The Complete Guide to List Building and Email Marketing

Barack Obama’s email list is worth half a billion dollars. Do I have your attention yet?

Every business needs to have a web strategy, and every web strategy needs to incorporate list building and email marketing. If you don’t, you’re missing a massive opportunity to engage and interact with your users … and to sell, presell, upsell, cross sell, and turn one time customers into repeat customers. You need a list.

In fact, good list building and email marketing is responsible for the lion’s share of online profits made by many Fortune 500 companies, web-trepreneurs, and affiliate marketers. It’s extremely powerful. In fact “list marketing” is so powerful that it takes shape in many forms; telemarketing, fax marketing, and direct mail marketing as well as email marketing.

Isn’t it just spam? The difference between spam and good email marketing is this: permission. It’s permission-based marketing when you ask users to subscribe and give them the option not to. And when your users can unsubscribe at any time, quickly and easily. And when you provide great value that fulfills their expectations.

Then, it’s a trusted connection. And it can be the foundation to a multi-million dollar business.

So to help you put your list building and email marketing strategy together, here’s a … well, a list … of resources where you can find the tools, software solutions, and strategies for building your lists and launching your email marketing campaigns …

1. Feedburner

WordPress, combined with a Feedburner account, and the FeedSmith plugin to unite the two is as simple and easy as it gets … and best of all, the whole package is free. WordPress is a great CMS for all but the most massive and complex websites. And Feedburner allows readers to subscribe to your “blog” posts by email (over half my subscribers do), as well as giving you metrics and some other great tools.

Now, allowing people to subscribe to your blog through RSS or email is not exactly list building (some would say). But it’s one of the things that makes blogs so powerful; some blogs have more than a million subscribers … if that’s not a powerful list, I don’t know what is.

2. Services, Software, and Integrated Solutions

AWeber, MailChimp, Campaigner, Vertical Response, iContact, and Constant Contact are all email marketing services. They give you the code to put subscription forms on your websites, track your subscribers, and enable you to create complex, targeted campaigns that can generate, personalize and send out emails according to criteria you specify. Since most of them offer free limited trials, you might as well take a few for a spin before you decide which one to go with.

Interspire, L-Soft, and Group Mail create email marketing software. Hosting your own solution has a higher startup cost than using a service; you have to buy the software, setup a server, and you’ll need a little more expertise to run it yourself. But if you have a big list, it’ll be cheaper than paying service fees in the long run. You also have complete in-house control over your list; a very valuable asset to your business. One good strategy is to start with a service and then migrate into a self-hosted solution as your email marketing efforts grow.

NetSuite and Salesforce are for larger companies. These kinds of solutions do much more than just email marketing. They allow you to integrate that strategy into the rest of your business complete with metrics, ecommerce, inventory control, and even accounting. These tools make email marketing a true component of your business and give you access to a network of professionals that can help you get the results you’re looking for.

3. Getting Traffic to Your Signup Page

Before you can start email marketing, you have to build a list. The strategies for list building can be broken down into 2 parts; first, you need to generate traffic to your signup page …

4. Motivating People to Subscribe

Now that you’ve got traffic flowing to your website the second thing to do to build your list is to motivate or incentivize people to subscribe …

5. Email Marketing Strategies

Finally, you’ve got the tools in place and you’ve started building an email list. Now it’s time to put some smart email marketing strategies to use …

Now you’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll.

Email marketing has one of the highest ROIs of any marketing method, online or off. Making it work for you comes from two things: integrity and relevance. With those two things in mind, you’re literally building a vehicle that produces income or influence at the push of a button …


3 thoughts on “The Complete Guide to List Building and Email Marketing”

  1. Hi, email marketing is one of those topics that seems to go under the radar these days and although email is most widely known; at the same time its also underutilized by
    a lot of online marketers including offline local business, so thanks for sharing…

  2. As a Marketing Consultant it’s a hard sell to get my clients on board with email marketing. After reading your (this) article I think I will have to build my case by putting together a little portfolio (so to speak) to present to them to help drive the point home… maybe even a video. May I include your article? (without making any changes for sure.)

    Thanks again for great information.

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