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When I redesign websites for clients, one of my first questions is whether they have a database of email addresses they’ve captured. Invariably, the answer is no or not really. The “not really” clients have email addresses, usually in a free email account like Gmail or Yahoo, but they can’t tell me how most of the names originated. In other words, they know their friends and families are on their list, but can’t tell me how most of the other names got on the list.
What autoresponder should I use?
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The foundation of Internet marketing and one important reason to have a website or blog is to collect email addresses. Without a house list, you have no way to reach people to actively sell more products or services. You have no way to make money, except to hope people somehow find your site and buy something or do what ever it is you want them to do once they arrive. This is a very random way to build a business.
Here’s a list of 17 simple ways to start capturing email addresses and building an ongoing relationship with prospects and clients or customers. If you haven’t already done several of the following things to capture email addresses (and ideally at least a first name), then pick out two and try to implement them this week.
Give Something Away (Lead Magnet)
1) Create a free newsletter and have people subscribe. Make the name field mandatory so you can customize emails in the future.
2) Offer free reports or white papers on your website or blog and build in a squeeze page where the prospect has to enter an email address and name before they can download the report. A squeeze or gated page is only seen when the visitor clicks on the free report offer.
3) Put a free tool on your website and use a squeeze page to capture email addresses. Tools can be a calculator to estimate return on investment for an email campaign, a quiz or poll, a needs assessment—something your audience would like to do in exchange for their email.
4) Add online videos to your site with a squeeze page. We use and recommend Lead Pages. They are the only company to deliver the first message to almost ALL inboxes. Click here for a free trial to Lead Pages Pro. We get paid a small affiliate commission through our affiliate relationship with Lead Pages.
5) Give information away in the form of a webinar or teleseminar. It costs you virtually nothing to set up and all participants must provide an email address in the sign-up process.
6) Do short one-hour live classes on your topic and have the participants sign in with name and email address.
7) Create free podcasts in exchange for email addresses.
8) Create online forms with a free offer—for a project estimate, a free consultation—anything that makes sense in your business. The form, of course, requires a name and email address.
Create Informative Posts to Get Traffic
9) Have an article section on your site requiring an email address for entry. If you need help starting a blog, click here for our free tutorial How to Start a Blog
10) Develop e-books, audio programs or other products to sell. During the buying process, the customer needs to include an email address.
11) Develop a blog or other social networking site that feeds visitors to your website where they can give up their email address in one of the multiple ways you’ve designed to capture this information. For blogging, we recommend hosting a WordPress blog using Siteground. Click here to get hosting for under $5
How to Find Others to Help You Build Your List
12) Write for other people’s blogs and link to your website—a variation on #11.
13) Find others who have successful e-newsletters and offer to write an article with a link to your site.
14) Offer to promote other people’s products or services that are a good fit with your audience and have them do the same for you. The key with list swaps is finding others who have quality lists already. Anyone who responds to you directly or comes to your website becomes a name you can add to your list.
15) Always include a “forward to a friend” option in e-newsletters and emails.
16) Get your website included in high quality directories that will send prospects to your site.
17) Make sure you current clients or customers are on your list and, once in a while, create an offer they can send to a friend or colleague. If you have a good relationship with them, they will be happy to send the offer to at least one other person.
Are you getting the message that even free information isn’t really free? Everything costs your prospects their email address. Your goal is to find as many creative and natural ways to capture emails on your website and in all your electronic marketing efforts.
Tune in next week to find out how to organize the emails you collect to make the best use of them. Traffic Tuesdays is all about getting targeted traffic to your website.