4 unexpected ways to build your list organically

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How are you growing your e-mail marketing list? If you’re like most marketers, you’re already promoting your e-newsletter on your Web site and in other marketing collateral, asking for signups at trade shows and capturing e-mail addresses at the time of purchase. But if you’re looking for a few new ideas, consider these tips, provided by Greg Cangialosi, CEO of Blue Sky Factory, an e-mail marketing service provider. The tips are inspired by the company’s latest e-book, “50 Ways to Build Your Email Marketing List,” which was introduced this week.
  • Craft a “share with your network” campaign. Most marketers are using social sharing—asking prospects and customers to share e-mail and Web content with their social networks. However, few are doing the follow-up work to capture all those new eyeballs and turn them into subscribers, Cangialosi said. “You have to make sure, when that content comes up in front of the person who is receiving it, they have a way to sign up [for your e-mails],” he said. “You need to append the header and footer so people can subscribe.” Cangialosi is seeing 5% to 10% conversion rates with this list-building method, he said, because in addition to providing a way to sign up, his clients are also offering recipients an incentive to share. “Since it’s all trackable and you can see who shared and who’s signing up, you can offer the top three people, for instance, who get the most eyeballs some type of reward.”
  • Consider installing the Facebook Connect API. The Facebook Connect API creates a sign-on at your Web site that harnesses all the information potential prospects have already uploaded and input on their own Facebook page. When they come to your site, they will be given the option to sign on to it using their Facebook account. When this happens, they will be asked to provide permission for you to access their public information, send them e-mail and access their Facebook profile, all of which will help you—even as a b-to-b marketer—to send those people more targeted e-mail messages, Cangialosi said. But, he added, the process is only for those companies that have a well-defined privacy policy and a Web developer who can do the integration.
  • Tap QR codes. QR (quick response) codes are small, bar code-like images that can be found on everything from magazines to banner ads to street signs. People use QR codes by scanning them with a digital camera-enabled smartphone, which takes them directly to a mobile Web site. They’ve been used in Asia for some time now, and are finally catching on here in the U.S.

    Marketers can use QR codes to bring customers and prospects to a special landing page for an e-newsletter, getting them to sign up and view more information. “QR codes are one of the things that a lot of marketers miss out on,” Cangialosi said. “You can put them on a print ad, your business card—any marketing collateral—so people don’t have to type in a Web address or remember a URL.”

  • Use offline opportunities to push people online. Southwest Airlines does it really well, Cangialosi said. “They promote their online presence along with a call to action on their schedule boards, on the plane wings, on the seats,” he said. “You can do the same by [thinking about where] your customer might be standing around and doing nothing [and] taking advantage of that dead time.”

    To do this, think beyond the trade show booth, although swag such as pencils, pens and even packs of gum can work well. If you have a storefront, you can put a unique URL on items such as receipts, bags and doors. Companies with salespeople can take advantage of sales presentation materials, briefcases, laptop bags and business cards.

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