How to Build an Email List Fast, Pt. 3: Go Beyond Your Website

In the last two parts of this series I have shown you how to build your email list with sign-up forms and social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Today I would like to present you with another great method of attracting quality leads. Sit back and relax, as you’re about to learn the 5 secret ways to growing your email list by going beyond your own website. 

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#1 Guest blogging

When building your own brand and posting new articles on your own blog, it’s not unusual to hit the wall and seem to be unable to reach out to new audience. A great way to present yourself in front of a new audience and build traffic to your website is guest posting on blogs, websites or e-zines.

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If you have a vast experience or knowledge in your field of expertise, there is no reason why you should not be sharing your opinions on other quality websites for visitors that have not yet had the chance to read your articles.

If you’re just starting to build your brand, it will probably have to be you to start the conversation and suggest the idea of posting on other people’s websites. However, once you have made your name recognizable, you can expect that others will be reaching out to you asking for quality writing on a topic you specialize in.

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Go on and search for blogs, websites or e-zines that are well suited in terms of the audience you are looking after or so that the topics match with your preferences and skills. Whilst doing so, make sure that your name is visible as the author of the article and that the audience can easily locate your own website for more interesting posts. Adding a website URL to your bio is definitely a way to go!

Why would anyone bother guest blogging? Here are few simple facts that can help you change your mind.

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Benefits for you

Guest posting is a great method of increasing your brand awareness among a completely new audience. By writing quality articles and making your name visible, you can attract more traffic onto your own website where people will be looking for more information on your publications.

At the same time, by using a sign-up form, you can make sure that the people who are interested in what you do will stay in touch and leave their details with you. Successful guest posts will make it even easier to find new partners in the future as from now on you’ll have real numbers to back you up.

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The partners in such an exchange e.g. owners of a blog or a website you are posting on will also benefit from your posts in a couple of ways. First of all, they are getting free content from a reliable author to put on their website, which means they won’t have to use their own resources for the article. On top of that, authors of such articles typically promote them also on their own websites or via newsletters, which in turn means additional website traffic and newsletters subscribers.

It’s a win-win situation!

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#2 Comments on discussion boards

Another great method that can help you build your email list fast is posting on discussion boards related to the topic of your expertise.

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There are two main reasons for which you should consider website and social media monitoring seeking discussions regarding the field you have been writing on.

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First of all, you will be able to identify the topics that your audience finds interesting but yet unanswered. When writing your own articles with the use of this data, you can be sure that your posts will end up higher in the search engine results, which will make it easier to gain more website traffic.

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The second reason is that by answering the questions on discussion boards you can gain credibility and increase your brand awareness. Everyone that is interested in this topic and sees your answer will be then able to see your name and search for your website to find more information on what you do.

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All you have to do at this point is to make sure that your website is interesting and will be able to convert the visitors into newsletter subscribers who will then follow your brand on a regular basis.

  • .Tip #1

When taking part in discussion boards or on other blogs try using some of the available plugins that will enable you to have a one single author profile. Some of the popular ones are: Disqus, Echo, Livefyre or IntenseDebate.

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  • Tip #2

If you are finding it hard to find discussions regarding the field you are interested in perhaps it’s the right time to start one. On websites such as LinkedIn or Facebook you can start one in just a couple of minutes, which is worth considering.

When starting a discussion board, however, you need to decide on whether you will be posting as an individual or a company and will be promoting your services in every other post. The latter solution may make it difficult to earn credibility so make this decision carefully.

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Image 1. Creating a group on LinkedIn

Image 1. Creating a group on LinkedIn

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Creating a fanpage on Facebook

Image 2. Creating a fanpage on Facebook

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#3 Sharing is caring

Although this may sound odd at first, one of the best ways to extend your reach and attract people that are closest to your target audience is making use of your current fans, followers and subscribers. How can you achieve this?

 

The easiest approach is organize a competition and ask your current audience to share its details with their friends through social media channels and email. Just the way the saying goes – Sharing is caring – so why shouldn’t you make use of it?

 

Services such as GetResponse make it easy to share the information in your newsletters to other people that may be interested in them. Through this, even if someone is not currently subscribed to your newsletter, they will be able to read your message and join the subscription. To do this, all you have to do is add the social media icons on the Newsletter Creator and make sure that the content you are promoting is truly interesting and worth sharing.

 

When asking your audience to share or recommend your newsletters, websites or social media profiles, you need to first ask yourself these 2 questions:

  •  Why? – Why should your audience share what you are promoting (e.g. a whitepaper or article)? Will they benefit from it?

Suggestion – On top of the satisfaction of sharing quality content, your audience may expect something that will motivate them to make the extra effort. This could be a discount code, taking part in a competition or a free product sample. The whole concept of the competition could in fact be based on a number of likes or comments for a particular entry. If you use an app for such a competition (which I covered in the last part of this series), you will also be able to get the details of people helping their own friends to win the competition.

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  • What do I have to do?

When asking your audience to share your content, you have to make sure that it crystal clear as to what action has to be taken and where they can do so. The instructions for the competition should not be too difficult and they have to be weighed against the value of the prize. If the prize is not worth the effort, you won’t get much brand awareness and fans joining your club.

Suggestion – Be specific when preparing the instructions for your audience. Tell them whether they should share the details of the competition on Facebook, Twitter or somewhere else. Consider adding the same instructions in your Call to action buttons (CTAs) to avoid any sort of hesitation or doubt in their actions.

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The general rule behind such promotional activities is to prepare materials that are valuable and worth sharing. They can take on various forms, such as:

  • Promotional coupons motivating to share the discounts with others,
  • Wish lists where your audience will write down all the products they dream about and can share on their social media profiles,
  • Check-in in a particular place to take part in a competition or earn a discount,
  • Apps with which you can make pictures of yourself or your friends looking funny and share on social media channels.

If what you are promoting is worth sharing and your audience knows exactly what they have to do and how they can do so, you can be sure that your reach will extend in no time.

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Image 3. Check in to win competition by Ski Vermont

Image 3. Check in to win competition by Ski Vermont

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Image 4. Make an ad Doritos competition

Image 4. Make an ad Doritos competition

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Image 5. Invite friends to get featured newsletter by About.me

Image 5. Invite friends to get featured newsletter by About.me

 

#4 Partnership

Another effective approach to email list building is one somewhat similar to the concept described in section #1. What I have in mind is a partnership with companies or individuals that offer similar, but typically not competitive, products or services to the ones that you have in your offer.

 

Email list renting

This solution typically involves two parties, one of which agrees to send out a promotional newsletter containing information about the other brand to their own customer base.

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For this exchange to work best, it’s important to match the products or brands to increase the likelihood of finding the right target audience. Such an agreement could work e.g. between two companies when one is selling cigars and the other one offers rum or a car and caravan dealers. Of course, complementary goods or services exist also online. An example of such similarities could be found e.g. between discussion forums related to digital photography and 3d animations.

In this type of partnership the two parties typically agree either on a monetary payment or another form of promotion. It could also take a form of sending promoted newsletters to both party’s email lists.

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Co-promotion

Partnership can of course take on various forms. It’s not unusual to see different brands agreeing to join together and organize shared promotional campaigns such as webinars or meetings (both online and offline). They could also produce educational materials together or work jointly on new technical solutions for their clients. When organizing such initiatives you can be sure that both parties will do their best to promote them amongst each other’s audience.

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#5 Promotional campaigns

If you have access to some spare resources and would like to build traffic on your website, you should consider investing in some of the most popular paid solutions that will enable you to extend your reach, gain access to new subscribers and improve your search engine ranking.

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Some of the more known methods of paid online promotion are e.g. paid posts on social media channels, search engine marketing (SEM) or video ads. On top of that, contextual advertising is currently gaining more and more attention amongst online marketers.

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What is contextual advertising?

Although contextual advertising is quite common these days, it’s one of the most effective methods of presenting ads and building brand awareness amongst audiences that are visiting other than your own websites.

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Contextual ads are typically run through services such as Google Adwords or Microsoft adCenter and are presented in the form of sponsored URLs or banners.

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Their biggest advantage is that the promoted ad is matched with the content of the website which increases the likelihood of generating good quality traffic onto your own website. The ad is only visible on websites or search engine results that are related to the content of your choice. On top of that, whilst using the aforementioned systems, you have full control over the duration and costs of such advertising campaigns.

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Image 6. Ad by GetResponse on Mashable.com

Image 6. Ad by GetResponse on Mashable.com

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That’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed this third part of the series – How to build your Email List fast. I’m counting that the information I have gathered here for you will make it easier to run your future email marketing campaigns and gain new loyal list of subscribers.

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If you’ve found the information in this post helpful, feel free to share and leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you!

  • Michal Leszczynski

    Hi Andy, thank you for your comment!

    You’re right, it’s important to be relevant when commenting on other websites and forums. Marketers should always provide value and try to put the clients’ needs first. :)

    ML