Sometimes, it's okay to take shortcuts in your marketing. Sending 9 tweets instead of 10 one day of the week is probably not going to make your metrics sag too much. Having 7 bullet points instead of 10 in a blog post? Probably not going to make your readers angry and upset.
Other times, taking a shortcut could make or break the success of a marketing channel -- especially in email marketing. For example, if you send one email to everyone in your database because you didn't have time to segment specific lists, chances are you'll have a pretty low response rate ... and it's possible your future deliverability rates will be affected. Yikes!
So if you want to make sure you're not mucking up this really important marketing channel, keep on reading. We teamed up with Bryan Harris to create an introduction to email marketing video series, and here's the first one of the bunch. We'll walk you through the first big step to having a successful email marketing strategy: growing your list the right way.
Check out the video and/or transcription below to get the inside scoop on building up your contact database in a way that'll make your subscribers, your boss, and your bottom line happy.
Not a fan of video? Read the transcription below.
How to Organically Build Your Email List [Transcribed]
Hi, I'm Bryan with HubSpot. Today we're talking about how to build an email list the right way. I'm going to share with you a two-step process that you can start using today to grow your email list.
But before we get started, I have four words for us to remember: Never buy a list.
Let's be real for a second -- no one likes spam. And if you're buying lists and sending email to them, that's exactly what you're doing. There's no such thing as a good list for sale. The people on the list don't want to hear from you. And it hurts your email deliverability and IP reputation, which means future emails you send that people actually want will have a much harder time getting past spam filters.
So the big question is: How do you go from a company that's in the habit of buying email lists and spamming people to one that's growing email lists full of people who are eager to hear from them?
There are two parts to this answer:
I'm going to break them down for you and show you how to get both on your website.
How to Get Traffic
First you need to start blogging. Blogging brings people who are interested in your industry to your website. Each article you write is a chance for search engines to index your site and for readers to share your content.
Think about any time you have a question. What's the first thing you do? You Google it. If there is an article with the exact answer to the question you're looking for, that's the article you click to. If you reverse-engineer this process for your business, you can produce highly targeted traffic and leads.
For example, at HubSpot, when anyone types in the phrase "what is marketing automation" into Google, we're the first result that comes up. A large percentage of people who search will click on the first result they find. And since we've written an article with this exact title and about this topic, we're able to generate a lot of traffic and leads from this page.
Just ask yourself: what are the most common questions I get from prospective customers? That question will be the title of your blog post. The answer to that question? That's the body of your blog article.
Now repeat this process for all of the most common questions you get and you'll get better and better at producing this educational content. If the answer to these questions are what your current and future customers are looking for, you'll start building long-term, sustainable traffic to your website -- which is exactly what you need to do to start building your email list.
Let's say that you ran an explainer video production company and the number one question asked is "how much does an explainer video cost?" If you were to write an article answering that question and begin to rank high for that search term, over time you could expect to see an increase in traffic to your website.
Now that you have that traffic coming to your site, how do you convert that traffic into email subscribers, leads, and eventually customers?
How to Convert Traffic Into Email Addresses
Our favorite method of converting visitors into email subscribers is to give people something in exchange for their email address. For example, there's this awesome Mexican restaurant right around the corner from my office called Tacos Mamacita. Every Friday, they have a jar sitting at the cash register that you can drop your business card into. Once a week they do a drawing, and the winner wins a free lunch. I give them something small, and they give me something large in exchange.
You need to do the exact same thing on your website to convert traffic into email subscribers and leads.
We suggest starting with two types of free offers. One top-of-the-funnel, educational piece of content like an ebook, and one middle-of-the-funnel offer to let someone speak with your sales team to get a demo or a quote or a free consultation or whatever works for your specific business. By having these two types of offers on your website, you can capture potential leads and convert customers that are in different stages of the buying process.
For example, this specific HubSpot blog post has calls-to-action for both types of free offers. On the right-hand sidebar there's a call-to-action titled "Are you evaulating marketing software." When you click that, it brings you to a page that lets you fill out a form to demo the software. At the bottom of the blog post is another call-to-action, which'll send you to a landing page with a form for a free ebook called Optimizing Landing Pages for Lead Generation, which is related to the blog post topic.
So remember. Stop buying lists and start focusing on two things: traffic and conversions. If you already have a steady stream of traffic coming to your website, you could see immediate results. Your specific results will vary depending on your exact industry.
But remember the key to all of this -- the key to building a healthy organic list -- is helping people and providing theme industry-relevant content in exchange for their email address.
Share This Video With Others
What other inbound tactics have you used to grow your email list? Share your ideas with us in the comments.
Originally published Apr 24, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated June 09 2021