When building an email list, your goal should go beyond simply getting subscribers. To start seeing ROI from these subscribers, you want to build a list of people who are likely to become paying customers. This should be the end goal and focus at hand, as all too often, marketers and brands are blinded by big subscriber numbers and not the actual ROI and results that come from them.
A few ideas on how to improve your email results include deleting old email addresses to increase your open rate, asking your subscribers to opt in twice with an activation link to ensure that they’re interested, and including shareable content that will amplify your reach. The key is making every email and every subscriber count.
These 12 entrepreneurs from YEC offer their best advice for building an email list that will actually yield a solid return on investment.
1. Create a Highly Targeted Opt-In Offer
Building an email list starts with people filling out an opt-in form on your landing page. Your goal isn’t to simply get lots of subscribers but to get people who are likely to become customers. To do this, make your initial offer highly relevant and something that makes them want more. If it’s a report or e-book, it should provide value but also pre-sell the product you’re marketing. – Shawn Porat, Scorely
2. Make Every Email Count
When your email list is small, it’s easy to neglect your subscribers’ individual needs. Treat each customer interaction as if it’s your only chance to impress them because it could very much be your last if your marketing emails underwhelm your audience. Therefore, you’ll want to carefully segment your list and challenge yourself to create unique and valuable email content worth consuming. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep
3. Delete Old Email Addresses
I used to think more email addresses were essential to create a great email list. Recently, we trimmed down our email lists tremendously by deleting the email addresses of those who don’t open up our emails for a predetermined amount of times. Our open rate has soared as a result and our spam rate has plummeted; we have a much better score with ESPs too! Main takeaway: More isn’t always better. – Elliot Bohm, Cardcash.com
4. Ensure Your Subscribers Are “Double Opt-Ins”
Whenever you start building an email list, make sure you list only “double opt-ins.” This means that after they put in their initial details (e.g. email address and name), they need to click an activation link sent to them by your autoresponder. This extra security step will avoid building up erroneous email addresses and is one way to really increase your list quality. – Alex Miller, Upgraded Points
5. Make Your Offer Clear
Avoid generic e-books and white papers. In order to build a list, you need subscribers that will potentially convert into sales. A list of 2,000 subscribers that all have buyer-intent is much more valuable than a list of 100,000 subscribers that are likely never going to buy from you. Calls-to-action and your “bribe” must be crystal clear and include something of value that will attract prospects. – Jonathan Long, Sexy Smile Kit
6. Create Shareable Bite-Sized Content
Create shareable bite-sized chunks of content that are relevant to your audience. With only eight seconds to capture a reader’s attention, choose topics that are informative and directly useful. Engaging information and easy to find sharing buttons will prompt your audience to share among their circles, which quickly amplifies your initial effort, building a better list and generating ROI faster. – Peggy Shell, Creative Alignments
7. Focus on a Specific Industry
We build our email list based upon the industry because that is more appealing to the reader. We first send out emails to a small group of around 100 subscribers and then measure the response. If we get a good response, we send emails out to the rest of the subscribers. If we don’t get, we adjust our content until we get one. – Piyush Jain, SIMpalm
8. Set Metrics to Measure
You won’t know your ROI if you don’t set some metrics about how many leads and sales you want to achieve from your email campaigns against the budget you have set and the resources you want to put toward it. Have a list of criteria to measure and the tools to measure so that you can shape how you approach finding people to put on your email list. – Zach Binder, Ranklab
9. Segment Your Lists
List segmentation. You want to know exactly where each of the emails in your mailing lists came from. You then want to create different email campaigns based on where each email came from and the type of customer that it belongs to. Sending generalized campaigns to your entire list is generally not the recommended way of doing email marketing anymore. You need to get specific. – Duran Inci, Optimum7
10. Get the Right Audience
The most important thing when building a list that converts is getting the right audience and targeting them. Know exactly who your ideal customer is and who is most likely to buy, then focus all your energy on building a list of those exact people. Often I see people build a list of “all entrepreneurs” when their target should be 2% of that – causing spam complaints and low ROE (return on email). – Jeremy Brandt, WeBuyHouses.com
11. Link “Giveaway” Ads to an Email Sign-Up
If a business pays for an ad, use that as an advantage to build an email list of the people who are interested in the company/products. Make sure that the landing page of the ad includes an email sign-up that is required before leaving the page. Use that email list to choose a “giveaway” winner and connect with customers moving forward. – Daisy Jing, Banish
12. Isolate Your Target Audience
Target audience matters. We had a giveaway with a company outside our field, which gave us many email addresses but few returning consumers. Buying random lists gets a lot of emails, but they might not be real or bring you people looking for your product. We focus on people who want our product and want to sign up with us. – Ashley Ferraro, Dona Jo, Inc.
I hope you enjoyed this recent expert round up. If you did, also be sure to check out one of our larger round ups on “how to start a successful blog” with tips for 82 different industry experts. If you’d like to create a similar post like this one, also be sure to check out my full expert round up guide, that is simple enough for anyone to follow and also shows live examples of how other sites are creating these same types of posts to explode their online reach and brand power.