The only things worthy of a financial investment are those things that are going to earn you more money now or more money in the future. The most important marketing tool you can have is your own in-house mailing list...
The problem with 80% of online email marketers is getting qualified subscribers to their ezines or newsletters. Some of the most sought after techniques are right in front of them when knowing how and where to get more subscribers.
If you apply these simple list building methods, I guarantee you will see results. You may not get the results as fast as you want to, but don't worry. All list building strategies take time and when used correctly, will be more rewarding than you can possibly imagine.
Make your website an "attention grabber". With almost 7 million websites to choose from, the fact that someone found yours is something you shouldn't take for granted. With so much choice, how can you expect them to remember to come back tomorrow, or the next day?
If you don't have an opt-in/sign-up form on your website, you are literally throwing opportunities away. This is the single most important thing you can do to build your database. But don't just put it on your home page - put it on every page, or make it part of your main navigation tool. subscription boxes on other sites. This requires some programming but it's well worth it. Look around and find a site that will directly compliment your ezine or newsletter. Place Your subscription box (form) on websites that fit your web site "niche." Call them up. Ask them if they would add your subscribe form to their website in exchange for their opt-in form on your site.
Make sure their particular web page is available for the space, because this will require space. Placing your opt-in form can be done on the left, on the right or in the middle of any page as long as your partner agrees to it. The same applies to you for placing their opt-in form on your page. If you are not familiar with programming, which is required, ask a webmaster you know to build one that will fit your partner's page.
Doing such an exchange, not only places your partner on your site, but puts your subscribe box in front of people who doesn't ordinarily visit ezine sites or sites with newsletters. This definitely grabs their attention to want to subscribe.
This method works extremely well and will also depend on the site your subscription box is located on. More traffic means more potential subscribers. If you were having trouble getting more subscribers, Well, you're search is over.
Find a partner who will work with you and start seeing a steady increase in your database. This works wonders when done correctly and all you have to do is exchange simple coding with each other. You can even have your agreements in the form boxes to make sure your partner and yourself stays within the legal spam agreements.
Team up with other email marketers. You may be just starting to build, but there are thousands of marketers who already own a contact list and are sending email campaigns every day. Advertise your newsletter or website with its prominent sign-up offer in their newsletters or promotions or do a banner exchange.
Use viral marketing. Even if you only send emails to a handful of people, make sure you include a "forward to a friend" link in each one - and equally important, a sign-up link for new readers. You would be amazed at how often we get an interesting newsletter or promo from a friend, but can't figure out how to start getting our own copy. Don't forget to promote your sign-up offer at the bottom of your everyday email. Even if you're sending email to a friend or co-worker, include a link to your sign-up form to keep up the momentum. Remember, your email may get forwarded, so cover all your bases.
Get listed in ezine directories and search
Make it a part of your brand identity. Every piece of paper that leaves your office should have a link to your website and/or your email subscription information. Period.
Equip your lobby or reception area. Post subscription information at your front desk - a little self-standing sign gets noticed. Place a fishbowl for business cards next to it, or better yet, let people sign up right then and there using a computer that's logged on to the opt-in form on your website.
Equip your trade show booth. Do the same as above in your exhibits reception area. If you rent a lead retrieval machine from the show vendor, be sure to customize it so you can capture email and permission information.
Piggyback in-store purchases. When you ring up a customer, ask them if they'd like to receive email mailers from you. Be sure to let them know what they'll be getting and when. Ask people you meet. Even if you don't sponsor or exhibit at events, try to attend them. Talk to people face-to-face and let them know you have valuable information to share. Exchange business cards along the way. Create a special set of cards that include your subscription information.
Promote after the sale. Let's say your customer didn't want to get on your email form when given the chance at checkout. They still go home with printed packaging of some form, whether it's a shopping bag, gift-wrap or the product packaging itself. Promote a subscription there, too, because (1) they might change their mind and (2) if they're giving it to someone else, you've gained another opportunity.
Use direct mail. It doesn't have to be fancy. A simple postcard promoting your offer to a small, rented - permission-based group will do. Sometimes all it takes to get people on your list is to let them know about your offer - and that you can send it via email.
Use print advertising. Placing an ad is almost as tricky as renting an email database, but realize that we're not talking about placing an ad in Forbes Magazine. Your local newspaper, your neighborhood newsletter, your Laundromat's bulletin board... start asking about promoting your offer in everything you read and everywhere you go. Get creative.
Use the telephone. Ask everyone who calls in to your company if they'd like to sign up to receive information from you.
Use an existing contact database you already
have. You probably have one, you just don't know it. Dig deep into your address book or database to find anyone you ever had a relationship with - anyone who ever bought from you, for example. Send them a one-time mailing via-email or mail, use whatever contact information you have explaining that you are starting a newsletter or periodic emailing and ask if they'd like to sign up. Assure them that this is a one-time mailing, and then keep mailing only if they give you permission.
You can promote your offer in every corner of the world, but there are a few more things you should do to ensure your email list contains well-targeted, opt-in, permission-based, low bounce/low unsubscribe names. Only use an opt-in or double opt-in subscription method - not opt-out. Double opt-in ensures highest quality, since you are guaranteed direct permission from the subscriber and a valid email address. Offer people relevance and value in exchange for their contact information, e.g., special discounts, monthly tips-n-tricks, white papers, etc.
Giving away irrelevant freebies builds your opt-in list in the short term, but over the long run, those leads won't pay off. Qualify without scaring away the really interested people. Ask for more than just name and email - but not too much.
Find the right balance, and the people who truly value your offer and want to hear from you will be the ones who end up in your database. Set expectations up front. Tell people what they'll be getting, and only the interested ones will sign up.
The key to successfully building a high quality, opt-in, permission-based email contact list is to realize it's a continual process. Don't expect 20,000 names to appear from your opt-in form overnight. But the sooner you start, the sooner you can start building rewarding relationships.
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