There is no doubting that we live in the social media age. Personal and business accounts invest a lot of time and money into growing their social media channels, yet it is not so much about the numbers of followers you have, but how many people engage.
However, social media platforms are congested. Because of the myriad voices attempting to get their message heard, it can be easy to go unnoticed, even if what you’re saying is topical and relevant. Don’t get me wrong: social media is fantastic, but when it comes to growing a business, building an email list is more important than how many followers you have.
Let me explain.
Let’s say you have a large number of followers on Instagram and via this channel you do everything; you communicate, sell your services, engage with customers and drive traffic to your website. What happens if the powers that be at Instagram decide to update their rules tomorrow, meaning only a handful of people can see your page. Or perhaps the changes could even see you run into legal issues. Remember Napster? These things can and do, happen.
Creating an email list is building a database of ready customers that want to hear from you, want to engage, and want to buy your products or services. And the best thing? You own this.
So, if you already have list of email addresses, but it’s not growing, or you feel clueless and don’t know where to start, here are my five top tips to help you jump on the mail list wagon:
Step 1: Create amazing opt-in forms
When someone lands on a website, they’re generally there for a specific reason. They’re already engaged, but you need to get them to interact. By having a nicely designed opt-in form on your homepage you will instantly grab the attention of your visitors. Make sure you have an opt-in form that is visible and easy to complete; that way, the user will be far more willing to jot their email address down.
You can create opt-in forms as a pop up on your homepage, as a footer on your content pages, on side menu bars, or at the bottom of your contact page. Don’t be shy; make it easy for your reader to find your opt-in forms and don’t be afraid to have a few strategically dotted around your website.
Step 2: Think carefully about your opt-in form content
I often see opt-in forms that just say: ‘Sign up to our newsletter here’. That’s not good enough, guys. You need to entice your customers by making it clear what they are signing up for. Tell them what to expect, and what you have to offer. You’re asking for something from them, so you have to give them something in return. Think about how you can help them and why they should sign up, but refrain from asking for too much information.
Opt-in forms that ask for details like addresses and phone numbers are more likely to fail, as most people don’t want to share too much personal information online. Adding a mini privacy statement can make your audience more willing to subscribe.
The bottom line is this: keep everything simple, clear and to the point.
Step 3: Create the perfect offer (and give them something for free)
Creating a perfect offer is a solid approach. For example, offer them a free download when they sign up. Everyone loves a freebie! A free guidebook, for example, can be very tempting. It doesn’t need to be long, but it does needs to contain valuable information that your audience will find helpful. Make sure the content is well written, but also ensure it’s beautifully designed. You want your audience to see the quality of your work immediately.
Step 4: Design an engaging call to action (CTA)
Design a CTA for use on all of your social media channels that links to your chosen offer. Then link your social media CTA to your opt-in form, and invite people to subscribe and download your free content. The more exposure your CTAs have, the more subscribers you’ll accrue.
Step 5: Utilise your email signature
A great little trick is to create a CTA on your email signature that links back to your opt-in form. Think about how many emails you send on a daily basis, and then realise that each of them is an opportunity to gain additional subscribers. Design a beautiful CTA, place it in your signature, and watch your mail list grow.