Having an email marketing list with thousands of people on it will do you no good if those people are not interested in buying your services or products.

Let me tell you a story.

We had a client come to us a few months ago who wanted help with his email marketing. He said that he sent out promotions regularly, and desperately tried to engage his subscribers with no success. He didn’t know what he was doing wrong.

We took a look at his email campaign, and let me tell you, we were impressed. It looked great!

The next step we took was analyzing the people on his list. That’s where we found the problem.

Even though this client had 500 people on his email list, most of them were not viable prospects. In other words, they were not potential customers.

Some of the people were family members, and then family members’ friends who had signed up to show support for his business. There were also a lot of people out of the client’s area. Since the client had a local sports equipment business, most of his subscribers wouldn’t be interested in his emails since he doesn’t offer shipping on his products.

Once we knew that, we decided to set up a campaign that would lead to more local email subscribers – ones that would be interested in his products.

How to Build Effective Email Marketing List

We helped this client create a more effective email marketing list. Here are some steps you can take to do the same for yours.

1. Start with Your Current Subscribers

The easiest place to start is with the people you already have on your list. Even though they may not be interested in purchasing your services and products, they were interested enough in your business to sign up and show some type of support. You can use your list of current subscribers to generate more subscribers who are more interested in actually purchasing your products or services.

Encourage Forwards and Shares

Start with the subscribers you have on your list to build off them. Even though many of them may not be interested in your services or products, there’s a chance that many of them know people who would be interested.

Create an email marketing campaign that encourages current subscribers to share your email with the people they know. Give them options, such as telling them it’s easy to forward the email to their email list, share it on social media, or simply print it out.

Just be sure to tailor the campaign to target your audience. If you’re a local business, accentuate that it’s important the email is shared with people in your area.

Promote a Contest

People love to enter contests to win prizes. Create a campaign that incentivizes people to share your emails by offering them the chance to win something. Here are some ideas:

  • The person who shares the email the most times will receive a free product.
  • Paying customers receive 20% off their product or service if they mention the name of a subscriber.
  • The subscriber who sends the customer who spends the most in one month will receive a free product.
  • Offer each subscriber a code to share with friends. When each friend uses it, both the friend and current subsriber get a discount on their next purchase.

The key is to be creative with it. Think of a way to engage your current subscribers and then see how many opt-ins you get from it.

2. Use Your Website

If your website is performing well, it’s likely hundreds or thousands of people are visiting it each month. Unless you’re getting hundreds of opt-ins a month, you’re missing out on great opportunities to convert people. Below are some tips for how you can get more people to opt-in to your email list.

Provide an Incentive

While you may generate a few sign-ups by simply asking people to join your email list, you’ll generate significantly more subscribers by offering them something with a more tangible benefit. Some of the incentives you can provide to people that visit your site are:

  • A free guide on how to use your products or the benefits of your services.
  • A percentage off their next purchase with you.

You know your audience best, so think about what they are really looking for when they come to your site, and what you can provide them that they would be willing trade for your email address.

Increase Visibility

Most people don’t sign up for an email list because they simply don’t see the option on the site. Be sure that people won’t miss it. You can do that by prominently displaying your sign-up form via a banner, in a sidebar, or even use a popup banner when someone is about to exit the site.

Make It Easy

Some people won’t want to enter a lot of personal information, such as their name, address, phone number, and email address into your website forms. You can increase the chances someone will opt-in by just asking for an email address.

People should be able to click on the text bar, put their email address in, and then click “sign up” or whatever call to action you have for it.

While the confirmation of an opt-in is usually good to weed out spammers, if you really want to make it easy, bypass that confirmation since many people won’t go through with it (even if they actually do want to receive your emails.)

3. Turn to Social Media

Social media is a gold mine when it comes to finding your target audience. Be sure to utilize these tips to build your mailing list in this way.

Create Call-to-Action (CTA) Posts to Join Your Email List

Invite people to join your email list in a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. post. Create a nice image, and then include the link to the sign up in the text portion of the post.

Boost the CTA Post

Boost the post to target your audience. If you’re a local business owner, target the post to only show to people in your town, city, or state. You can also target for interests, behaviors, and many other characteristics to ensure that the people who are most interested in your offerings will see it.

Create an Ad

Ads work similarly to boosted posts. Create an attractive ad, and target your audience with it. This will show up in people’s feeds who match your criterion. You can track how well your ad performs and how many conversions you get from it, which will then help you better target future ads.

Ask People to Share the CTA Post

Sometimes, people will share posts if you ask them to, so don’t be afraid to ask. This is especially true if you know many of your followers are interested in what you offer. People tend to follow others who have the same interests.

Hold a Contest

Similarly, to the contest you held in email, you can do it on social media. The person who shares your CTA post the most times, or the person who refers the most number of people to the email list wins a special prize.


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