The other day while in flight, the gentleman seated next to me found out I am an Internet marketer and promptly asked, “How can I build my email list?” This is a pretty common question as we all want to improve our email lists.

Email UsAn email list is an important asset for your business. A properly obtained email list is filled with contacts who trust you and are likely to purchase from your business. I would advise staying away from buying email lists.  If you already have your email list, it still makes sense to continue your email list expansion efforts. Email lists have a way of becoming obsolete over time. People leave jobs, new people are hired, or email addresses simply change as people move from one free email platform to another.

First Things First – Email Collection Method

The first thing you’ll want to do is develop a mechanism to collect your emails. A good third party email service is my favorite way to handle lists. I tend to like MailChimp. Although there are others including, GraphicMail, Constant Contact, AWeber, iContact, Campaign Monitor, and more. (We receive no revenue from any of these companies for our references to them.) MailChimp offers an easy way to create a form on your site. When people add their email address from your site, their email address automatically gets collected into your database on the MailChimp site. MailChimp makes it easy to segment your email list for better targeting of your customers. Make sure to put your sign up form on your home page, contact page, blog, as well as your about us page.

Now that you’ve signed up with one of the email services and set up your email form on your site, what’s next?

Build Your Email list Steadily, Over Time.

Basically, put good, valuable content on your site. This is the best approach, IMHO. This is the way a lot of companies build up their email list.  It’s important that you have your email subscription input on the pages of your articles, making it easy for visitors to sign up. This perfect strategy builds your traffic and email list over time. It’s ideal if you are actually running your business and can only find a few hours a week to create your blog content. Over a period of time, your site’s authority ranking will increase, which in turn is the very best way for you gain traffic to your site.

Another way is to blog, blog, blog. Create valuable content for your blog. Make sure you’re writing about issues that your customers care about. Creating content they care about IS what makes it of value. This is similar to the above point, but it is more about the blog than content in general. And, make sure to give your blog articles appropriate titles, using good keywords. Once you’ve written your blog articles, post links to them on the different social sites – LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.

Content is King, as the saying goes. Here are some other ideas.

WebinarHost Online Webinars and Collect Email Addresses at Registration.

While webinars are a great way to build your brand as an expert, they are an awesome way to increase your email list. They take some extra work, but can be well worth the effort. If you have an area of expertise, consider this a viable solution. Try GoToWebinar as your webinar solution. Webinars are still a bit of a novelty. Even though they have been around a while, it takes a bit of prep tie to put on a good webinar. People generally appreciate the effort and are willing to sign up to hear you speak.

Downloadable Whitepapers

Offer white papers with valuable content and ask for email addresses for the download. You’ll need to have some really valuable content for this to work, but if you do, people will give you their email address to get valuable information.

The Contest

Promote some sort of contest with a free give away. Registrants need to give their email address upon entry. This works. People love a good raffle.

Trade Shows

When you are at trade shows, collect email addresses and enter them into your database. Have a bowl on your table and offer a raffle for business cards. It’s a great way to draw exhibition visitors into your booth too.

Incoming Telephone Calls

Have your customer service reps and sales agents ask for emails. Then make sure to send an email follow-up thanking the prospect or customer for their call.

Always Thank Your (Potential) Customers

Which brings me to the final point. When people subscribe to your email list, make sure to thank them. Let them know how much you value your relationship and will respect their time.

This article is part of Keystone’s Questions Asked Series. We are regularly asked Internet marketing questions and are committed to posting these questions and answers on our blog.