By Justin Premick “There’s a great, wide open Internet out there, continuously accessed by millions of people, and in all likelihood,...
By Justin Premick
“There’s a great, wide open Internet out there, continuously accessed by millions of people, and in all likelihood, at least some of them are interested in what I’m offering. Surely there must be a way to reach them, but how?”
If you’ve said or thought that, you’re hardly alone. One of the biggest email marketing challenges for many businesses, particularly those that are new at it, is building a list of opt-in subscribers.
The good news is, it can be done. However, building a large list of quality subscribers takes time, and some people that we speak to don’t feel they have time. They want — need — a big list, and now.
Big List Building Mistake: Buying Email Addresses
This urgency can push them to buy lists of allegedly “opt-in” email addresses, website “traffic” that they believe will result in opt-in subscribers, and any of the myriad products aimed at frustrated would-be list builders.
Aside from the fact that purchased email addresses cause spam complaints and (at AWeber) get accounts terminated, they’re simply a waste of money. You’ll benefit more from other list-building techniques that are:
- Free (with the exception of some time and effort)
- Opt-in (people are asking you directly for information)
A Better Way: Get Referrals From Your Current Readers
One of the best examples of this is growing your list by referrals from existing subscribers.
Word-of-mouth is one of the oldest and most powerful means of advertising, and nowhere is it more easily or quickly done than via email. Your subscribers are getting value out of your messages and probably know someone else who would as well. Sometimes a little reminder is all it takes to get them excited about helping you help others, so give them a chance to do that!
Encourage Subscribers To Forward Your Emails To Others.
Here is an example of text you can use in your messages to do so:
Thanks for reading! If you know someone who could benefit from this, feel free to forward it to them!Not a subscriber yet? Like what you’ve read? Sign up to get future issues delivered straight to you:http://www.example.comUntil next time!
This Is Not The Same Thing as a “Tell a Friend” Form!
Note the difference between this and using a “tell-a-friend” form to get subscribers to sign up others to your list:
You should only subscribe/email people who are asking to be subscribed. Someone whose email address is entered into a “tell-a-friend” form by one of your subscribers hasn’t asked to be subscribed. Any email you would send to them would be spam.
Tell-a-friend forms also introduce two barriers to recommending your list to others:
- Mis-typed addresses
- They force the subscriber to type out the recipient’s email address, which takes more time and effort than forwarding, especially if your subscriber wants to recommend you to multiple people
Encourage current subscribers to forward your message, and avoid those barriers.