The Best Way to Grow Your Email List
Grow Your Email List With an Offer
Most email lists are built off of a collection of former customers you want to stay in contact with in hopes of driving repeat business. This makes email marketing a great way to speak directly to people who are the most interested in you and your business.
While this is a great foundation to work from, growing your email list is necessary to expand your email marketing to new prospects and new customers. Just one issue: how are you supposed to successfully grow your email list the right way?
I stress the right way because there is, my friends, very much a wrong way to grow your email list… like purchasing email addresses. Not only is the quality of these kinds of contacts questionable, it is also extremely likely that these folks (who almost certainly have no idea who you are or even interested in what you have to say) will simply flag you for spam, threaten your entire email list, and move on with their day.
You can always just ask people to sign up for your email list, but people typically aren’t that generous to just do it on a whim. If you want to grow your email list through this way you have to answer a selfish yet simple question a prospective contact wants to know: “what’s in it for me?” So give them an answer.
The best way to organically grow your email list with the most qualified group of prospects possible is by offering a free resource or download in exchange for their email.
Why free downloads work
This will probably come as little surprise to you, but people love free stuff. If someone feels like they are getting something of value with no monetary charge attached to it, they are willing to put up with a minor inconvenience like filling out a form and giving away their email address. You get their email to add to your mailing list and they get something cool in return. Win-win.
You see this a lot in the physical world as well from restaurants offering a chance for a free lunch for you and your office for the low-low price of putting your business card in a fishbowl or a tradeshow booth giving away a free tote bag or hat for giving them your contact information. It works in the both real world and the digital world.
You know it works, so if your goal is to grow your email list and reach a new group of prospects it is time to create an offer of your own. So, where should you start?
What makes a great free download?
Great free downloads can come in many forms. They can be how-to guides, a comprehensive deep dive into a certain subject, a calculator, a workbook like a self-audit, or even a kit containing two or three different pieces of content.
Your downloads may even be half-finished already. Blog posts can be a great start to the content in your download, and if you find you have several blog posts on the same topic bundling that content together is a great way to create a comprehensive guide on one subject. You might even have old physical collateral that can be converted into digital copy that would make for a good download.
For example, we have helped our friends at Randall Beans grow their email list by over 830% by compiling their library of bean recipes into free and downloadable cookbooks like this. We have also worked with Tish Flooring, a local flooring company, to create comprehensive guides on different styles of flooring that people in the market for new floors can use as an informational resource. For local IT company Brightworks, it was a calculator people could use to calculate exactly how much they were spending on their current IT arrangement and how it compares to Brightworks. Downloads can be a great resource for email growth regardless of the industry.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you plan your own.
Make it relevant
The most important thing when creating a download is making sure it is a relevant resource or a relevant topic for the type of person you want to add to your email list. People will be pretty willing to give up their information for something free, but only if they feel like they really need to have it.
Think about the wants, needs, and questions someone who might be interested in doing business with you might have. If you can successfully anticipate those needs and questions and successfully address them in your resource you will increase your chances of getting people to fork over their information in exchange for it.
Make it look nice
Even if the thing they are getting is free, people still expect it to look nice. A guide that looks like it was hastily slapped together may cause the person who downloaded it to question the value and validity. Whether you are creating a workbook in a PDF or a calculator in an Excel spreadsheet, take the time and effort to put a little design work into it to make it impress.
But don’t just stop with thoughtful design of the resource itself. To get people to sign up for it, you’ll need to get it in front of them either from a page on your website or a post or ad on social media. Creating a set of interesting and exciting social media graphics to help it stand out among the weeds that is the typical social media timeline can compel them to click. Once they get there, make sure you have built a strong landing page that inspires action so they don’t leave your site without it.
If you want to grow your email list, it is pretty simple: you just have to make them an offer they can’t refuse.
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