By Tahir Akbar March 7, 2016
Email is a very powerful and affordable lead generation tool that businesses can employ. Given the innovative products and solutions offered by marketing automation companies, email’s ability to deliver famous 44% return on the investment has enhanced further. However, the success of email campaigns depends upon a range of factors, like; content, ESP functionality, sender’s repute, and quality of your mailing list. If the database is of substandard quality, even a perfect set of email and content will serve no purpose.
Yes, it’s true. If you do not have a quality e-mail marketing list, you are reducing the potential you have to drive traffic, generate sales/leads, and build your brand name. This is the single biggest factor that can make or break things for your marketing and lead capturing campaigns. Therefore, companies with decent marketing budgets go for premium data subscriptions, special data acquisition programs, and run active lead generation campaigns to build contacts list.
However not every business enterprise enjoys this much financial freedom to invest hundreds of thousands in database development but this does not mean they can’t do anything. There are some very simple and affordable (some free) ways to build a quality email list for your drip campaigns. Some of those are being explained in the following.
1. Export Your Social Contacts:
The starting point of your database development should be your own social networks. LinkedIn and Facebook provide you the option to export your contacts information as csv file that you can store on your machine that you can import in your email system later on. Given the requirements of your email marketing system, just format the database as first name, second name, job title, email, contact number, and company name. Import the sheet into your email marketing software and use in the campaign.
Given the fact that these people know you or your products, they can be very good prospects and the success rate of your campaigns goes higher further. “Since most of the people in my social network have the basic information about my business, sending them a monthly update or newsletter has been very valuable experience for my business”- says James Alexander, the CEO of The Flooring Artists a wood floor refinishing company in Colorado. He runs a small business with limited marketing budget, so had to use LinkedIn contacts as starting point in email list building. So why can’t you?
2. Bribe Prospects With Engaging Content:
One of the best ways to acquire quality data is to start your own database building campaign. This requires to bribe something in return of data and nothing could be more valuable than quality content. You can design e-guides, how to tips, prepare a study, or share something informational with the prospects. Promote your offer page on the social networking sites and seek opt in. Even if you invest just $1 a day on your list building through content and its promotion, you’ll get very good list within a quarter. This might be a lengthy process but it’s equally rewarding too.
3. Utilize “Pop Up Opt-In” Forms:
From Forbes to Social Media Examiner and Marketo, there are many portals that use this technique effectively. When you land on their post, they’ll show you a push notification with something similar to “Don’t Miss Any Important Update- Subscribe for Weekly Alerts”. If you’ve a blog, make sure you use such pop up opt-in form. Just make sure your words don’t imply daily or frequent emails because people don’t want to be bombarded with frequent updates. Instead, use the words like “Join Our Weekly Alert and Stay Informed about The Hottest Blog Post”. You can ask your copywriter to give you some captivating lines that could attract people’s attention and motivate them to opt-in.
4. Use Short Forms:
This is very important tactic. Being a user myself, I would definitely hesitate to provide every information about me in first place. Make sure that your lead generation campaigns have shorter forms that encourage prospects to avoid bounce. You may follow up for more information if needed but don’t ask contact number something that isn’t of significant importance in the first attempt. Name, job/company and official email should give you a fair idea about the prospect.
5. Host Your Content at 3rd Party Sites:
If your blog or landing pages do not enjoy greater traffic and you want to use a third party channel with good traffic, contact content hosting websites. Business2Community’s whitepapers portal is one example, where you can get your premium content hosted. Since Business2Community enjoys very good traffic, your content will have greater exposure to a wide audience. This is not only a good content marketing channel but also generates good contacts database. Digital Marketing Depot and ClickZIntel are two other portals that offer similar service.
6. Host Online Webinar:
One of the easiest ways to build your list is by hosting online webinars and seek registrations. People participating in would happily provide details provided you are promising something exciting in the webinar. Just make sure the topic is interesting and your guests and speakers offer valuable insight to the audience. Moreover, market your webinar with all available resources because unless people learn about it, they won’t be able to attend and you’ll miss the important data.
7. Use Your YouTube Channel:
I’ve seen a lot of people running their YouTube channel successfully not only for marketing but also for list building. Since they’ve integrated their YouTube marketing with other channels, the results have gone more positive. See, there are some graphic designers who do a brilliant Photoshop tutorial and at the end provide link to the (training) PSD files in the description. When a person clicks on the link, it guides him to an opt-in page he has to submit some details to access the file. Since people are in need of the particular PSD to apply the tutorial tactics, they happily share their information. Why can’t you do the same?
8. Promote Contests:
People love contests and happily participate it. All you need is to make it interesting and challenging. Some questionnaire, interesting quiz, opinion poll, or some interesting call to action (like: make our logo) to invite actions from your audience where they could win something against a particular activity. Your contest not only helps in branding and sales but also in list building. You can promote your Free Giveaway, Free Book or Free Gift Hamper, Promote and have entrants sign up using their email address. You can promote your contests on your website, blog, some guest blogging site, your social media profiles, or all of the above.
9. Engage in Guest Blogging:
Write articles and quality blogs for decent portals with good PR and rich domain authority ranking. Add call to action in your blog posts and invite opt in on your landing page. John Hurry; the founder of Natural Remedy Ideas credits his business’s success to guest blogging. “It not only generates good traffic but also provides decent opportunity to attract opt-ins for our healthcare products”. See if this helps in your niche. At least there’s nothing wrong in trying out new things.
10. Grab Offline Opportunities:
Use every offline opportunity to acquire data. You can use your customers’ database to begin with. Moreover, invite participants for meetups, conferences, and educational seminars to register via online form. You can also use trade-shows and other promotional events to acquire data and import it into your email list.
Bonus Tip: Search for Affordable Data Selling Source:
I do not recommend data buying since there is no guarantee of quality in someone else’s generated list. There are certainly some good companies that offer high quality data but their pricing may not be affordable for a small business. Therefore, make it the last point in your check list for database development and do proper research before making the final decision about paid database.
I hope the given suggestions would help you build your email list through some affordable and free platforms. If you think I’ve missed something, don’t forget to mention in the comment box below.
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