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How to Build an Email List From Scratch: 8 Proven Strategies That Work

Finding new customers is expensive. It’s much easier, and cheaper, to simply maintain the customer base you already have.

One proven strategy for customer retention is email marketing. But how do you build an email list from scratch if you haven’t been maintaining customer emails?

The road to a phenomenal email marketing campaign is long but possible. Take a look at these 8 strategies for building an email list from scratch.

1. Offer Incentive

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One of the most popular ways to attract email subscribers is to offer an incentive. New customers (and old ones) are very attracted to discounts and free offers by brands they trust.

You’ll notice a spike in email subscribers when you offer an attractive incentive like 30 percent off or free shipping with a coupon. The incentive you offer should be based on your profit margins so you don’t lose money gaining new email subscribers.

Make sure there are limits on the incentive so you don’t have too many to manage at once. For example, the 30 percent off coupon code you offer might be valid only for the first 30 days of signup.
Limit the coupon to one per email address so you don’t risk giving away the discount too many times.

2. Well Placed Opt-In

There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the basics with your website design to ensure customers can easily opt-in. The worst-case scenario for most small businesses is having customers look for ways to connect with you only to become exhausted with a poor website layout.

Focus your website design on engagement. Make sure your email opt-in is well placed so a scavenger hunt isn’t needed for customers to keep in touch.

If you can’t locate your opt-in within 10 seconds of visiting your home page, it’s not well placed. If your opt-in isn’t on your home page, it’s not well placed.

Hire a website designer to audit your existing site for more information if you’re not sure whether your opt-in placement makes sense.

3. Blog Posts

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Keep your blog posts up to date to encourage engagement. Customers are more likely to engage with your content by asking questions, sharing, and commenting when you have high-level blog content.

Make sure your content includes information that’s relevant to your target audience. Think beyond information about your products and services.

Add tutorials, recipes, DIY instructions that help make your customer’s lives easier. They’ll be more likely to subscribe to information that’s about them, than about you.

There are ways to keep the content relevant to your brand without losing the attention of your audience. For example, if you offer children’s books, blog about ways parents can help children who are struggling to read.
Quick tips and information that help parents encourage reading and promote your brand credibility.

4. Pop-Ups

Struggling to find the right email opt-in placement on your website? A pop-up is one of the simplest ways to grab new subscribers.

Customers who miss the opt-in tool won’t miss an in-your-face call to action. Keep the copy on your pop-up simple.
This box isn’t the place to explain away what you plan to send. Ask a simple question, offer a space to enter an email address and a confirmation button.

If you can, use humor to get customers interested. For example, many pops as an undeniable question like ‘want to earn more money?’

The options to signup or decline would then be ‘yes, I want to earn more money’ or ‘no, I like being broke.’ These are humorous ways to get customers to align themselves with your brand mission and values.

5. Free Information

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Freebies encourage email subscribers. When building an email list from scratch, make sure you offer freebies that matter to customers.

For example, consulting firms might offer white paper studies that help clients make better decisions. Seeing that you have thought leadership in their focus area makes you more trustworthy.

They’ll opt-in for free information that helps them become more successful. Other freebies that encourage opt-ins might be e-books or trade secrets.

6. Giveaways

Sweepstakes can be tough to pull off. Unless you plan to spend a fortune on marketing, many customers overlook look sweepstakes and giveaways because they resemble spam.

The trick in making the giveaway stand out is to offer something that makes sense for your brand story. For example, you might choose to give away a trip to view the Northern Lights if your company sells telescopes.

An outdoor equipment company might giveaway a luxury ski trip. Your giveaway should be the ideal scenario for your target customer.

If they could imagine an ideal vacation or piece of equipment for their lifestyle, what would it be? This is your shortlist to choose from when deciding on a giveaway or sweepstakes.

7. Promote Your eNewsletter

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Advertise your newsletter while promoting products. To make the newsletter content stand out, broadcast your most sensational topic ideas.

Promote must-have information and listicles that help simplify the reader’s life. People want brevity in newsletters.
Focus on content ideas that appear easy to skim. This isn’t the time to promote lengthy studies on complex topics. With interesting newsletter topics, you’ll attract busy subscribers who might not have time to read entire blog posts.

8. Offer Exclusives

Can you promise your email subscribers a deal that no one else will get? Offering exclusives is one of the top ways to attract new email subscribers.

Many brands use ‘memberships’ as the way to make the subscription seem more substantial. Customers who signup to become members get special discounts and access to sales first.

How to Build an Email List from Scratch with No Budget

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Knowing how to build an email list from scratch helps you avoid the temptation to buy mailing lists. Mailing lists are an expensive and ineffective way to reach customers.

You want to grab the attention of customers organically. This helps you create a more engaged customer base that’ll continue to buy from your brand for years to come.

About Suzan Vega

Suzan Vega

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