After you've put in the work to create a great website, store, or blog, the next step is to build a great email list. An email list can increase traffic to your site by attracting new visitors, creating a regular audience, and encouraging repeat customers. Data shows the importance of email lists for both sites and small businesses: In 2014, segmented and targeted emails generated 58% of all revenue, according to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).
In addition, some 72% of consumers say they prefer communication with companies to happen via email, according to Marketing Sherpa.
While it's tempting to focus on increasing the quantity of subscribers to your email list, the real goal is to focus on attracting high quality subscribers who are dedicated to your site.
“Lists with a few hundred dedicated customers can outperform lists of 10,000 or more generic 'freebie seekers' when you focus on building relationships instead of counting sales," according to Kissmetrics.
So what's the best way to build an email list that attracts the right kind of customers to your site? Check out the tips below for how to turn your visitors into email subscribers and build a high quality email list.
Offer Great Content
The first step to building a valuable email list is to let visitors to your site know how they will benefit by signing up. Will you send them a newsletter or links to new blog postings? Will you notify them of upcoming sales? Will you offer sneak previews of new products? Use a short tagline above your email signup box to let readers know about the benefits of subscribing.
If you're going to send a newsletter, make sure you have compelling and buzzworthy content that your subscribers will want to both read and share (a great way to gain new visitors to your site).
When creating content, think about what's important to your audience. If you sell hiking gear, you could review popular trails or provide safety tips. If you sell lawn furniture, you could offer tips for attracting wildlife to your backyard. You can also build brand loyalty by sharing behind-the-scenes stories about your site or business, including ways that you give back to the community.
Whatever content you offer, be consistent about posting, and let subscribers know up front when and how often they can expect to receive emails.
Also be sure to make the unsubscribe button clearly visible in your emails to ensure that your audience is always engaged in a positive with way with your content and your site.
Sales, discounts, freebies and coupons are all great ways to encourage visitors to sign up for emails. But be careful not to make this the main reason for signing up, or you'll end up with an audience more interested in reaping rewards than building relationships.
“It's not worth the extra subscribers because they won't bring you any value in the long run. They'll actually end up costing you time and money," according to Inc. Magazine.
Consider offering a one-time incentive for subscribing to your email list. Then, keep your audience engaged by offering quality content that enables them to make a real connection with your site or business. You could also offer a reward for subscribers who share content or refer new visitors to your site.
It's important to remember that not all incentives are monetary. You can provide exclusive access to infographics, e-books and whitepapers that benefit your audience. Sharing information and expertise is a great way to provide additional benefits for your subscribers.
You can also instantly track your email performance to see how many people opened your email so that you can see which incentives work best with your audience.
Keep It Simple
A big part of building a successful email list is how you ask. Start by making your email opt-in box easy to find on your site, advises Entrepreneur Magazine.
“A well-designed website provides visitors with ample opt-in opportunities through the placement of email opt-in boxes located strategically throughout each page," the magazine reports.
Customer convenience is key, so be sure to provide an opt-in box on every page of your site, store, or blog. Make sure you also have an opt-in box on your home page for visitors who don't venture further into your site.
To ensure that opt-in up boxes don't interfere with other content on your site, place them at the top or bottom of the page, or in the sidebar, so you don't disrupt visitors' engagement with your site.
Another way to encourage more email signups is make it simple to sign up. Ask only for essential information — an email address and possibly a first name — to keep from scaring off visitors who are showing an interest in your site.
The founder of River City e|Marketing. Liam is a marketing strategist, songwriter, and English Professor. In addition to giving Ted (of "Ted & Buster" fame) his sarcastic, confident voice, Liam also specializes in copy writing, business management, SEO, and building true mobile websites.
The man behind the pen (and stylus), Frank Sasso serves as web designer at RCeM Designs. Years ago, Frank worked as chief penciller for the character "Stimpy" from "The Ren & Stimpy Show". He also trained Disney animators for their work on "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast".