In our first back-to-basics episode, Liz covers how to build an email list in 2019. In this series, we’ll revisit our early episodes and share the latest and greatest tips for success.

Episode 0343

How to Build An Email List in 2019

Sandro [00:00:06] Welcome back to Liz and Sandro’s Marketing Podcast. We are the podcast that helps your small business grow through advice and information on all things digital marketing including social media, email marketing, pay-per-click, Google ads and so much more. Today Liz is going to go over something I’m excited about, something I know she’s an expert on, how to build an email list in 2019.

Liz [00:00:30] That’s right. We are calling this our back to basics series. We are going back into our content vault. We are covering some topics that we’ve covered in the past, but we’re also giving you the latest and greatest. And I wanted to do an episode on email list building because it was one of our very first episodes back in 2016, and over the course of 300-some episodes, I think it’s 300.

Sandro [00:00:54] 350? Yeah.

Liz [00:00:55] 350. Right.

Sandro [00:00:57] That’s the third anniversary is coming up.

Liz [00:00:57] Super excited for that. We had some great tips in that original episode. We have shared additional insight but I thought this would be a really good succinct update for 2019. So right off the bat. One of the big things that I want to reiterate is that your email list is still your biggest marketing asset. It gives you a direct line of communication or a fairly direct line of communication with your clients and customers, which a lot of these other channels that we talk about, they no longer do that. Remember, social media is pretty much pay to play now. Yeah, you might have a little bit of organic reach but generally speaking Facebook, Instagram you know again, these are all pay to play.

Liz [00:01:36] The other thing that I want to really reiterate, and this is something new that’s evolved over the last couple years, is that your subscriber list is valuable because you can upload it to many different places and create, well on Facebook it’s called a custom audience and then a lookalike audience. You can build on the value of that subscriber list by using it in other places, not just on a Mailchimp or Constant Contact. So I think that’s a really important thing to add for this 2019 update. So I have, I have five tips that we’ll go through. All of them except for one apply to both B2B, business to business, and business to consumer. I have one that is specifically business to business and I will, we’ll get into that in a moment.

Liz [00:02:28] My first tip, tip number one is fairly simple but you’d be surprised how many times I talk to clients and they’re not doing anything with email marketing. So my first tip is to just compile a list of your existing customers. Like I said, I can’t tell you how many times I have met with potential clients and I ask them, “Well, what are you doing in the way of email marketing?” And nothing, nothing at all. Some of them have been in business for years. I started working with a client once who had upwards of 40,000 emails and wasn’t doing a single thing with email marketing. So tip number one, if you are at, if you’re starting at zero, compile a list of your existing customers, get them in a spreadsheet and start exploring different platforms like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, again your..

Sandro [00:03:19] Facebook ads.

Liz [00:03:20] Facebook ads. Yeah, this is going to be your biggest marketing asset. So start with what you’ve got. And by the way, I don’t care if you compile your list and it has 25 names. That’s, that is a place to start.

Sandro [00:03:31] Facebook only needs 21 to start.

Liz [00:03:33] Oh, is it that?

Sandro [00:03:34] Yeah.

Liz [00:03:34] Oh wow, I didn’t realize. I though It was still a hundred.

Sandro [00:03:37] No, I don’t think so.

Liz [00:03:37] Or, oh that’s a hundred if you want to create a lookalike audience. Probably, yeah. OK. I believe it was Pat Flynn who said that if you just have even 20, 25, 50 people who have raised their hand and said yes, they want information from you, that is a fantastic place to start. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you need a subscriber list with five hundred, a thousand, fifty thousand. You don’t. Start with what you have and continue to build.

Sandro [00:04:04] I believe it was even Rand Fishkin from Moz who said an email list of 100 is better than any Facebook organic reach these days.

Liz [00:04:13] Sure. Yeah.

Sandro [00:04:14] So as Facebook organic reach has declined over the past three years of course.

Liz [00:04:19] Absolutely. Now I am all for doing things transparently and if you have never emailed this list before, it would be a good idea for your first email to include some kind of explanation of what you’re doing, how you’re starting to go down this path of email marketing and definitely giving people the option to continue to opt in or opt out if they so choose. GDPR was not in place back in 2016 when we recorded this episode. It is now, you want to do things like I said, transparently and aboveboard and legally. So keep that in mind.

Liz [00:04:58] My second tip involves some good old fashioned networking to connect with new contacts. Now even though we are talking about a digital marketing tool, I don’t think you should ever ignore the fact that relationship-building is a part of building any business. Whether you’re a solo attorney, a home contractor or a B2B e-commerce website, I think relationships are everything. And I think you should make sure that this approach is part of your list building strategy. Sure, its not going to add 100 subscribers to your list overnight, but a few a month, over time. Again, this isn’t a race to get to 1,000 or 20,000 subscribers. This is something you’re going to be building over the lifetime of your business and adding quality contacts, even if it’s a handful a month I think is really important. And again, always get permission. Always ask. Just let them know that, hey, you know I’d love to add you to my list, we send out maybe one or two emails a month. Get that okay before you just start adding people to your list.

Sandro [00:05:58] That’s kind of like link building. You want to get one or two a month or just, there’s no actual number, you just…

Liz [00:06:02] Yeah, you just always want to be working toward it. Yeah.

Sandro [00:06:05] Good quality links, good quality email addresses, yeah.

Liz [00:06:07] Definitely. Now my third tip is, I’m going to kind of generally summarize this as some sort of lead capture form on your website. This could take many, many forms. It could literally be as simple as, hey you want monthly insight? Join our list. Or it could be, hey you want to enter to win this prize or get 10 percent, I mean, this could be anything really as long as it makes sense for your business for your product or service. You certainly want it to be in line with what you’re offering. But it is really important, don’t ignore those lead capture forms on your website. I think that’s a very, that’s low hanging fruit. That’s a really simple way to build your subscriber list over time. And again, make sure you’re GDPR compliant if that applies to you. You’ve got the appropriate disclaimers somewhere on your website. I feel like, any time I go to any website now, I’m getting that little message that pops up, “we use cookies are you cool with that?” And then you obviously are opting into the email list and you’re, you know abiding by their rules, their data rules, so.

Sandro [00:07:17] Make sure it’s mobile friendly. I would say.

Liz [00:07:20] Definitely. Yeah, I think probably back in 2016 we were just really, we were talking about the importance of mobile, but we weren’t, yeah we weren’t all in like we are now so. Good point.

Liz [00:07:32] My fourth tip is the tip that only applies to B2B companies and that is lead list building or lead lists that you purchase. I do not advise this in the B2C space. I just, I think it’s very difficult to verify the authenticity or integrity of a B2C list. You have no idea if Joe Schmoe consumer is actually at all interested in the tires that you’re selling. I mean it’s very, very difficult to determine that. But in the B2B space, you know, myself as a business who’s reaching out to other businesses, it’s very easy for me to generate a lead list, maybe go through their websites and say, “hey, you know I noticed that you might be missing this or you’re not using video on your site,” or whatever. It’s a little easier to hone in on some potential pain points, send out a marketing message and then start to develop a relationship through email.

Liz [00:08:31] So I’m OK if you are purchasing lead lists for the B2B space but not for consumer. I just don’t think that ever works out well. And certainly if you are doing it in the B2B space you know again, do it ethically, do it transparently. Don’t spam them, don’t bombard them every day with something. I won’t get into it in this episode but when we do business to business campaigns and we generate lead lists for clients, we try to take a very tactful approach to this type of marketing. Again, we’re not spamming, we’re not bombarding them. And certainly if you know, they want to opt out, we get some of those responses too. You know, you’re not going to create a dialogue with every potential lead you reach out to. So yeah, again, don’t spam, don’t bombard. But I do think that purchasing lists in this space is okay.

Liz [00:09:27] My fifth and final tip is to build a long term content strategy. Building your list takes time and throughout this entire journey you’re going to want to continually be providing valuable content. This could be in the form of blogs, videos, podcasts, white papers. Whatever is applicable to your audience. But don’t ever stop producing good content. If they find it helpful, they will share it and the snowball effect is going to occur, you’re going to continue to grow your list over time. So yeah, you know sending out a good piece of content twice a year is, it’s not enough. You need to be reaching out to them on a consistent basis with good, valuable, thought leadership type content. And again, that’s just going to continually build upon itself over time.

Sandro [00:10:17] Thanks so much Liz. This is great information. Email really is so important as we’ve always said. Your email list and your website are the two things you own and are things you should invest as much time and quality energy into. So thanks for sharing these tips.

Liz [00:10:33] Of course. And it is interesting to see how much things have changed in the last three years.

Sandro [00:10:38] Correct, and all the things that have changed, including ways you could use that email list, like targeting. Thanks so much Liz and thank you for joining us. If you like what you hear we’d love a review. Head on over to iTunes. We would greatly appreciate it. If you have a question we’d love to hear it. We’ll give you a shout out and a link back to your show. Our email address is in our show notes. You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Thanks again for joining us. We’ll see you next time.