Most bloggers and webmasters know that an email list is one of the most profitable online assets they can have, yet few actually build one. I wonder why that happens, as getting an email list going is not that hard. In this post I’ll give you 4 steps to kick-start your own email list.
1. Get an email marketing provider
While there are solutions and software around you can use to power your own email marketing server I wouldn’t recommend it. A key aspect of having an email list is making sure people will receive your emails, and specialized companies are much better equipped to do that.
Sure, you’ll need to spend some money, but what is $30 or so monthly compared to the money you could make by selling your products, services or affiliate products to your list?
If you don’t have an email marketing provider check out GetResponse.com. It is one of the leading email marketing providers, and they are now offering a 30-day free trial. The cool thing is that you don’t need to put a credit card, so there are no strings attached whatsoever.
GetResponse also integrates with over 20 CRM and email management systems, so you can import and existing contacts and get your list populated right away.
2. Create a freebie to encourage people to subscribe
People care about their privacy and about their time, and they sure won’t give your their email addresses just for the sake of it. In other words, you need to offer something in return if you want people to give you the opportunity to communicate with them via email, which is one of the most personal channels online.
That something can be many different things. For instance, it could be an ebook, audio interviews, software, a template, a tutorial, so on and so forth.
3. Place the subscription forms on your website
Once you have an email marketing provider you’ll be able to create your subscription forms from inside your dashboard. The process and is pretty easy, and if you want to get a taste of it check out the form builder demo from GetResponse (they have over 500 templates you can choose from).
Once you have the code of your form ready to go you’ll need to put it on your site. There are basically two spots where you can display your subscription form: on top of the sidebar and below your posts. You can use both at the same time for maximum results.
Make sure to display an image of the freebie you are offering, and use a call to action as well. Something like “Join my email list and get this awesome free eBook!”.
4. Write some follow-up messages
Having subscribers on your email list is only half the battle. The other half is actually building a solid relationship with them. How do you accomplish that? By deliving content that will provide value to those subscribers.
Virtually all email marketing providers allow you to create follow-up messages that are automatically sent to subscribers at given intervals. I recommend you to set one welcome message to go out right after the person signs-up (you can use this message to deliver the download link of the freebie as well), and then another message going out 2 or 3 days later.
After that you can send weekly or biweekly messages, alternating two or three messages of useful content with one message promoting one of your products or an affiliate offer.
There you go, with those four steps you’ll have your list up and running pretty fast. Within some weeks I’ll post some more advanced tips, so stay tuned.
James Carter says
Hey this is great advice thanks a lot for the post. Even though I have Icontact as my email marketing provider, I do think that Aweber is still the best, but it’s not affordable for me right now:) Get response wasn’t doing it for me at all, but to each his own.
Helen Neely says
Like most guys here, I’ve always wanted to start my own email list but recently got a job as a developer as such have not got round to doing it. Will have to find time and get it put together somehow.
I just started building my e-mail list and I realized how important it is. The consistent interaction with people who are willing to listen is critical. #2 was a game-changer and once I released my free texting eBook, subscriptions increased substantially.
Movie Film Cool :) says
Wow, that’s actually a powerful idea!!! You just have to make sure in this case that people don’t suspend the competition to be “Another Fraud System”. 🙂
Another great idea is going along with the “Bring your Friend” line. Do like all marketing companies – “You have a friend who will love this product? Just provide us with his e-mail and he’ll get it”. But this concept works only with loyal followers. 😀
Very solid advice, Daniel.
Without a doubt as a site begins to take on large growth, it would be far better to invest some money into a decent Email(Auto responder) service.
Feed burner though cheap(free) and okay in the early stages, has limitations as to what you can do.
There are some good deals out there with Mail Chimp and Aweber(more expensive).
And they have many useful features, and a huge collection of choices for subscription forms.
Steve Marks says
Thanks for the great info on the value of email lists and how to cultivate and use them.
Jim Collier says
Thanks for the post Daniel, I needed this. After several years of struggling to build a business online things are starting to turn around and it is because of getting back to the basics. The old adage is that “the money is in the list” and I can vouch for the truth in this statement. Once again thanks for a top notch site with informative and easy to understand posts.
Charles Specht says
Good stuff about email subscriptions. I’m still trying to figure this all out. Helpful stuff.
Rahul kuntala says
Thanks for sharing your valuable info daniel. I would really want to start an email list in my blog soon. I will bookmark this for future reference 🙂
Jamie Northrup says
Like Leif, I’m behind on the list.
One good tip, that I think I’m going to give a shoot soon, is to make a contest and one of the ways to enter is to subscribe to my list.
Very good tips. Thank you. I don’t have an email provider yet and I don’t now exactly how it works. I was thinking about aweber because i see many people in the web using this provider. I will check out getresponse too.
Leif G.S. Notae says
Bah, I keep needing to do this. I am giving this a try, see if I can do anything with these handy steps. Thanks for sharing as well as the reminder!