There are many people who don't start a mailing list in the beginning of their online presence because they feel they don't have enough to share with a list. This is a big mistake! Email marketing is NOT dead and you need to be building your mailing list, now.
You don't have to start by sending out a huge newsletter every week, but you do have to start building that list.
What you send to your email list will really depend on your market, and what they have subscribed to receive. You could do any number of the following:
* A monthly, weekly or bi-weekly html (colors, pictures) newsletter
* A monthly, weekly or bi-weekly text-based email
* An ecourse
* A daily, weekly, or monthly tips list
* A series of autoresponder messages
* Follow-up messages to customers or clients
* A list announcing upcoming events such as teleseminars
If you treat your email lists right they will become loyal followers, and when you have an offer to make them they will be there to listen to what you have to say.
So, How Do You Build Your Email List?
Before you can start sending messages out to a list you need to have people subscribed.
The best way to build a list that you want to grow long term is to use a program that is built for sending out messages to those subscribed and also will help you comply with the Can-Spam legal requirements of sending out messages to large groups of people.
Two programs I use most often with my clients and are well-known as industry leaders are:
Aweber & 1ShoppingCart - Signing up with either of these programs will allow you to easily set up your mailing list and start collecting names and emails that you can then start sending your email promotions out to.
Getting Opt-ins - Once you have a program to handle your mailing list you will then need to set up a mailing list opt-in form that people will fill out in order to subscribe to your list.
You may want to offer subscribers a gift for signing up, it may help entice them and create greater interest then just the offer of your list alone.
Adding a graphic may also help. You may want to test using pop-ups or exit pop-ups and see if they increase your sign up conversions.
Confirmation Page - Once people fill out their name and email on an opt-in form you will likely need to have them confirm their opt-in so that you can confirm that they really did request the information and you are not spamming them.
The confirmation page is a page that you need to optimize. If you've offered a special report make sure that you let them know they need to confirm their subscription in order to get that report, or confirm in order to receive the information they requested.
You can make a special offer on the confirmation page, or send them back to your website to read articles. But since they're on the page anyway, and they have to go somewhere YOU should be making a suggestion as to where they should go.
Now It's Time To Send Out Emails!
You've got subscribers, they've confirmed they want your information and now you've got to send them some valuable content!
A couple of things to really pay attention to when you send messages out your mailing list is your open rate and your click through rates.
Open Rate - One of the biggest things that will affect your open rate is the subject of your email message.
You want a subject line with the following qualities:
* not too long - Long subjects get cut off in some email programs and a long subject line takes a chance at being ignored.
* often includes the name of recipient - Personalizing your email subject line helps catch the attention of the person you're sending it to. Who doesn't respond when you call out their name? This is the same with an email. When people see their name they want to know what you're saying to them.
* sounds personal - If the subject line sounds like it is a personal message to the person opening it, you have a greater chance of having it opened.
* isn't misleading - Don't try to trick your readers into opening something by using a misleading subject line. Not only is it illegal through the Can-Spam act, it just turns your subscribers off in a big way. If they're expecting one thing and open up an email to see another, you risk them not opening anything else you send them.
Click Through Rates - Ok, you've gotten their attention and they've opened your email - but that's only the first step! Now you need to have a call to action in each and every message you send.
Your call to action doesn't have to ask your reader to buy something. Maybe you want them to visit your website to read a great article you've written, or maybe they should go check out a new podcast you've uploaded, or download a free special report you've written (all of which will have their own calls to action within them).
Watch your click through rates and start paying attention to what works and what doesn't for your market. If you have a large enough list you can do split-testing to test one message against another to see which has a better response. Sometimes the smallest things can make a big difference.
Your mailing list can be one of the biggest assets to your business so make sure you take care and don't bombard them with spammy offers or just low quality information.
Take good care of that list and they will take good care of you for a very long time to come.
And make sure you start building it now!
If you're looking to run your business and not let your business run you then check out my new training that walks you step-by-step through the process of building your list, creating a freebie, and getting more sign-ups.