One of the smartest things you can do for your small business is set up an email list. While social media picks and chooses what you get to see and interact with, good ole’ email never fails to reach your chosen audience.
According to Leighton Interactive, email marketing saw on average, a 3800 percent return on investment (ROI) for companies in 2018. That’s a way more significant number than Facebook.
With over one billion users and a simple setup, the easiest way to create a powerful email list is with Gmail. But, before you start the nuts and bolts of an email list, let’s start at square one: building a list. There are three items you must consider when building out your list:
- Quality: You want real people who check their email daily
- Relevance: These people should be interested in your brand
- Volume: Once you’ve hit both of those previous mile markers, you can worry about how many people are on the list
Pro tip: Build your email list using information you’ve gathered from your site. This information could come from people who have purchased your products or signed up for exclusive deals or content. Don’t acquire subscribers. Just because you’ll have a big list doesn’t mean a single one of those emails will be a quality lead.
How to Build Your List in Gmail
Gmail is easy and customizable. Because everything is so simple, some features are hidden in plain sight. For example, you can create Gmail distribution lists using Gmail groups. These distribution lists allow you to use a single list name equating to the email addresses of the people featured.
To start, click the Gmail menu to the left of your screen and select Contacts to put together a group.
The Google Contact Manager is divided into two parts:
- The left section shows existing groups, with some groups created automatically based on your Google profile.
- The right section displays the contact name and email addresses. This is where you’ll have to manually add each member to the group you want to start.
There are two basic groups:
- Existing customers
- Prospects (i.e. anyone who’s sent an email or signed up for the list)
Scroll the list of your contacts and check the ones you wish to include into your group. Give your group a name like “sales leads” or “nurture” depending on what the need for the group is.
Once a group is created, emailing the members is easy-peasy.
- Open Gmail
- Click Compose
- Type the group name in the text box and boom – there’s the group
Tips for Engaging Your Contacts
It’s important to think ahead. Here are some tips to consider when and before building out an email list.
Don’t wait, start collecting emails now, even if it’s just on a yellow notepad. Gather all the emails of past customers and include everyone you have on file. Dig through your CRM and find every email, even if they’re old. This will give you the bones of a solid email list.
Create a blog and get busy creating content. Well-written blog content brings people to your site and offers an incentive to subscribe if the content is valuable. The more content your site has, the more people can potentially fall down the rabbit hole and eventually sign up. Don’t forget to add multiple Call To Action buttons (CTA) throughout the content and site. Give people every reason to want to join in on your journey.
Pro tip: Don’t make signing up hard. Just ask for a name and an email address. Anything longer could turn people away.
Offer something valuable
Many times, people see a sign-up sheet and they balk at the idea of sharing personal information. To combat this, you’re going to need to entice them by offering something valuable in exchange for a sign-up. This is known as a lead magnet.
Offer an exclusive ebook or whitepaper in exchange for an email address. Some stores do special discount codes or offer free samples.
Creating an email list, and one that’s engaging, is ultra-important in the world of small business. It’s easy to do and the returns are sky-high. If you’ve got any questions about other ways to help your small business, check out our other articles on the ScaleFactor blog.