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Building an Email List
Posted on Mon Feb-15-2016
So, you need to send out email campaigns to promote your blog, business, or some other awesome thing. You put out a sign-up sheet at your grand opening, but only got a few emails. How do you get started with email campaigning without people to email? Whatever you do, do not give up on email campaigns and depend on social media. Facebook and Twitter are great for some things, but email offers more visibility in different ways. Email marketing is not dead, so take a breath and do your research. To get you started, here are 4 basic email marketing and list building tips: 1. Focus on Quality, not Quantity. There are multiple ways to obtain email addresses. Purchasing email lists may seem tempting because it is quick and easy. However, email addresses from purchased lists have probably already been spammed to death by anyone else that has bought them. It is better to focus on quality contacts who have opted-in rather than sending emails to random individuals who have no idea who you are and will likely mark you as spam without even reading past the subject line. Being marked as spam is bad. Try to avoid it! Basically, purchased lists are dirty. They have tons of things like honeypots, spam traps, invalid emails, and other fishy things that bounce your emails, mark them as spam, identify you as spam, decrease deliverability of emails, and harm the reputation of your IP address and company. Does purchasing an email list still seem tempting? No? Good. If it is too late, or if you are in the process of repairing a list you have had for a while, try using email validation and verification service. There are companies with email list cleaning services like Datavalidators.com where you can upload your lists and have them do the work for you. They scan your lists with email verification software to identify and remove the dirty data and addresses that would otherwise harm your deliverability and reputation. Data validation helps improve the quality of your email lists so your email marketing efforts are more successful, so keep a clean email list. 2. Do not put all your eggs in one basket. Utilize all your resources to get people to sign up for emails. Require email addresses at checkout, have an optional newsletter sign-up, and offer incentives like coupons, discounts, or notifications of sales and special promotions for signing up. For some types of sites, you can have gated access where users have to login to gain access to site features. Make sure there are places all over your website to click and sign up. Of course, do not go overboard and make the site design cluttered and unattractive. Making sure there are multiple ways to get email contacts will help you grow your list. 3. Be considerate and do not act like a spammer. Do not lose the contacts you DO have. Do not inundate inboxes with the same messages over and over. The contact will either mark you as spam because you are annoying or they will unsubscribe. How does that help you? It doesn't. Offer useful information, deals, and make your emails unique and interesting so people want to open and read your emails. Better yet, make them want to click on the link to your site to learn more! Always make sure every email has an option to unsubscribe and make it obvious. Making it difficult is to unsubscribe is annoying and is only going to give the person more reason to unsubscribe. Behave. It's their inbox and they can uninvite you, so be respectful. Being considerate will help you keep the contacts you have and attract new ones. 4. Keep it interesting. You want people to actually open and read your email. You want them to click on it and go to your site. You want their business. How do you get it? Be interesting, creative, and personal. You don't have to have their name inserted into the email to be personal. In fact, don't do that. Incorrect spelling and capitalization of the person's name makes it rather impersonal and suggests you don't really care about getting it right. So make it easier and omit the "Dear {user name}". Use great images. Make sure they are good quality and not fuzzy, stretched, or squashed to fit the page. Images can add to your content, but don't overdo it because too much imagery can make your message harder to focus on. If possible, use your own images. Staff photos, as long as they are appropriate, can make your company seem more personable. Be real, human, and keep it simple. Make offers or conversation points obvious. Remember your email is one of many in the contact's inbox. Make your emails stand out from the monotony of promotions, advertisements, and pitches. Keep your subscribers wanting more, and soon your contact list will grow. Feeling overwhelmed yet? Remember anyone who's great at email marketing started as a beginner. Take your time and do your research. White-lists, black-lists, sender reputation, deliverability, honeypots, spamtraps, IP reputation, content, subscribers, etc.-There are so many topics that are important to learn about! Email marketing might seem easy, but it's a lot more complicated than people think. If you don't follow rules and guidelines, it harms your sender reputation, decreases deliverability, and basically destroys your email marketing efforts. Don't let ignorance destroy your campaign before it starts! There are tons of articles about email marketing online. Utilize them!