Building an Email List From Scratch

The money might well be in your list, but what if you haven’t got one?

Well, then it’s time to start building.

I recently helped a client build a list from zero to 2,000+ in just under a week. And guess what? The list is already driving leads and will soon be driving revenue.

So how did we do it?

  1. A Great Offer: It all starts with a great offer. In this case, it was incredibly useful content that demanded attention. Not only did the client offer great content providing real value (do your white papers always do this?), we backed it up with a really cool competition. The prize might have cost a fair bit of money – but it couldn’t be ignored.
  2. List Rental: This is not to be confused with purchasing a list (remember, we don’t like that). List rental is when you pay another organisation (normally a magazine publisher or a blog) to send a campaign on your behalf. Renting lists can be expensive – so you better make sure you convert as many opens and clicks to your own list as possible. This means having a great email, a great landing page and a great offer.
  3. Social Media: Next, we hit Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – hard. We didn’t just broadcast. We encouraged debate, asked questions and pointed people back to our really great landing page, complete with great offer and cool competition (see points #1 and #2).
  4. PR: We put the message out there via PRWeb (part of the Vocus family), which generated a ton of buzz on social media and helped generate press coverage for our content and our giveaway. We also phoned or emailed every blog writer and journalist we had a personal relationship with to give the story wider coverage.
  5. Blogging: The client blogged about the offer on its own site – providing additional content for its social media activity.
  6. Asked to Share: We asked people (colleagues, clients, prospects – in fact, anyone who would listen) to share the news – and they did. In fact, the campaign went viral, and that’s when the list really started to grow.

Building a list isn’t easy and it isn’t always cheap – but the potential return can be fantastic.

If you haven’t got a list, isn’t it time you started building one today? Share your advice for list-building strategies below:

This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.

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