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9 tips for building an effective email marketing list

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Sept. 12, 2014
When it comes to building an email marketing list, there is no secret formula. But there are steps you can take to increase your opt-in rates and decrease the number of Unsubscribes. What are those steps? Dozens of email marketing pros share their top nine tips for how to build a successful email marketing list.

When it comes to building an email marketing list, there is no secret formula. But there are steps you can take to increase your opt-in rates and decrease the number of Unsubscribes. What are those steps? Dozens of email marketing pros share their top nine tips for how to build a successful email marketing list.

1. Make it easy for people to sign up. "You'd be amazed how many companies miss out on email signups by not adding an option for people to subscribe on every page of their [site]," says Mike Volpe, CMO, HubSpot, which specializes in inbound marketing. If you want to get people to give you their email address, or sign up for newsletters and promotions, "make it easy and seamless for readers of your content to engage with you."

"Place the subscription form on the most visited pages of your website, including the homepage," says Deborah Hanamura, director of marketing at Metia, a global marketing agency. Also, be sure to "include a tab on Facebook that enables fans to sign up [for emails and promotions]."

As to where to put your email signup, "make sure [your opt-in] form occupies a prominent part of your website, ideally above the fold within the header," says Andrew King, senior strategy consultant at Lyris, a provider of integrated digital marketing software and solutions. And "don't be afraid to [put] your sign-up form in the footer too."

2. Collect email the old-fashioned way, in person. "Collect contact information at business events [conferences, trade shows, mixers]," says Lauren Witte, associate director, marketing & client services, Jackson White, a full service law firm. "Have plenty of your business cards on hand [as] usually if you hand your card to someone you meet, they will give you their card in exchange."

3. Offer people an incentive. "Offer a prize, coupon or free resource [e.g., a white paper] and require an email in order to get your prize," suggests Jim Belosic, CEO, ShortStack, which helps businesses build contests, sweepstakes and data-collection forms on the Web and for mobile. "If you give people something they want, they'll give you what you want."

For example, Bob's Discount Furniture recently offered Facebook fans a chance to win four tickets to an upcoming New York Giants football game if they signed up for their email list.

Similarly, "if you're attending a trade show, or giving a presentation, give away a prize as an incentive for attendees to drop their business cards in a bowl," suggests Witte. "Prizes don't have to be huge. A gift card will do. But keep in mind, the better the prize, the more cards you're likely to receive."

 

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