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Five ways to grow your email marketing list and acquire new leads

Are you driving yourself crazy trying to figure how to acquire new leads? The possibilities are too many to count, but improving search optimization, pumping up social presence, and more promotional activities are typically what many businesses turn to.

These tactics can very successful in growing traffic to your website. Yet, they may not result in many new leads or revenue. I know that seems like a contradiction. Let me explain.

It’s not enough to get someone to follow your company on Twitter or read your musings on Linkedin. It’s not even enough to get people to click through to your site.

The key is to build a targeted audience and continually move them a step closer to doing business with you. Because until you engage your audience and they like what you offer them, they’re not real prospects.

Email marketing is a powerful approach to cultivating leads and growing sales. Few other marketing strategies can compare in getting prospects to take action.

But, there’s a potential issue here. Most people don’t stick around. And, the people that do will not buy. At least not right away.

That makes it a numbers game. So, how do you quickly grow your email list into one your most valuable assets?

Why it’s important to them. People need a good reason to subscribe to your emails. Make it clear why your target audience should sign up. A value proposition squarely centered on the prospect starts with your “everyday” content -- on your blog, in tweets, and website. Your call-to-action reinforces this and assures relevancy. It’s a fair exchange -- your prospect, gives you their email address and you deliver value in return. Keep your promise.

Have a valuable offer. A report, guide, or ebook that the subscriber can download is a must. It’s your contribution of the trade of information for their email address and needs to truly be useful information. But, don’t stop with the initial newsletter sign up. The value exchange comes in many forms. Aside from upholding your end by keeping the quality content flowing in every email, occasionally offer new goodies that create a fun and engaging experience for subscribers -- plus help prevent them from opting out. This can range from a new white paper to a discount or a contest.

Conspicuous. Position your opt-in form in plain sight on your website and in a more prominent position than the social media icons. Don’t be bashful. Place it across the top in the header, in the right-hand column, and below all blog posts. Better yet, make it impossible to miss with a pop-over form.

Easy. Don’t ask for a lot of information. The more you ask, the less people will sign up. Three fields should be more than enough -- email address along with first and last name. Period. If you do a good job of engaging people with your content and other offers there will be plenty of opportunities to gather more information.

Kick start your list. Don't wait for people to find you and sign up. Reach out to the connections you and others in your company already have. Create a spreadsheet with names and email addresses from sources such as Linkedin and existing customers to send invitations. Build a landing page specifically for your newsletter signup and include the link in your email. Never sign anyone up without his or her permission! Also, invite Twitter followers and Facebook fans as well as people in your Linkedin groups. At the end of your YouTube videos include an invitation with a link to your landing page. If you sell online ask your buyer to opt-in after the purchase is complete. Look across all of your channels, offline and online, for opportunities to invite people to sign up. Always let them know what’s in it for them.

Email is an important part of an overall marketing strategy even in the age of social media. In fact, it outperforms social media by a huge margin in most every market.

Not convinced that email still matters today? According to new research by the Direct Marketing Association, email generates nearly a two times return compared to other channels. And in a recent survey by Waldow Social, 77% of consumers reported that they prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email across all age groups.

Email marketing is one of the best ways to sell your products and services, but for it to work you need to grow a targeted list of readers. Take action now to get more opt-ins at your web, gather subscribers from social media, and above all create emails with high-value content.

What techniques have you used to build a first-rate email list? Let me know -- use the comment field below.

Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com). He works with small business owners, helping them to energize their marketing and sell more of their products and services. Ron has developed his own highly successful 7-step approach to winning new customers as a result of his experience as a small business owner, corporate CEO, marketing and business development executive, salesman, and mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.