Developing an effective email list is crucial to running to a successful business operation. Communicating with your customer base is key to strong customer retention and consistently being able to convert potential leads into customers, as well as transform existing customers into returning and loyal customers. So, now we know how vital this list is to our business, but how do we go about creating one?

While in the past you were able to cut corners, purchasing unsolicited email lists of target audience members based on the category of your services or products, new privacy levels of recent years have unfortunately made this option obsolete. The methods in which email lists are now gathered have changed dramatically in the last few years due to modifications of privacy levels and guidelines, down to the government level. The United Kingdom was first to adhere to these new guidelines, and now many other countries, as well as US states are following suit. According to these regulations, your business can no longer send emails out to people unless they have opted in to receive emails from you, and they must also have the option to unsubscribe from your email list at any time as well.

With the introduction of these new stricter regulations, gone are the quick and easy ways of creating email lists from yesteryear and the process can now feel incredibly challenging and time-consuming, especially when you are building a list from scratch. And on top of it being such a daunting task to create the list in the first place, even if you were able to buy a list before, that list is most likely outdated now and wouldn’t be of as much use to you. People leave companies, they may change their emails, etc.  Due to any number of various personal or business circumstances, the people populating your email list may no longer be viable anyway. And fines for violating these regulations can be quite hefty, so these new guidelines are not something to take lightly.

So, what are some of the best methods of building an email list now?

Existing customer base

One of the best ways of acquiring your email list is through your existing customer base of people currently buying your services or products. When a customer makes a purchase on your site, you are usually able to collect their email, but in order to stay compliant with these new guidelines, you are required to inform them that you will be collecting their email and they should have the option to opt out anytime as well. As customers go through the checkout process, many do not even realize they have opted in to be a part of your email list! In most cases, you have probably set up your site for customers to automatically opt-in to your email list.

Therefore, it is important that you do not spam members of your email list with emails going out too often, and your email content should consistently be engaging and of value to your audience to discourage them from choosing to unsubscribe. Again, it is best practice to inform your customers that they have automatically opted into your email list and have the option to opt out at any time.

Form-fills

Form-fills are another great method of developing your email list. This type of webpage can be located anywhere on your site, from blogs to other random pages. When website users enjoy your content, finding it to be informative, entertaining, or valuable, they may fill out sign-up forms to actively pursue more information about your products or services. They may also be interested in signing up for a specific service or want to be first to learn about upcoming deals and discounts on your products.

Key things to keep in mind when developing your form-fills are to keep the form simple, and to not ask for too much information, mainly the customer’s name and email. Form-fills are one of the best ways to build your email list because they convey that a website user has demonstrated genuine interest in your services or products and is taking action to continue seeking out your site and services —rather than you needing to seek them out.

Thought-leadership content

Strong content is the lifeblood of your site, consistently keeping customers engaged and motivated to learn more about your products or services. One extremely effective type of content to consider creating for your company is thought-leadership content. Rather than directly promoting and selling your offerings, the main goal of thought-leadership content is to establish authority and expertise in your category, helping to position your company as a trusted source of knowledge and solutions for your customer’s pain points.

When creating thought-leadership content, it is important to consider which medium will be most effective for communicating your information. For example, a LinkedIn post may be appropriate and more functional for a B2B company rather than an Insta story, while social media platforms like Facebook are more ideal for a B2C company’s thought-leadership articles.

Thought-leadership content offers your company the opportunity to communicate that you are at the apex of your industry, continuously progressing through constant innovation as well as setting the trends and standards within your category. As such, you may also want to include news and updates in your thought-leadership content relevant to your industry, to demonstrate that you are staying current with the latest happenings in your field.

Live events

It is always in your interest to keep your customers consistently engaged and asking for more from your company. Live events are a great way to whet customers’ appetites for your content, and to motivate them to ultimately purchase your products or services, so it is also a brilliant method to help you build your email list. From webinars and YouTube lives, to podcasts, live events offer a more captivating and exciting form of media content for your audience.