Image by Nevit Dilmen via Wikimedia Commons.
Image by Nevit Dilmen via Wikimedia Commons.

By Sweta Patel

The world of email list building is changing quickly and business owners are having a tough time keeping up with their lists. The problem isn’t nurturing the list or speaking to subscribers them after they have opted-in, but it is getting them to opt-in. The typical business owner is too bombarded with day-to-day activities to even think about building a list or managing it. I have compiled this guide to help business owners find suitable professionals to assist them with managing their list-building activities.

Check-In Applications

Facebook and Foursquare are little known list building secrets. A small business owner can find out who is checking-in to their venue in real-time, then contact the person and send them to an opt-in for a coupon they could use immediately. This would have to be a real-time incentive, otherwise the likelihood of an opt-in will be less.

Best Practice: Use Twitter to send your customers real-time tweets when they come in for a visit. Ask them how their service was, and how you can help them in the future.

San Diego-based marketing entrepreneur Sweta Patel.

Complementary Verticals

From experience, I have seen that it is beneficial at times to move away from my own niche and into other verticals. This can easily be implemented by tweaking something to tailor to that specific niche. For example, this article could be beneficial to several different industries. If I wanted to target auto dealerships, I could make changes to focus on that industry.

Best Practice: Answer these two questions: Are there any crossovers in your industry? Are their any similarities between personalities and verticals?

Forward To A Friend

At the bottom of every email, have a place where a reader can forward the email to a friend. Most people default to adding social media icons at the end of their email thinking that is the way to go. In reality, most people look through all the icons and don’t join any of the social networks. It is just too much for them. Instead, give them just one thing to do, and they might do it.

Best Practice: At the end of each of your emails add: “Do you have a friend who needs help marketing their business? If so share this link with them.

The Email Signature

Awhile back Hotmail was going to go out of business, so to ramp up their user base they added: “PS get your free email at Hotmail” at the end of every email signature. They were able to capture thousands of email addresses this way. Your email signature should be catchy. This means not just a website.

Best Practice: On my last email blast, I added this message with my company’s name: Send someone you love a hug via Global Marketing Technologies. Action + Your Website = Ideal Email Signature.

The Freemium

This should be a free downloadable file with tons of information to help them with their current biggest frustration. You can ask them to pass the link along to a friend if they found it useful. The number one mistake is to put tons of time into creating a freemium and have it not work for you or your business. You really have to understand the needs of your customers before you can find out if something is going to work for them or not.

Best Practice: Create a survey and find out what they want and need. Then, based on the result, create something they will be able to use for their business. For example, if a survey finds your customers need on-going help with their social media marketing, then you can create social media content.

The Online Course

Find out if your company can monetize its expertise by helping out potential customers via an online course. As branding expert Gary Vaynerchuk notes, “You have to give, give, give before you can get.” If your business creates a course to help out target customers and gives away free coupons to the course on its website, then you can build your list for next to nothing. For example, say you have a financial business and you want to educate your biggest prospects. The first thing I would do is to create a course using Udemy and then market the course on Reddit. This is the perfect tool for advertising an Udemy course. Then take people back to your website to sign up for the course.

Best Practice: Every time a course is created on Udemy, you have to advertise it and get people to sign up for it. The best way to incentivize people to sign-up for a course is through couponing.

The Fiverr Gig

In addition to selling my courses online, I have also looked into getting them distributed in other places as well. I wanted to give away premium content for $5. Why? For one reason only, because I wanted to build my list and I wanted to have qualified leads. I could pay high dollars in advertising to get leads but I decided not to do that since creating a Fiverr gig would get me what I wanted. I put all my courses on Fiverr for $5 each just so I could see who was buying them. Then based on that I would pitch them other products in the same niche. This is the power of online marketing.

Best Practice: Be willing to give away premium content for a lower price to build your list. You can use Fiverr or Udemy to sell the content and build exposure for your product or service.

Twitter Lead Generation Card

Ever since Twitter appeared, I have always wanted to find a way to build my list through it. The worst part of Twitter is that they do not allow you to collect email addresses. But recently they introduced something called the “Lead Generation Card” which allows you to collect the names and email addresses with a single click. For example, if someone tweets you then you can response back asking for his or her email or to subscribe.

Best Practice: For more information on Twitter’s lead generation card, click here. Try creating one for your business and tweeting it to 50-60 different people daily.

YouTube Annotations

When you create YouTube videos you can add your website in the lower-third and also ask people to subscribe to anything you offer on the website. This is another easy way to capture names and email addresses from people. Make sure you create a shortened link so you can track your marketing.

Best Practice: Create a series of Google Hangouts that showcase different tips and tricks for your target audience. In the description add a shortened link to your website. Also, promote the website a few times and watch it grow!

I use this site to find out what pieces of technology my competitors are using and how they integrate it. Usually when someone is really good at something, you should copy it. This tool can be a secret weapon for many business owners.

Best Practice: Make a list of 5 competitors and find out which tools they are using and jump on those platforms for your business.

Heyo Contests on Facebook

I’ve researched over fifteen different Facebook contests platforms and found two that actually work. One of them is Facebook Advertisng and the other is offering a sweepstakes via Heyo. We were able to get over 500 sign-ups. If you use both methods, it is considerably more powerful than just using one of them alone. Why? Lately Facebook has not been in favor of third-party tools or apps. When you use a third-party tool and want to gain traction for it, you can do so through the Facebook Ad platform.

Best Practice: Build a sweepstakes contest around something your target audience can use to market their current business. Then build the contest to target your list of buyers, especially online buyers. Why? If they are already online spenders then they will defiantly not mind entering for something they will receive at no cost.

Facebook “One Click” Actions

This is the easiest way for a cause to capture names and email addresses for their list. It is a simple page you can make on Facebook in seconds via Action Sprout and use it to create demand for your cause and collect emails at the same time. Once someone clicks on the call to action you will automatically receive their name and email. It is free for up to 25 contacts, then there is a fee.

Best Practice: Support a cause on your birthday and have everyone demand action and then enter their names and email addresses to support the cause. This is an easy way for you to capture all of their information.

Sweta Patel is a San Diego-based marketing entrepreneur whose company is Global Marketing Tactics.