When it comes to list building, the one thing you need to understand is that there are no shortcuts to building a huge AND responsive list.
When people go to your website, is it easy for them to sign up to your list? Are you displaying the sign-up option prominently on the page?
One way to give your list some visibility to people that visit your website, is by triggering a lightbox (or hover box) that pops up after someone's been on your website for a x seconds. Look at what the average time on site is for someone and trigger the lightbox around that time.
2. The incentive
The incentive that you offer for someone to sign up to your list is key - it has to be the right incentive for the right kind of audience. The more the incentive appeals to people outside your target audience, the less responsive the list will be.
Let's say you run a contest or a sweepstakes to build your list and everyone that signs up has a chance to win an iPad. You'll get a lot of people signing up to your list because they want a chance to win the iPad, not because they're interested in your stuff.
3. Build trust
What are the benefits of signing up to your list? How do I know you're not going to spam me or sell my address to someone else? Why are you requesting me to give you my email address if all I want is to see that video?
Spend enough time testing different incentives to find the one that converts best for you BEFORE you start spending big money to drive even more traffic to your opt-in pages.
I know all this sounds very straight-forward but you'd be surprised how many people forget the testing part.
Once you've optimized your sign-up page as well as you can and you tested everything that you can test, then you're ready to pull out the big guns and drive lots of traffic to your sign-up page.
Partnering with people or companies that target the same audience with different products or services could be a very good way to build your list.
Other ways to drive traffic to your sign-up page could be:
- search engine marketing
- optimizing the page for organic traffic
- including a link to your sign-up page in your regular email signature
- including a link to your sign-up page in your forum signature
- talking about your incentive on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, forums...
- publishing your newsletter to Twitter & Facebook and including a subscribe link in your newsletters
I'm sure I'm forgetting stuff here but the key is really to drive traffic to your sign-up page through proven ways of driving traffic to webpages.
Single vs double opt-in
When you use double opt-in, you may loose anywhere between 10 and 40% of the people that sign up but don't confirm. I usually recommend using double opt-in for sources that are not highly targeted or when the incentive is something that appeals to a much wider audience (eg list rental, co-registration, contests & sweepstakes) and use single opt-in for sources or incentives that are highly targeted.
Now it's your turn
I would love to hear which list building tactics you've tried and how well they worked for you!