Small businesses have both an advantage and disadvantage when it comes to growing an email list.
The disadvantage is that they need to work a lot harder to get their name out there and find potential customers. They don’t have the advantage of lots of money to spend and occupy the paid headlines on the most popular channels out there.
That being said, there are a lot of advantages to having a small business and growing an email list. The marketing teams in small businesses are usually a lot smaller and agile whereas large corporations have an entire department and take a long time to try new things and shift directions. It’s like the difference between steering a cruise ship versus a jetski. Also with the way social media has swept the world, there are many channels that really only cost your time and creativity when reaching a new customer base like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Here are some ideas how small businesses can grow their email list with relatively low costs:
Make subscribing easy and obvious
Make your sign-up form obvious and easy to find. There are a lot of different applications (Wufoo) to build custom forms that can be embedded on webpages and others that can be widgets on the sidebar of websites. Don’t include more than one or two things for new subscribers to enter. Anything more than a name and email can keep people from submitting their information.
Don’t forget to Socialize
There are an increasing number of social media plugins these days. In just a couple minutes you can easily put a call-to-action on your cover photo of your facebook page and people can sign up for your email list without leaving facebook. Also make sure to include posts of useful content on your social media channels and when people click through to the content, make sure they see a subscribe form. You can also include social icons directly in your emails to increase social engagement with one simple click.
Human Interaction Still Wins
If you have a physical location or when taking part in conferences, it’s easy enough to get people to write down names, or even easier, bring an ipad and have people sign up right at your booth or in person. Then they will feel connected to you on a personal level and have a face to attach with the emails they will be receiving.
Products and solutions don’t exist in a vacuum, businesses exist because they solve a problem. Extrapolate upon that and go a bit further and be a guide not just a solution. Doing so builds trust with prospective customer and offering that in the form of an e-book for a b2b or style guide for a fashion clothing ecommerce site for example. These can bring interested people to signing up for an email list because they want to learn more from you. Just avoiding barraging your list with constant emails. No one likes overeager emails that amount to nothing more than spam, thus when signing up it is best to give people an idea of how often they will be emailed.
Offer Email-Exclusive Specials
Creating email exclusive specials for your product or service will compel interested parties to subscribe to your newsletter. This works well with ecommerce stores to grow a email list fast by offering a discount or products only available to subscribers.
Bonus Tip: According to Hubspot, Email databases degrade by 22.5% every year. That means people drop off because they get rid of business emails, change their gmail or yahoo accounts or simply unsubscribe. It’s always important to refresh your database list a couple times a year to ensure your database isn’t being clogged with unused emails so you can accurately monitor the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts.