9 Insider Tips on How to Build an Email List That Converts Prospects into Buyers

It’s a common thought “How to build an email list”? When people start out building a list, they usually begin building a list of prospects.

I can hear you now, “Well, duh, yes, I am building a list of prospects.  What other kind of list is there?”

Well, there are prospects and there are _ _ _ _ _ _.

You fill in the blank. Don’t know the answer?  Stay tuned for an upcoming post.

Now back to how to build an email list…

Let’s say you are a personal trainer and want to build a list of potential clients – prospects.  In your autoresponder tool you set up a list with a name relevant to your offer.  For example, the personal trainer may call her list the “PTtips”.

Next, you create a great opt-in offer and put opt-in forms on your posts and home page.  You also set up a dedicated squeeze page.  You’ll refer to this squeeze page in all your forum links, guest blog posts, article resource boxes, and even on your business card!

Refer to this url link in all your business communications.  Share that page in social media such as Twitter broadcasts, Facebook messages, and other social portals.  Just about any place you sign your name should leave a trail pointing back to your squeeze page.

That’s how you start building a list.

1 – Action Points on How To Build an Email List

  1. Set up a prospects list in your autoresponder tool
  2. Set up a opt-in page where people can exchange contact information for your offer.
  3. Create and upload your freebie bait offer.
  4. Participate in communities where your service/products are of interest.
  5. Provide meaningful responses at these venues.
  6. Leave a trail leading back to your squeeze page.

People will follow your trail to check out your cool offer on your dedicated squeeze page.  Once there, they can choose to exchange their contact information for your offer.  You send them the free gift and begin building a relationship of trust and brand loyalty.

Take a moment to reflect back on why list building is a best marketing practice for growing a business.  You do remember right?

Okay, just in case it slipped your mind, the reason is that everyone isn’t always ready to BUY when they reach your website.  So you collect their email/contact information to be able to build a relationship with them.

In the last post I asked you to fill in the blanks to this question:

You are building a list of prospects.

What other kind of list is there?”

Well, there are prospects and there are _ _ _ _ _ _.

The response I was fishing for is: B U Y E R S or customers.

Once you have people on your list you have a chance to make future sales.  One day, a subscriber has money burning a hole in his pocket and you send out an email with an irresistible offer.  They click the “BUY” button and viola! Now they are a buyer.

In order to create a list of buyers you need a new list in your autoresponder.  You can be discrete about the title if you don’t want the word “buyer” in it. The personal trainer’s prospect list was “PTTips”.  The new buyers list could be called “PTBits” (‘b’ for buy).

Collect Emails During the Payment Process

Most shopping cart programs have a way to capture the buyer’s email address into an autoresponder list.

This is completed as part of the payment process.  In Aweber, look for instructions on integrating with their email parser function.  You can find this on the main menu under “List Options.”  There are two other options for adding people to a Buyers List discussed below.

Collect Email Before a Payment

You can put the opt-in form ON your sales page, or if you are sending to an affiliate offer, create an intermediary opt-in page before the customer reaches the 3rd-party payment page.

Collect Email After a Payment

I learned this tip from a marketing success coach.  Collecting an email address during a payment is a solid way to build a list of buyers, but it has a flaw. Have you ever thought about the fact that people often don’t pay for something using the same email address they use for regular communications?  How about you?

Here’s a slick alternative. You can put the opt-in form on the download page, or use an intermediary opt-in page after payment is made, before the customer reaches the download page.

If you want to force all customers to complete a double opt-in, you could deliver the download link via email which then takes them to the download page.

Once a person commits a pound to your brand, they have cast the first vote in your favor.  This person became a revenue source for your business.  You want to move them off of your “prospect list” and onto a “buyers list.”  The buyers should receive preferential deals which are different from the main prospect offers. The actual product may be the same, but perhaps they get a better rate.

2 – Email Marketing Best practices

If you consider the fact that the value of each email address in your customer list is worth £1 per month, you will quickly realize that your business must treat its list very carefully to exploit its full potential. The common mistake is to focus on building a list and forget about maintaining it. It’s always easier to keep a customer than to gain one. Here are a few best practices as you market and build an email list.

Treat them with respect

Remember that your list is human. It consists of moms, dads, policemen, lawyers, plumbers, office workers, typists, students and business people to name just a few. As you keep that in mind, always address them as if you were standing at their front door or seated in their office. Proper social manners and plain decency will reap your business loyalty and mutual respect from them.

Communicate on a Regular basis

Just because you gave your list a free gift and made killer sales after that doesn’t mean you should just dump them and only resurface when you have another product to sell. People donít like to feel used and cheated. If your list only feels that they are a money-making machine for your business, they will drop you like a hot potato and unsubscribe faster than you can sign more up. Communicate regularly like once or twice a month but definitely not daily and when you do, just talk to them. Donít use each and every email to try and sell something. Instead, focus on becoming friends with them.

Let your list talk too

It’s really irritating and boring to be in a conversation with someone who does all the talking and doesn’t let you get in a word edgewise! Let your list also get a chance to talk back to you. Ask them questions, open discussion on a topic, have a contest- anything that will give them a sense of ownership and importance in the relationship. Giving your list a voice provides feedback information that benefits your business because they will tell you exactly what they are thinking and what they want- thatís free market research information right there.

Position your business as an expert when you build an email list

The advantage you have as a local business owner is that more often than not, you are also a specialist in your business field and being in the online world, people respect and listen more to experts because of the large amount of junk information available in cyberspace. Leverage your specialist knowledge by becoming the person people go to for advice and help because you know what youíre talking about. Selling will become much easier for you because people will trust whatever you honestly recommend to them.

Build an Email List
Build an Email List

3 – Develop Loyal Fans when you build an email list

Does it seem as if you’ve spent a heck of a lot of time, money and energy building a list?  After all there is the opt-bait idea, the squeeze page points, prospect lists, buyer lists…and you’ve only just begun!  The money isn’t in the list, it’s in the loyalty and trust you inspire in your list.

This tip is to help you fire up ideas to use to keep engaged with your subscribers – your list.  While it is challenging, there are resources you can use to make the process faster and easier.

First, some ideas to get readers engaged and looking forward to your next email as you build an email list.

Plan out blocks of emails.  

Tutorials are great for this.  The email provides a brief introduction and then provides a link back to posts which are the tutorials.  These tutorials can provide additional information (ie., tips, secrets, power tactics) which aren’t shared in the blog and therefore aren’t readily available to non-subscribers.  Make that one of the benefits of joining your list!

Don’t sell something in every email or combine a promotion with a learning point.

Develop your story telling skills and learn how to meld a story with a learning point that accentuates the benefits of a product you promote.

Include a personal email account people can contact you with.

Encourage people to “hit reply” to ask you questions and let them know you read and respond to personal questions.

Offer freebies and unannounced bonuses.

One cool idea is to set up a freebie page or two or three:

  • for prospects
  • for buyers
  • for affiliates

The use of personalised emails is falling out of favour with many marketers.  

If you want to personalize messages you have to capture a name.  Often this is a garbage name or one that belongs to the cat. Today’s subscribers know that emails aren’t really personally written to each recipient.

Include a signature in your emails.

Also remind them of you website, include your social network links and Skype contact address.

Ask for feedback or suggestions.  

Try a short survey or use your Facebook page for a quick survey.

Answer questions and blog about the question and answer.

Share helpful links, blog posts and references.  Chances are that webmaster or blogger will take note and remember you.

Get out of the business rut.  Add in some personal flavor or blog about community events you sponsor or support.

Action Points:

Determine which of these you can incorporate into your Autoresponder and create 7 new messages – do it today! Each day you procrastinate is another lost opportunity.

4 – Increase email open rates

If you craft some great messages full of helpful information, personal insights, tips, links as well as learning points then you on a great path for building relationships and a profitable business.

There is a slight problem, some people read your email, but many of your subscribers may not.

Think about how many email message you receive in a day.  Which ones do you open first?

As a business owner, it’s your job to capture the attention of your subscribers as best as you can. Unfortunately with email the only way to do that is with the subject line.

Email subject lines are door openers.  The best way to find out what works well for your brand and your list is to try them out and look at the statistics.  Most email responders allow you to split test a message.  For example you can create two messages which are exactly the same, but use different subject lines.  Then send out the message to your list and review the results.  Also known as split testing.

Play with different messages, things that intrigue the mind, something that catches people off guard, something that creates intrigue. Use hypnotic writing, a good back you can read on this is Hypnotic Writing by Joe Vitale .

When you get emails the thing that makes you open the email is the subject line, so have a look at the type of emails that catch your attention, how are these written, make note and see how you can do the same for your target. Know their needs, show them how to fix their problems and the surely they will open that email.

The other thing to bare in mind is not to use too much slang or spammy words. Most email responders have a content checkers that you can use to get a score on the words you have used. Take this into consideration as servers can also block your emails so they won’t even reach your prospect. So keep it simple and write content as if you writing to a person you already know this will mean your writing pattern is organic. These email scanners are getting clever and some scan the contents of your emails and may block your emails.

You can also get your ip address scanned to ensure its not blacklisted. Sometimes a black list can be lift over a period of time and sometimes you may have to submit a request. Blacklisted domains can also mean your emails are not getting delivered.

5 – Email Subject Line Strategies

Have you heard the phrase “swipe file”?  It’s where you leverage / swipe a great idea from another marketer and use it for your own purpose.

Getting great subject line ideas is a good reason to stay on many marketers’ lists.  Some people just have a knack at getting people to open their emails. So its good to model their strategy.

Here are a few winning strategies:

Make the subject a question. 

Perhaps you recognise some of these door openers in the “make money online” niche:

Are you sick and tired of your job?  Or…

Is your boss always on your case?

Those are subjects swiped from the internet marketing niche.

You need to stay on the topic that pertains to your site and not venture off into irrelevant subject.

Look for ways to connect to the reader at an emotional level.  Here are some other ideas…

  • Phrasing a subject line as a question is a good way to connect emotionally with the reader because they already are formatting the answer in their mind.  In the previous example, the reader has answered “yes” to the question and ready to learn what you have to help him quit his job.
  • Another approach is to use a subject that commands an action from the reader such as:

Act now and get this once in a lifetime opportunity, or

Double, triple and even quadruple what you are earning in one year…

Current topics

Current topics are also good ways to command attention from the reader and intrigue the subscriber so that she opens the message to find out the answer inside.

For example, you sell cars and have a list of people interested in cars with high fuel economy.  Your subject might read:

Announcing the new engine that uses no gasoline – it runs on water!

This creates curiosity with the reader which motivates them to read the “rest of the story.”

Where to get ideas?  Watch the experts in marketing in your niche and model their ideas.  Tweak them to make sense in your business and watch your open rates skyrocket.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel…just roll with it!

6 – The Power of Resending Unopened Emails for Higher Engagement

When you run an email list, there are some subscribers who don’t open your emails. This could be because they aren’t interested in your offer. But since they signed up to receive your content, it’s more likely that they simply missed it or it went to their spam folder. A good way to boost engagement on your list is to resend unopened emails.

Autoresponder programs like MailChimp have features that allow you to resend unopened messages. If you have an important message that your subscribers didn’t open, you can resend it the next day and bring it to their attention.

One word of caution about resending is that it can appear spammy. For this reason, you should resend sparingly or only do it once. Try resending on the next day to give people enough time to see the original one first.

For example, you might send an email announcing your latest blog post. While 40% of your subscribers opened it, this means 60% didn’t. This is an especially good piece of content and you feel it’s a shame for more than half of your subscribers to pass it by, so you decide to resend.

How to Refresh Resent Emails

The trick here is to change the subject line of your email. It’s possible that your subscribers passed over it as they skimmed their inbox because the subject line wasn’t compelling enough to hook them. With a new and slightly different subject line, you increase the changes that these readers will check it out.

This will increase your open rates and hopefully drive more traffic to your blog. It can also help to build deeper relationships with your readers. They may have missed a piece of valuable content which will help build this relationship.

Segmenting Your List

Your unopen rate can also be used to segment your list. If there are subscribers who consistently don’t open your messages, they may be unresponsive or you may have a bad email address. Remove these subscribers from your list. This is called keeping a “clean” list and it improves the performance of your email campaign.

There are some marketing studies that question this approach. After all, if you resend every single email, you’re cramming your subscribers’ email inboxes even fuller with messages. Your autoresponder program gives you statistics that show the results of your efforts. Rely on these metrics and see how many of your subscribers are opening the second emails. If you’re seeing high open rates, keep doing it. If not, stop.

8 – Creating relationships with email. The email nurture sequence

Setting up an opt-in offer, squeeze page and publishing articles to drive traffic back to a squeeze page is good, but if you have no follow up your list will go cold. You need to build a relationship and nurture those leads until they become buyers. If you develope a series of follow-up email messages to share with the readers the list won’t get cold and won’t be a waste.

You must work up a complete funnel consisting of the opt-in offer, a follow-up offer that is for a product around £7 or more. You may even have one more money offer, but definitely have one.

Then create a series of not less than 4 email messages.  Here how develop that series:

  • The 1st follow up is a reminder of the download link. This serves to remind them why they are getting an email from you and where they can get that offer via download, or as a shipped physical product.

Offer downloads as the main freebie.  In the 1st follow-up message send them to the download page which mentions the paid product offer.

Do not send the freebie product in your email. If you do, you miss out on an opportunity to turn your “prospect” into a “buyer.”

  • In the 2nd follow up, ask if they liked the gift and then share a bit about your background and what qualifies you to be an authority in this topic.  You can also remind them that they can contact you with questions.
  • In the 3rd follow up, ask them to respond to a quick question.  Do this via a short 1 question survey. You can use Google forms, Survey Monkey or some other free survey tool.  Or simply ask them to “hit reply” to the message to send their response directly to you.
  • The 4th follow up email has an offer for a paid product that is highly relevant to the original freebie offer.  Share with them how the two items can work together to grow their business, profits, whatever.
  • The fifth email is an invitation to participate in a free tutorial, workshop or coaching. It may also be a free report, but at this stage you want to get some air time so a tutorial type setting is ideal.You can set it up as a recorded session making it available to the reader at anytime.

The timing for these emails is:

  1. Message 1: immediately after they opt-in.
  2. Message 2: 1 day after opt-in
  3. Message 3: 1 day after message #2
  4. Message 4: 2 days after message #3
  5. Message 5: 1-2 days after message #4.
  6. Message 6: 1-2 days after message #5.
  7. Message 7: 1-2 days after message #6.

Try to send something out at least every 2 days.  Some very successful marketers send out messages twice a day!

9 – Email Subject Lines That Increase Your Open Rates

It’s one metric we consistently watch and try to improve: email open rates. There’s good reason for it, too. If your subscribers aren’t opening your email, then they can’t read about:

  • Your newest coaching program
  • Your latest must-have tool discovery
  • That epic blog post you just wrote

The trouble is, you only have about two seconds to entice a reader to open your email. Even worse, you have to do it in ten words or less. 

Yikes! That’s a pretty tall order, even for seasoned copywriters. But there are some tricks you can use. 

Click here for email marketing templates

Be Ambiguous

If you’ve been on Facebook lately you’ve no doubt seen those “click bait” headlines that say things like, “She adds this to a box of Wheat Thins and I’m drooling!” The reason headlines like that work is because we can’t help but want to know what “this” is that she’s adding to her Wheat Thins. Is it sugar? Salt? Peanut butter? We imagine the possibilities, but in the end we have to find out, so we click. 

You can employ the same technique in your email subject lines. Just substitute the word “this” for the actual thing you’re writing about, and you’ve got instant enticement. 

Use Numbers

Here’s another strategy for creating must-read content: numbers. 

“7 Hidden Benefits of Waking Up at 5am”

“3 Unlikely Ways to Close the Sale”

“5 Social Media Platforms You Shouldn’t Be Ignoring”

The reason numbers work so well in subject lines is because we are ego-centric and curious. We simply must know if we already use those three ways to close the sale. We will either walk away feeling good for being a marketing maven, or we will have learned something. Both are compelling reasons to open an email. 

Use Power Words

Just as with all writing, choosing power words is far more effective than settling for their weaker counterparts. Imagine these two subject lines appear in your inbox. Which are you more likely to open:

“WordPress Makes Better Looking Websites for Non-Designers


Create a Gorgeous Website—Even if You’re Not a Designer”

While both subjects offer the same information, the first is weak, while the second is far more compelling. 

When it comes to email subjects, there are a few more tips to keep in mind if you want to up your open rates:

  • Keep it short – no more than 10 words at the very most, and fewer if you can. 
  • Test everything. Use your autoresponder’s split-testing functionality to see which subject line styles perform best in your market.
  • Use personalisation, but sparingly. Occasional use of your reader’s first name can be a powerful technique. 

Here’s the bottom line: If your subscribers aren’t opening your email, they’re not buying. Paying closer attention to your subject lines is the single most important thing you can do for your email marketing campaigns. 

The titles you use the words you use all influence the minds of the reader.

There are simple methods for building your email list that you probably haven’t even thought of so if you would like to read more on how to grow your mailing list click here

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