#2 in Our 20 for 20 Series

Welcome to “20 for 20” where we share our 20 best tips for email marketing and business to celebrate our 20th anniversary.

One of the most important topics in email marketing is how to build an email list.

First of all, why is an email list important? Well without an email list it’s impossible to do email marketing which is still the number one most important marketing tool for most businesses.

How important? Our facts sheet will tell you that 23% of total sales are driven by email marketing for the average business. You’ll also learn that email is 40X more effective in acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. And we all should know by now that 99% of email users check their email daily, and two-thirds of those people have made a purchase as a direct response to an email.

So, now that we’ve been reminded how important email marketing is, let’s get back to the question at hand—how do I build an email marketing list?

One of the key fundamentals to building an email list (if you want your campaign to be successful) is that you get “permission” to add people to your list. If you have a business relationship with people, that permission is implied—but for everyone else you should get their explicit permission and, at the very least, give them a heads up that you’re about to start sending them email messages and mention that they can opt out.

Another fundamental you should understand is that it’s important to have an ongoing “process” that is constantly building your email list. You don’t just build your list and then start emailing people. You’ll want to create systems that are constantly adding new people to your email list.

Every email list will have “churn” which means that your email list will continuously get smaller through bounces and unsubscribes. People move. People die. That’s life, so you need to always be building your email list.

So what are the systems you should employ?

1. One of the most obvious ways to build your list is to start with what you have. Collect all of the people in your existing customer database and put them on your list.

2. You might also have a large list of other people you should add—business partners, vendors, friends and family who you’d like to remind what you do. So get out your business cards, rolodex, export from your CRM, and put these contacts on your list

3. Another obvious method is to collect new people from your website. In my opinion, there are two things a website should be doing—getting sales or capturing contacts. Even if you don’t have an ecommerce site where people buy things, you should still be collecting email addresses from your visitors. How? Offer them something compelling in exchange for their email address. We use our “SuperCollector™” to do this for our clients. We come up with something really valuable that your visitor will want, and then have an attention-getting sign-up form that gets people to take action. We convert up to 5% of our clients’ traffic into email contacts using this method

4. In addition to your website, you can use this same “lead magnet” or SuperCollector™ on your social media sites and profiles to help you collect new list members from those sites. If you’re giving away something cool, shouldn’t everybody know about it?

Those are some of the obvious ways to build your list. For you advanced students that already have the basics covered, here are a few more ideas:

5. Think about the various opportunities where you might engage with your customer and how that can help you build your list. I was on the phone one time with a guy who sells those cool vehicle rooftop tents. While on the phone he took a business call and I listened for five minutes while he answered this person’s every question about how he might attach a rooftop tent to his vehicle. When he came back to me I asked him—how many phone calls like that do you have every day? Oh, about 20. I almost fell out of my chair. Suffice it to say that we trained him to start getting a name and email address from every phone call and his list exploded. So where do you have contact with your customers and are there additional times you can ask for an email address? For instance, do you deliver your products to your customers, and could ask for it then? If you have a restaurant, do you have a “win dinner on us” where business cards can get dropped, and then do you ACTUALLY give away the dinner and tell people who won?

By the way, we’re giving away something on every 20 for 20 video this year, and today’s prize is: the book “Permission Marketing” by Seth Godin. And the winner is [email protected]****.com.

So think about ALL the places you engage with your audience on- and offline. Here are some other ones:

6. Trade Shows. If your business attends trade shows, this is a great opportunity to build your email list and most businesses do it wrong. I recorded a whole separate video on this. Watch it here.

7. Associations. If you don’t have an email list, find someone who does and see if you can be featured on it, thereby helping you grow your own email list. Perhaps there is an association you belong to and you can get featured on their email list. Or perhaps you can sponsor an email broadcast from someone in your industry. Get creative.

8.At this point you may be wondering about buying an email list. That’s a whole other video, so I’m only going to give you the short answer: No. Don’t do it.

9. Here’s another easy one. If you have a sales team that is smiling and dialing, those people should be trained to get an email address if they can’t get the sale. This allows for a relationship to build over time, and you can leverage the awesome power of email automation which we’ll talk about next week.

10. Another common way to build your list is by having a giveaway, but make sure that it’s in alignment with your service. Don’t give away a bicycle at your local gym and add those people to your IT services email list.

11. If you speak from stage—DUH! Make sure your talk includes a way for people to get on your email list. You can collect business cards, use “text to join” technology, or put a QR code on the screen they can scan, or have a clipboard that you have someone shepherding through the room to get people’s email address. Never give a talk without a compelling email sign up offer.

So here’s the Top 20 Tip for the Day: Build your email list daily with the right systems, and don’t ever buy an email list.

Thanks for watching 20 for 20 where we’re sharing our 20 best tips for email marketing and business. If you’re new here, be sure to sign up to get 20 for 20 below, and I’ll ALSO share with you the Top 5 Email Marketing Mistakes that almost all businesses make.

Be sure to tune in next time when I talk about sales funnels. You’ve heard of them, but what are they? Check back to find out and see if you’re our lucky drawing winner.

Until next time, I’m Ken Mahar from Email Broadcast.

Sign up below to get 20 for 20—our best tips for email marketing and business. As a bonus, we’ll send you our Top 5 Email Marketing Mistakes that almost all businesses make. Once you’re on our email list, you’ll also be eligible to win one of our giveaways announced every month via email.