1. Free content
This value exchange is one of the most popular list-building techniques on the Internet. All the entrepreneurial pros are using it for one reason: it works. When you provide valuable content in exchange for a subscriber’s name and email address, you’ll see the highest conversation rates of any tactic on the web.
One of the reasons many brands and entrepreneurs form partnerships and affiliate-marketing programs is for the value of connections that are outside your immediate sphere of influence. When you market someone else’s product to your list, they get the benefit of potentially getting sign-ups or sales from your list, and vice versa. This can be a valuable list-building technique, but only align yourself with people and programs that match your values and what you do.
When you or your business are featured in the press, you get free, organic marketing pushes to your business just through the halo of that exposure. That means more eyes on your site and a better opportunity to opt your new audience into your list. You can include a special offer for those readers, listeners or viewers as well with your coverage, which can help drive conversion — or simply ask the press outlet to include your contact information so you can build your list through outreach. It takes a bit more effort this way, but it’s still effective and I’d rather spend 15 seconds manually adding a new contact to my list than not have that contact at all.
4. Live events
When you speak at live events or give in-person workshops, ask for business cards and encourage sign-ups to your newsletter.
5. List purchase
This topic is a bit on the fringe of best practices, but the reality is that depending on what industry you’re in — there are some email lists available for purchase. Be very careful with this tactic. It can work, but it can also be very expensive and result in a low conversation rate as none of these people sought you out.
6. Strategic opt-in
If you have an online shopping cart, make sure that email opt-in to your list is the default-selected option at checkout. This is a strategic, simple way to get more people on your list, and while some may unsubscribe after their initial purchases, most won’t if you’re doing a good job with your emails.
When you offer webinars, always require registration information, even if it’s free, for an email opt-in. You’ve done this yourself for probably every webinar or teleconference seminar you’ve ever attended. Build your list and ask for the participant to secure their spot by entering their email, then send them the call-in or website details.
8. Registration confirmation
If your website includes any kind of a membership or account-creation feature, even if it’s just to sign in to leave comments on blog posts, you should be capturing that email information and opting those individuals into your list. By utilizing this opportunity of account registration, you can email them a confirmation and now you’ve ensured they’re opted in and that you have a valid email address.