Brighter Messaging
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How to build your small business email marketing list

Email marketing has stood the test of time as a powerful tool for businesses to connect with their audiences and drive engagement. But if you don’t have anyone to send your emails to—or don’t have the right people to send your emails to—your email marketing strategy isn’t moving your business forward. The real magic of email marketing lies in having a robust list of email subscribers. 

Can’t I just buy an email address list for marketing? 

Sorry; in this case, instant gratification will not lead to satisfaction. Frankly, buying an email list is never a good idea. 

Although it might seem like a quick fix, buying an email list is fraught with issues:

  • Waste of money: Purchased lists often contain uninterested recipients, leading to low conversion rates and wasted resources.
  • Annoyance factor: Unsolicited emails can annoy recipients and harm your brand’s reputation.
  • Legal implications: In some regions, sending emails without explicit consent can lead to legal consequences, such as GDPR and CAN-SPAM violations.

So, how can you make your email list grow faster?

The right way to get an email list for marketing 

Now that you know how NOT to get a mailing list for your small business, here are some tried-and-tested ways to help you build your email marketing list and supercharge your customer interactions. For maximum impact, email lists can be segmented based on various factors, such as demographics, interests, or purchasing behavior, to tailor the content to specific groups, resulting in more relevant and effective email marketing campaigns.

How do I grow an email marketing list?

Give people plenty of opt-in opportunities

Embedding sign-up forms on your website, blogs, and social media posts is a tried-and-true method to capture email addresses. Ensure that the forms are strategically placed where they provide the most value to your visitors. Even pop-up forms, when done tastefully, can grab your visitors’ attention and encourage them to join your email list. 

Sweeten the deal 

People love perks! Offer incentives like discounts, freebies, or exclusive content in exchange for their email addresses. Whatever you choose, it should be time-sensitive and conditional so that visitors are motivated to sign up right away. 

Remember, your incentive doesn’t need to feel salesy and slimy. On our site, the incentive is to be the first to know about new insights, tips and strategies (feel free to sign up for it now!): 

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Publish targeted landing pages

Design landing pages (like this one) dedicated solely to collecting email addresses. Ensure that these pages highlight the value of subscribing and provide a clear call-to-action. A single-focus landing page like this one is beneficial when you’re sending people to sign up from a third-party source, such as social media. It’s ok if the page is short and sweet. It’s objective is to provide a quick way for people to sign up for your list, as opposed to driving traffic through SEO content.

Showcase lead magnets

Lead magnets—such as ebooks, templates, or toolkits—can be incredibly enticing to potential subscribers. Create valuable resources that your audience can’t resist and offer them in exchange for their email addresses.

Much of our target audience (small, service-based businesses) know that SEO is something they need to do, but they have no clue where to start. We created an eBook with 5 things your small business can do right now to improve SEO:

To get the eBook, interested parties need to fill out a form:

TA-DA! A free guide for them, another email address for your list, and a win-win for all of us.

Offer giveaways

Host giveaways or contests where participants need to submit their email addresses to enter. Make sure the prizes are attractive and relevant to your target audience. If you decide to go this route, proceed with caution. You may end up getting a slew of entrants that aren’t relevant to your business, which doesn’t help your goal of building an engaged email list. Think about what you can give away that will attract your desired customer.

Build an interactive tool

Create a free tool or resource that your audience finds valuable and useful, such as a calculator or an interactive quiz. Like a lead magnet, users will need to provide their email addresses to access the content or see their results.

Collaborate with other small businesses

Partner with complementary businesses to cross-promote your content and email lists. You can co-host webinars, workshops, or offer joint promotions that encourage subscribers to join both lists in exchange for something that’s helpful to them. 

Use your social networks to pitch

You might not have a long list of email subscribers yet, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a network. If you have a following on social media, or businesses you communicate with via email, why not use those loyal connections to build an email list? Although the people who follow you on those sites or email you regularly already know you, they haven’t necessarily joined your email list yet, so give them a gentle push in that direction: 

Is faffing on Facebook sucking your money and your time?

Do you find yourself staring blankly at your screen, wondering what on earth you should post next? 
Get 30 days of Facebook content ideas for service-based businesses! 

Quality over quantity: The characteristics of a great small business email list 

Remember, the key to success in email marketing is not just about building a large list but building a list of engaged and interested individuals. 

As you build your email list, keep these qualities in mind:

  • Permission-based: Ensure subscribers have willingly given consent to receive emails from you. Avoid buying email lists, which can lead to spam complaints and legal issues. These harm your email-sending score, and that makes email marketing an uphill battle.
  • Accurate and current: Regularly clean and update your list to maintain deliverability and engagement rates.
  • Relevant: Subscribers should align with your target audience, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversions.
  • Engaged: Focus on subscribers who actively open, click, and respond to emails, as they’re more likely to convert and provide value over time.
  • Easily segmented: Collect information that enables you to divide your list into segments based on demographics, interests, or behavior.
  • Growing: Continually implement the strategies above (and any others) to attract new subscribers.
  • Easy unsubscribe: Respect your subscribers’ choices by making the unsubscribe process transparent and hassle-free.

We’ll say it louder for the people at the back: a quality email list is more valuable than a large one. By focusing on creating a permission-based list of engaged email subscribers, you can create meaningful connections and stay top of mind—and top of the inbox. 

You may also be interested in: Gmail & Yahoo have New Email Authentication Requirements: What senders need to know

Need help building your email marketing list? 

The team at Brighter Messaging is on hand to offer digital marketing support that helps you build an effective email list and take advantage of this cost-effective marketing tactic. Reach out for a free discovery call.

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