by far the most effective way to build your email list.  A lead magnet is a free report (or webinar or tool) that you offer in exchange for contact information and permission to follow up via email.  Check out our SEO checklist or AdWords checklist to see how this works.  Everyone who requests your lead magnet should automatically be added to your email program so you can again, nurture, educate and close the sale.

The exact code to use on your website depends on your email program.  Editing the forms listed above will be quick and easy for any web developer because it’s very basic HTML code.

All of these steps will help you to not only build your email list, but to make sure your contacts are people that are interested in your business and will be good prospects or repeat customers.


Want Help with Email Marketing?

In October, we’re hosting an in-depth email masterclass called Email Marketing Bootcamp.

When you attend, you’ll learn everything you need to know to generate more leads and sales with email marketing.

Plus you’ll get hands-on help with implementation, so you can increase your sales ASAP.

Click here to learn more