At Spearhead Multimedia, we’ve been doing email marketing for over 20 years and it continues to hold the top spot for marketing to your best salespeople, your very own customers.
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools for small businesses. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4300 percent return on investment (ROI) for businesses in the United States.
This is because email marketing is easy to manage, gives you full control, and allows you to establish direct contact with your customers.
It’s important to understand that a lot of your success with email marketing depends entirely on the email marketing software you choose because they are responsible for making sure that your emails actually get delivered.
If you aren’t careful, then you will end up paying a lot more money for fewer features and terrible deliverability (which causes you to lose even more money).
A good email marketing service enables you to create highly engaging emails. It also allows you to manage your contacts, segment users into groups, and track the performance of your email campaigns.
Most importantly, a good email marketing service ensures that your emails do not end up in the spam folder.
We at Spearhead Multimedia recommend Constant Contact. We’ve been creating successful email campaigns for clients and ourselves since 1999. We have watched them respond to changing trends and customer’s needs. They are a top tier email marketing company and have one of the highest email success rates in the industry.
Constant Contact is one of the largest and fastest growing email marketing services in the world. It is also the easiest to use and beginner friendly email marketing service.
You can easily manage your email lists, contacts, email templates, marketing calendar, and more. At Spearhead Multimedia, most of our clients have us help collect and sort their contacts, create branded emails and provide the reporting, all done through Constant Contact.
Your account provides access to easy tracking and reporting, built-in social media sharing tools, free image library, list segmentation, Facebook ads integration, and a powerful eCommerce integration for Shopify stores. We will set up automated opt-in forms on your website to help build your customer list.
Their Email Plus accounts also come with powerful features like email automation, surveys & polls, coupons, online donations, and subject line A/B testing to maximize your open rate.
Constant Contact offers unmatched support with live chat, phone calls, email, community support, and a vast library of helpful resources.
Aside from online training, they also offer in-person live seminars across the United States. This allows small businesses to quickly learn the basics of email marketing and start using it to grow their business like a pro.
For all the reasons above, we rate and exclusively use Constant Contact the best email marketing service for small businesses.
Constant Contact has a 60-day free trial (no credit card required). After that their pricing starts as low as $20/month.
Prepay six or 12 months and save up to 15%. Nonprofit organizations can prepay and save up to 30%.
We’re confident you’ll like Constant Contact Email Marketing. But if you don’t, and you decide to close your account within 30 days of signing up, they’ll refund 100% of your payment. View Terms & Conditions
Are you considering building an email list, but have some doubts about why it is needed? Many business owners and bloggers don’t realize the importance of building an email list when they’re first starting out. Most people usually change their mind when they see the impact email lists can have on someone else’s traffic and revenue. In this article, we will share the top reasons why building an email list is important (with real case studies). We will also show you how to start building your email list – step by step.
In this beginner’s guide, we will cover the following topics:
What is an email list?
Why building an email list is important
Social media vs email marketing
What marketing experts are saying about email marketing
What do you need to start building an email list
How to choose the best email marketing service
How to grow your email list and get more subscribers
Finding new list building strategies and resources
By the end of this article, you should have answers to all your questions about building an email list.
What is an Email List?
An email list is a special list of names and email addresses of people who gave you permission to send them updates and promotions from your business.
You can build your email list inside a marketing software and send bulk email notifications to everyone regarding your blog updates, online store, or other business services.
Why Building an Email List is Important?
According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4300 percent return on investment (ROI) for businesses in the USA.
Because email subscribers joined your email list from your website and verified their identity by clicking on a link (double-optin), they are extremely interested in what you have to offer. This is why they are more likely to convert into paying customers.
In our business, email list gets 10 times higher conversions than social media campaigns.
This makes sense if you think about the reasons that make email an incredibly powerful communication channel:
1. Email is Personal
Email allows you to land into a user’s inbox. There is no ranking system limiting your reach. It is very direct and personal.
2. Email is Purposeful
To get updates from you, a user fills out a form to signup for your email list and confirm their email address. Someone doing this much work is obviously interested in hearing from you, and they are much more receptive to your message.
3. Email is Targeted
As we mentioned earlier, the user has already shown interest in your product or content. Since you already know what they like, you can deliver them highly relevant offers to get better results. This is called segmentation, and we will cover that later in the article.
4. You Own Your Email List
You do not own Facebook, Twitter, or Google. Your social media campaigns and SEO efforts can go to waste when these platforms change their policies. On the other hand, you own your email list, and it is not influenced by decisions of other businesses.
5. Email is One-on-One
People read email in the privacy of their inbox. The message is not on a public timeline or newsfeed. They can ask you questions directly in private with confidence. This helps build trust and connection.
6. More People Use Email Several Times a Day
You may have heard that Facebook has 1.4 billion and Twitter has 100 million daily active users. What you have may not have heard, is the number of people using Email every day.
Every internet user has at least one email account. Recent research conducted by Radicati found out that there 3.8 billion active email accounts. That’s half the population of Earth.
This is precisely why every smart business in the world has an email list.
Big name brands learned this lesson a long time ago, and that’s why they spend thousands of dollars on social media campaigns to get people to sign up for their email lists.
They understand that email marketing is the best long-term investment with a much higher return because people will continue to get their message at a very low cost for a longer period of time.
Social Media vs Email Marketing
Now you’re probably thinking, wait a minute. What about social media?
In fact, we have been asked several times isn’t email marketing kind of dead with social media taking over everything?
The best way to answer this question is to look at the information Twitter and Facebook ask you before you create an account:
Yup, it’s an email address.
These companies know that emails are the most direct and reliable way of getting in touch with their customers.
Even if you sign up using your phone number, they will keep asking for your email address to help you find friends, for password recovery options, and most importantly to send you targeted email messages.
Here is a view of the social tab in a typical Gmail user’s inbox.
All these emails are from big social media platforms, so they can engage you with the content on their platform and get you to visit their app or website again.
All social media platforms are building an email list because they are smart business owners. This helps their valuation when selling their business.
While social media is a great way to reach your audience, it’s important to keep in perspective the timely nature of social media platforms.
They come and go.
Not too long ago we had MySpace, FriendFeed, Google Buzz, Plurk and countless others. Most of them are either dead now or irrelevant.
Today we have Facebook and Twitter that are prominent, but not everyone enjoys these platform. Some people prefer Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Snapchat, LinkedIn, etc.
Basically, your users are all over the place on different platforms. But studies show that at least 91% of consumers check their email on a daily basis.
We are not saying that social media is not important. It is, and you should explore every opportunity to reach your audience.
However, you should spend more time and effort into something that guarantees higher results.
What Experts are Saying About Building an Email List?
Don’t take just our word for it, listen to what all top marketing experts are saying about email marketing:
Out of all the channels I tested as a marketer, email continually outperforms most of them.
– Neil Patel – Crazy Egg and QuickSprout
Getting an email address is the first critical step to figuring out who my reader is, and hopefully in the future, my customer of some sort.
– Joe Pulizzi – Founder Content Marketing Institute
If you’re not building an email list, you’re making a HUGE mistake.
– Derek Halpern – Founder Social Triggers
Email is the most predictable driver of growth and sales in our business. I prefer email marketing over all other traffic channels. – Syed Balkhi – Founder WPBeginner
Many expert marketers say their biggest mistake was not building an email list when they first started out.
With all the reasons above, we hope that you’re convinced that building an email list is important for all businesses.
Now you might be wondering, how do I build an email list?
This brings us to the next section.
What You Need to Start Building an Email List:
By now, you know why building an email list is so important, and why ignoring it can be a HUGE mistake.
So let’s take a look at what you need to start building your email list.
3 Things You Need to Build an Email List:
A website or blog.
An email marketing service.
High-converting opt-in forms
We can provide all three of these for you.
For the sake of this article, we will only be focusing on the last two items on the list. We’re going to assume you have a website. If you don’t, let’s talk.
Choosing the Best Email Marketing Service
There are tons of email marketing services out there. We recommend Constant Contact, hands down. Often times, beginners use a free company to save money, which is understandable. However, some of these free platforms are not the best. Why?
Some platforms mislabel themselves as “email marketing service” when in reality all they offer is free blog subscription via email. This allows your users to receive an email update every time you publish a new blog post.
But that’s not true email marketing. Here are some of the downsides of using a free blog notification service:
You can’t send out private email newsletters. To send an email, you will have to publish a new blog post, which means that the information you want to share will have to be publicly available first.
You can’t personalize the email message. It will be delivered in the same format often with no branding or personalization.
You can’t categorize subscribers by interests, demographics, or content type.
There is no reporting. You don’t know how many people got the email, what percentage of users opened it, and how many of them clicked on your links.
If you later tried to move to a paid service, your users will have to re-confirm their subscription. Many of them will not do it, and you will end up losing subscribers.
This is why we ALWAYS recommend using a professional email marketing service, like Constant Contact, right from the beginning.
Yes, they cost a little bit of money, but they are an investment in your business which pays huge returns.
The benefit of professional email marketing services are:
You can send private mass emails to your subscribers.
You can see subscriber activity and group your subscribers based on actions they take.
You can run A/B split tests to see which email subject line, content, and offers work best with your subscribers.
With reporting tools, you can see which country you have the most subscribers from. You can adjust your time zone preferences, and send emails at the right time.
Last, but definitely the most important, you can see the email addresses of all your subscribers.
There are hundreds of professional email marketing services available.
For small businesses, we recommend using Constant Contact because they are one of the largest email marketing services in the world.
They offer a 30-day free trial. This gives you plenty of time to set up and start seeing the results. At the end of 30 days, your email list would likely be paying for itself (cost $20 / month). Start your free trial.
Once you have signed up with Constant Contact, the next step is to add opt-in forms to your website to allow your users to subscribe.
Growing Your Email List and Getting More Subscribers
Did you know that more than 70% of visitors abandoning your website will never return? It’s true, just look in your Google Analytics and look at the percentage of new vs returning visitors.
That’s why you need to convert every website visitor into an email subscriber before they leave, so you can send them relevant messages to bring them back.
An average internet user spends just a few seconds looking at a website. This gives you very little time to engage them. If your email sign up forms are not noticeable, then users will leave without ever subscribing to your website.
The biggest mistake that we see beginners make is not strategically placing high-converting opt-in forms.
Constant Contact provides you with codes to embed in your theme, we handle that for you.
This is why we recommend our users to use OptinMonster. It is the most powerful conversion optimization software that helps you convert abandoning website visitors into subscribers and customers.
Instead of adding boring sign up forms to your sidebar, you can easily create high-converting opt-in forms like lightbox popups, floating header and footer bars, slide-in scroll boxes, fullscreen welcome mat, inline forms, and more.
But what makes OptinMonster really powerful is the behavior automation and personalization features. OptinMonster allows you to automatically show different opt-in forms based on where the user is coming from, which page they are visiting, and what they are doing on your website.
For example, the Exit-Intent® feature track your users’ mouse behavior and show them a targeted opt-in form at the precise moment they are about to leave. This helps you convert abandoning visitors into subscribers.
Nicolas Gagne, a small business owner, combined Constant Contact with a single exit-intent optin to grow his email list by 500%. This helped him triple his revenue from his online store (see the full case study).
Get started with OptinMonster today — Use the coupon WPB10 to get 10% off.
Note:OptinMonster was started by WPBeginner’s founder, Syed Balkhi, because he wanted to get more email subscribers, faster. It helped us increase our email signups by 600%. Due to popular request, we released this tool for the public, and currently, it’s the most recommended lead generation software in the market.
List Building Strategies and Resources
Having the right tools is crucial, but knowing how to use them properly is what makes the most difference.
In your email marketing strategy, the most important thing you should plan out is segmentation.
What is email list segmentation?
Email list segmentation is the process of grouping your subscribers, so you can better personalize your emails based on interest.
It helps you get higher open rates and click-through rates. This definitive guide to email marketing has all the information you need to segment your email list like a pro.
If you want to start growing your email list quickly, we have a system that incorporates your wifi network to optin users coming into your brick and mortar business.
We can create your optin forms and place them on your website, blog and social network accounts.
Content Upgrades are the highest converting opt-in forms. It’s a technique where you offer bonus content at the end of your popular blog posts. These usually convert 5 times higher than a regular opt-in. Here are some content upgrade ideas that you should check out. We will work with you to help choose what’s best and set them up for you.
There are a lot of different ways to capture email leads, we can create lead captures using Optin Monster and Constant Contact.
It does not matter what kind of business you run, what kind of website you have, or what industry you are in.
If you have a website, and you want to turn your visitors into returning customers, then you need to get them in your email list.
We hope this article helped you understand why building an email list is important and helped you get started on the right foot.
2. Do Keyword Research to Plan Your Content Strategy
Keyword research is a technique used by content creators and SEO experts. It helps you discover specific words and sentences that users type in Google and other search engines to find the content they are looking for.
Normally, beginners just rely on their best guesses when creating content. As you can imagine, this strategy is a hit or miss.
If you use the “best-guess” strategy, then a lot of your articles will likely not do well in search engines. Simply because no one’s looking for the keywords you have used, or there is just too much competition for those keywords.
By doing proper keyword research, you will unlock the following benefits:
Discover actual search terms people are looking for
Find unique content ideas for popular search terms
Learn from your competitors and beat them with better content
Create a series of pillar-articles to drive steady traffic to your blog
Now the question is how do you actually do keyword research? Luckily, it is not as difficult as you would think.
There are a lot of free and paid tools that can help you do proper keyword research.
All you would have to do is enter a keyword, a competitors blog/website URL, or your own URL to find out more keyword ideas.
The most important thing that users and search engines look for is good quality content.
For a blog, a quality piece of content is usually a comprehensive article on a specific topic that covers all the details. This makes it extremely helpful for users.
These comprehensive articles are known as “pillar articles”. Other experts may refer to them as flagship content or cornerstone articles.
Basically, these are your most important articles. You need choose the most promising keyword and then provide as much information as you could in one long-form article.
You should create as many pillar articles as possible to cover all the important keywords in your industry.
Following are some tips that you should keep in mind when creating pillar content:
Pillar content could be any type of article. For example, a how-to guide, tutorial, comparison article, opinion piece, a listicle, and so on.
The difference between pillar content and other articles is that your pillar articles are more comprehensive and provide in-depth information on the topic.
Your pillar articles are not time-dependent. They are evergreen and always useful. Although we recommend keeping them updated with new information to stay on top of search results.
We will cover more tips later in this article that will help you create high-quality pillar articles to get more traffic from search engines.
5. Make Your Content Readable
As we mentioned earlier, search engines and users love longer and comprehensive articles that provide all the information they need.
Now the problem is that humans have a short attention span.
A slight difficulty in reading or understanding will put off your users, and they will leave without looking at all the useful information that you offered.
To solve this problem before it happens, you need to make all your content easy to read.
A good place to start would be to present your article in bite-size sentences using a friendly tone and lots of visuals.
Following are just some basic tips to make your content more readable and user-friendly.
Use smaller sentences and paragraphs. This leaves a lot of white space around text making it easier to look and read.
Try to improve typography by using more readable fonts, large font-size, and plenty of line spacing.
Check the readability score of your content. Yoast SEO comes with a built-in tool for that, you can also find tons of other online readability checkers
Use a grammar checker. We recommend using Grammarly, it not only checks grammar but actually helps you write better.
Use images, screenshots, videos, infographics, and other visual elements. These media elements make your article highly-engaging and easier to read.
6. Learn and apply the SEO basics to your Website
SEO is a set of best practices that help you make your website more search engine friendly. You don’t need to be an ‘SEO Guru’ to improve your website.
Contrary to popular belief, anyone can do SEO for their own websites without hiring an expert. There are plenty of SEO tools and plugins, free advice, and step by step tutorials available that you can use.
We recommend using Yoast SEO plugin for all WordPress websites. It is the most comprehensive SEO and website optimization tool. The free version includes all the SEO features that you will need on your website.
You can learn all you need to know about SEO, in our complete WordPress SEO guide for beginners. It includes step by step instructions, and it is the exact same SEO setup that we use on our own websites.
7. Learn to Write Great Headlines
When users find your content in search results or RSS feeds, the first thing they see is your article headline.
A catchy blog post title stands out and gets more clicks. Whereas a plain and boring headline gets ignored, and users are likely to scroll by it.
This makes headlines very important.
You need to learn how to write better titles for your blog posts that capture user attention and get more clicks.
Luckily, blogging experts have been doing research on headlines for a very long time, and you can benefit from their findings.
These are the basic building blocks of an effective headline:
A good headline triggers an emotional response (joy, surprise, shock, curiosity, fear, excitement, greed, and so on).
It offers users a reward and value
It promotes the content by including target keywords
Copywriters use power words to trigger emotional responses. They tell users why the article is valuable or what they will get from clicking on the headline.
Lastly, a good headline includes a call to action for users which is often subtle and sometimes implied.
Our team regularly uses these three tools to create better blog post titles and headlines.
8. Make Internal Linking a Routine Task
Now that you have started creating good content, it is important to link to your articles from your existing blog posts. This is called internal linking, and it plays a huge role in SEO.
Here is why internal linking is so important:
Internal links help Google understand the context and relationship between different articles on your website. It then uses this information as ranking signals.
Internal links, when placed strategically and in context, can help you increase page views and reduce bounce rate.
It is harder to ask third-party websites to link to your articles. It is way easier to create links on your own site.
We recommend making it a habit to link to your older articles from your new articles.
Because internal links play such an important role in SEO, we have even made it part of our pre-publish checklist for our writers.
9. Start Generating More Backlinks
A backlink is an incoming links to your content from an external website. Backlinks are one of the most influential signals in Google’s rankings.
Getting backlinks from reputable websites and blogs is very difficult. Not just for beginners, even experienced bloggers struggle with it.
Here are some tips to get quality backlinks to your website:
Reach out to influencers and reputable blogs in your industry, and then tell them about specific content on your website that they might want to link.
Write guest posts on other blogs and websites.
Interview influencers and bloggers on your blog. They will likely want to let their users know to come checkout their interview, and you’ll get a backlink.
The easiest way to get a backlink is to add a link to your website on all your social media profiles.
10. Add Images, Charts, Infographs to Create Visually Attractive Content
In step 5, we mentioned that adding images and charts to your articles make it more readable.
Since visual elements are so important, we believe they deserved their own spot on this list.
As human beings, our brain prefers visual elements. We love colors and objects because aesthetics trigger emotional responses in our brains. This makes us more engaged and immersed in our surroundings.
People love looking at infographics because they make information engaging and easy to consume.
Images in your blog posts grab user’s attention and help them focus on not just the visual element but also the text around it.
If you’re just starting out, then it’s important to know that you cannot just use any image you see on the internet. Images are protected by copyright and stealing copyrighted material can have serious consequences.
Ideally, you want to use your own images, graphics, and photographs, but not all bloggers are graphic designers or photographers.
Luckily, there are so many great resources to find royalty free images, and there are even tools that you can use to easily create your own graphics. Here are some helpful resources:
This gives you even more exposure as YouTube itself is the world’s second largest search engine, and a popular social media platform.
There are many ways to easily create video content for your website. Here are few that you can start with:
You can create slideshows of how to tutorials with voice over instructions
You can create screencasts
Record interviews with other bloggers and influencers in your industry
Become a vlogger by adding your own videos shot in selfie mode
For video editing, if you are using Mac, then iMovie is perfectly capable of performing basic video edits. Windows users can use free video editing software like Lightworks or Shotcut for basic editing.
12. Utilize User-Generated Content
User-generated content is basically any content generated on your website as a result of user activity. This includes comments, testimonials, guest posts, user reviews, and more.
User-generated content helps you bring more traffic to your website because it gives users multiple opportunities to participate and get involved.
Users are more likely to return, share, and even purchase from your website when they spend more time on it.
There are many different kinds of user-generated content that you can add. You need to choose what works best for your blog and start from there.
13. Keep Your Website Design Clean and Clutter Free
There are a lot of great WordPress themes available on the market. The problem is that many beginners want to use a theme with all the bells and whistles. These themes are not always the perfect design for your website.
Bad website design stops your users from spending more time on your blog which decreases your pageviews.
Whereas a good design helps them discover more content, explore different sections, and spend more time.
Numbers are brain candy. Share your social media counts, email list subscriber counts, and other numbers as social proof.
Don’t worry if your numbers aren’t as big as other successful blogs, they are still powerful social proof.
24. Monitor Social Media
People are asking questions all the time on social media websites like Twitter. Set up alerts to monitor keywords on social media and then jump into conversations to answer their questions with a link back to a relevant article on your website.
You can also monitor social media websites for your brand name, links, conversations, and more.
After you have started creating content and promoting it, you need to track how well each content is performing. Furthermore, which keywords is it ranking for.
You can do this with a tool called, Google Search Console. It is a free tool provided by Google that helps you see how your website is doing in Google Search. We have a complete Google Search Console guide that will teach you how to use this immensely powerful tool, like a Pro.
Next, you would want to monitor your competitor websites. Google Search Console will not tell you who is ranking higher than you and why.
For that, you’ll need tools SEMRush and Ahrefs. Using either of these tools, you can get detailed insights into your competitors, their top keywords, and what you need to do to outrank them.
26. Track Your Website Traffic and User Engagement
Now that you have started getting some traffic, you need to know where your users are coming from, and what they do when they are on your website. Without this data, you cannot evaluate your strategy or plan your next moves.
Knowing this data helps you double down on what’s working, and stop doing what’s not.
27. Continue Learning Online Marketing and SEO
These tips will help you increase your blog traffic and continue getting more subscribers.
However as your blog grows, you need to learn more ways to grow your business.
WPBeginner is the largest WordPress resource site. We regularly publish tutorials on online marketing and SEO. We have a YouTube Channel as well, where you can learn more about WordPress, growing your blog, and SEO.
OptinMonster Blog is another great resource that you would want to follow. OptinMonster is the best conversion optimization software on the market. Their blog is where they regularly publish articles on how to get more traffic, subscribers, and sales.