Take a look at your inbox right now. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

You probably have several newsletters in there, right? Whether they’re about your alma mater, industry, hobby, or even some that you don’t remember signing up for. What about your business? No matter the size of your company, building an email list is something you can’t neglect. Check out our answers to some common questions about email marketing below.

Why do you need an email list?

You can have 75,000 followers on Instagram, but what happens the day Instagram shuts down? Or Facebook changes its algorithm AGAIN and the already-abysmal reach there gets even worse? You need a way to reach your fans and customers outside of these platforms. 

How do you set up an email newsletter?

That’s really a whole blog itself. We won’t get into the nitty-gritty here, but it really depends on your familiarity with creating newsletters, whether in a drag-and-drop/WYSIWYG platform or one that involves you writing the HTML yourself. We use Constant Contact for our newsletter, but MailChimp is always a good choice for someone just starting out. 

How do you build your email list?

You’ve got some choices here! Think about the reasons you’ve signed up for email newsletters in the past. It’s probably safe to say it was because you were offered a discount on something, right? If you’re selling a service or a product (instead of, say, writing this newsletter solely because you find whatever the subject is interesting), offer a coupon or discount to subscribers. 

Another way is by creating lead magnets. If you’ve ever been enticed to download a full report on something you’re interested in and had to give up your email address to get it, you’ve seen these before. Often, lead magnets take the form of gated content, like in the example above, which requires the reader to fork over their information and agree to sign up for the company’s newsletter to get whatever that content is. Another one is offering something to supplement your blog or a little bit of what you already do. For example, if you run a coffee shop supply company, you can offer your audience a downloadable guide to making the perfect pour-over in exchange for their email. 

Please note, however, that this only really works if you’ve proved that your content is worthwhile and that you know your stuff. If your social media posts aren’t great and you don’t update your blog, no one is going to sign up for more of the same, even if your newsletter just happens to be outstanding. 

Another of our favorite ways to do this is to offer an incentive for referrals. Programs like Scalemail allow your readers to pass on your newsletter to their friends they think would like it, and the reader is given credit for the new subscriber. The rewards for this can be just as minor as putting a shout-out in the newsletter or as much as giving $100 to anyone who refers 100 subscribers. 

Lastly, just ask. Post it on your social media channels, your email signature, and (obviously) your website. Don’t shy away from pop-up and slider boxes. Yes, we all hated them in 1998, but they’re the most common way to get people to subscribe to your newsletter, if not the most effective. 

What other questions do you have about email marketing? 

(Also, don’t forget to sign up for the HM DL! ;))