If you’ve ever looked into growing your online business, or the online part of your business, then you have encountered the concept of a mailing list. Sometimes called a newsletter, a mailing list is just that, a list of names and email addresses of people who authorized you to send them updates regarding your business. This nifty little tool is consistently cited as the most valuable aspect of digital marketing, producing the best return on investment.

Why is this? Because most people check their emails every day. In the United States, email marketing has an average return on investment of 4300%. That is huge.

Mostly this is because of self-selection. The people who sign up for your newsletter are those who are incredibly interested in your work. Having an email list that you send updates and letters out to means, you are giving all the information about what services and products you have available to the most interested people in taking advantage of them.

More Reasons To Love Email Marketing

Beyond that, email marketing feels personal (if done correctly) as emails are typically read by the recipient privately. It gives you the chance to have a one on one conversation daily, weekly, or monthly with those most interested in your work. And it costs you next to nothing.

If this is all new to you, don’t worry. Now is the perfect time to start. All you need is a blog or website and an email marketing service. Several providers offer very similar services, so you can do your research and pick the one that is right for you.

At the minimum, you want to be able to send private emails to the people on your list en masse. Some services even provide information on your subscriber activity with the letters (If they were opened, how many times, if links were clicked…etc, and basic analytics so you can see what type of messages your subscribers are responding to).

The Basic Checklist

Okay, so let’s say you have a mailing list, and you want to increase the number of people on it. You can do several things to help build your email list, and we’ll cover the most important list-building strategies in the checklist below. Most of these are relatively simple, though a few tips might require a brainstorming session or two.

  1. Make your email subscription box easy to find on your website. (If you are unsure of whether yours is placed well, ask a family member or friend, who is not too tech-savvy, to look for it on the site. You can time them and see how long it takes).
  2. Link to your subscription form in your email signature and on various other social media channels.
  3. Try out a pop-up form on your website.
  4. If you have a decent amount of subscribers already, include this information near your form. (Join 125,000 happy readers or whatever suits your business).
  5. Have a “pass along” suggestion or button in your newsletters, encouraging your subscribers to share the email with their friends.

What Not To Do:

  1. Over-communicate. Unless your specific clientele wants daily emails, and you have the data to prove it, stick to a weekly, or bi-weekly, or monthly message.
  2. Keep messages impersonal. Do this the right way, and not only will you make your clients feel valued, but you’ll also be building a stronger relationship with them.
  3. Offer something in the letter that is not available to all your customers. That means, don’t send an email advertising something only available to be shipped within your country to everyone on your list from every country.

The Elephant In The Room: Provide Value

Okay, so those tips are pretty simple, right? Now we move onto the more complicated matters, the ones that might require your thinking cap to be on—the single most important tip but ironically, the one that people most often skip. There is no way to speed past this one. No shortcuts.

You need to be giving your subscribers something. There needs to be a purpose for them to sign up. There are hundreds of ways to do this, but a good start might be to go through your email and look at the lists you’ve subscribed to. Why did you subscribe?

Tell your visitors what they will be getting when they sign up. These need to be things that your clientele will be interested in receiving that cannot be found elsewhere without subscribing. These can be how-to guides, deals, behind the scenes looks, or you might want to offer a “subscribers only” section to your site.

In addition to sending out a newsletter that is going to assist your audience with something, you want to provide a taste of how good this content is on your site for free. Blog posts that can act as a testimony to your writing and teaching ability. Maybe also a sample newsletter so people can see what they are signing up for.

There you have it. With these things in mind, you are well on your way to building a stellar mailing list. One that is profitable to you, but also beneficial for your subscribers.