Email List Growth

How To Grow Your Email List

Using email as a marketing tool is a smart decision. Starting a newsletter, tip-of-the-month, or any type of recurring email keeps your name in front of your customers and helps strengthen relationships with them.

In addition to the content you send, the other big component of email marketing is your list. Whether you have 10 or 10,000 names, including current customers, past customers, prospects, referral partners, vendors, and yes, even friends and family, you must continually work on growing your list. Email churn is a real thing, and it means losing people from your list over time. The two main reasons you lose people are 1) their email address becomes undeliverable (they change their email address for whatever reason) or 2) they unsubscribe from your list. A list of 100 today can easily be a list of 80 in six months and 45 in a year if you don’t intentionally and continually work on building your list.

The million-dollar question is “how do I grow my list?”

Here are a few things to do, and perhaps more importantly, a few things to NEVER do to increase the number of contacts on your list.

#1 DO: Ask & Offer. Do you exhibit at trade shows or have a brick-and-mortar location? If you do, make sure to have a physical signup sheet or electronic signup where people can see it. Tying it to a contest or giveaway is a popular way to add names while giving people something in return. Offering free information downloads through social media or your website is another way to trade your valuable information for their email address. Asking people to join your list when you speak or when you network or when you get a new customer are all appropriate. Just make sure to let them know the basics like frequency, types of content, and always let them know they can unsubscribe whenever they want to (this is a SPAM law you must follow).

#2 DO: Make it a priority. Have a documented plan of what you’re going to do (see #1 above), simply so you don’t forget about it. Whatever your method is, schedule it into your marketing activities so it happens.

#1 DON’T: Buy a list. Purchasing, and for that matter, borrowing or sharing names is not OK. Let me repeat that for emphasis: NOT OK. Asking forgiveness instead of permission is not a sound nor ethical business practice. If you buy a list, you DO NOT have opt-in permission to email these people. They may have checked (or unchecked) a box somewhere else online, giving permission to someone else, but that is not transferable. You know how you feel when you get unsolicited email from someone you don’t even know? You typically don’t like it. Don’t do it to other people. Adding these names will drag down your open rate, get you reported more for SPAM, and overall create some negative mojo that you don’t need!

#2 DON’T: Make networking assumptions. Networking, where you exchange business cards with others, does not equal a mass opt-in permission to add contacts to your email list. Just because someone hands you their business card does not mean they are expecting to be added to your email newsletter list. If you ask and they say yes, add them to your list. If you have reason to contact them to follow up on your introduction, you certainly can use email as your communication medium, but don’t add them to your list unless or until they give you permission.

An email list is about quality and quantity, and quality always wins. A small list that is interested and engaged will produce more results than a huge list who ignores you, unsubscribes, or shares their negative feelings with others.

Growing your list happens organically, one person at a time. How fast you accomplish that is up to you.

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