How to Build a Small Business Email List People Actually Want to Be On
If your small business isn’t leveraging email marketing, you’re missing out on huge marketing potential. Building a list of engaged subscribers who want to hear from you allows for personalized, conversion-focused communication. It can have a major impact on your business.
But simply amassing a huge list through intrusive tactics won’t cut it. Generic giveaways or overly aggressive popups may snag more email subscriptions, but those subscribers likely won’t convert or engage deeply since they didn’t opt-in out of true interest in your business.
The key is focusing on quality over quantity – nurturing an audience that enjoys your emails. It requires more effort upfront, but the payoff of loyal, invested subscribers is massive. Here are 10 proven ways to attract and retain high-value subscribers:
Develop Compelling Lead Magnets
Lead magnets refer to free content offers like eBooks, toolkits, or webinars that people trade their email to access. Rather than giving everything away openly, you “gate” it behind a signup.
The key is creating lead magnets tailored specifically to your audience – like a market trends report or insider tips relevant to their work. Avoid generic eBooks anyone can get elsewhere. Ensure your gated assets provide unique value that gets subscribers excited to sign up.
Invest time honing useful lead magnets that save customers time or money – topically relevant resources designed professionally perform best. Promote giveaways prominently across your website and social channels to drive signups.
Promote Giveaways and Contests
Giveaways build buzz and encourage people to share details like their email. But like lead magnets, generic prizes don’t work well – tailor them to your audience. Give away gift cards to popular local restaurants or specialized equipment your customers use.
Promote contests across all marketing channels – website banners, email outreach, and social media. Create fun themes around holidays or industry happenings your audience cares about. Use eye-catching graphics and copy to attract entrants.
Paid ads will expand your contest reach, and referral bonuses can incentivize existing contacts to spread the word. The more you promote through multiple channels in a targeted way aligned with your audience, the more contest entries you’ll get.
Optimize Website Popups
While annoying if overdone, popups can work well when used thoughtfully. Only display them once visitors have spent time engaging with your content. This shows greater existing interest before asking for a signup.
Offer an exclusive lead magnet not found elsewhere on your site, like special content or savings. Use testing to optimize timing and placement for higher conversion rates. Balance clear value and careful timing to make popups feel helpful, not intrusive.
Remove Subscriber Tracking Tags
Here’s a clever tactic most overlook – when exporting your email list, remove tags or other identifiers of how subscribers found you originally. This prevents sending hyper-personalized messages focused only on how they found you. The email feels more like a standard newsletter than a personalized sales pitch.
While personalization is usually beneficial, this technique makes communication seem less promotional – it helps build more general audience engagement across the board. You can still personalize effectively without subscriber origin data by segmenting based on broader profiles and interests, tracking ongoing engagement patterns, and surveying for preferences.
Curate Relevant Third-Party Content
Build goodwill by curating articles, videos, podcasts and other content created by industry leaders your audience would enjoy. Present it in a newsletter that they need to subscribe to in order to access.
You become a trusted content hub for topics subscribers already care about, instead of just pushing your own messaging and offers. In turn, providing this value as a content curator earns their attention for relevant offers included alongside curated pieces.
Gate Content Behind Email Signup
Have premium content like specialized eBooks or video courses available only to email subscribers. For example, lock certain website sections or content upgrades behind a signup gate.
Since accessing the exclusive content requires their email, you gain insights on subscriber interests to inform follow-up communication. Just ensure the gated assets provide real value so prospects will be willing to exchange their email to unlock them.
Run Retargeting Ad Campaigns
Use retargeting ads to reconnect with past website visitors as they browse elsewhere online. The familiarity of seeing your brand again draws them back to your site.
Upon returning, use on-site promotions and email signup forms to convert them into subscribers. Past visitors who’ve shown interest make great candidates when you can effectively re-engage them.
Strategically Leverage Social Media
Promote lead magnets and contests on social channels. Use built-in lead generation features like Facebook’s Lead Ads that request emails right in the ad unit.
Ask followers across networks to join your list for first access to new content and insider updates. Repurpose popular social posts in email newsletters to increase their exposure.
Offer Email-Only Discounts
Provide promotional savings like 20 percent off or early access to sales exclusively for your email subscribers. Special offers just for being on your list incentivize signups.
It also builds loyalty with current subscribers who feel rewarded for opening your emails. Exclusive discounts make every message more worthwhile and engaging.
Continually Test and Optimize
Never get complacent with just one tactic. Try different approaches, tracking growth rates and engagement. Then double down on what converts best.
Test email placement, copy, content offers, and more. Send different lead magnets to different segments to identify favorites. Regular testing and optimization is key for list growth.
Small Business Email List Growth: Playing the Long Game
While there are many potential tactics for building an email list, avoid broad one-size-fits-all strategies. Take the time to tailor a subscriber growth plan specific to your brand and target audience. With consistent optimization, you’ll build a list of loyal subscribers who genuinely look forward to your email messages.