5 Things You Should and Shouldn’t Do If You’re Building an Email List

People on the Internet have notoriously short attention spans when it comes to written content. They like to read lists with lots of pictures or celebrity gossip, as is proved by the success of such websites as BuzzFeed, ScoopWhoop and EliteDaily. The only place where you might get a slightly longer attention span for textual content is over email. But even in the inbox, you have to compete with dozens, if not hundreds, of other emails for attention. If you’re able to build an active list of email subscribers, you can turn it into a great income source by promoting offers and products.

Here are five things you should do to increase the effectiveness of your emails.

#1 – Create an interesting subject line.

Your subject line is the most important factor in determining whether your email will get read. Make sure you have something that catches the eye immediately and makes the person curious about the rest of the message.

Here’s an example of a good headline: “The most powerful secret tactic of every master salesman.”

#2 – Know how often to send emails.

The frequency of your communications is crucial. If you overwhelm your subscribers with emails, you’ll be spending a lot of time in the spam folder. On the other hand, if you send one email a month, your subscribers might forget who you are. Usually, two or three emails weekly is a good number to aim for.

#3 – Provide interesting content.

Don’t make each email a sales pitch. Inform and entertain your users with good content which helps their lives. Use short paragraphs and highlights to make your text more readable.

#4 – Stick to a minimalistic design.

Emails aren’t the place to show off your fancy designing skills. Stick to a simple, uncluttered format. Use some textual formatting if you must, but keep the graphics to a minimum.

#5 – Use an unambiguous call to action.

What do you want the subscribers to do after they’ve read your email? Let them know clearly. Whether you want them to click a link, buy a product or floss twice a day, include a call to action.

On the flip side, here are some things which you shouldn’t be doing.

#1 – Not monetizing your email list.

You build an email list because you want to directly or indirectly help your bottom line. Don’t get so caught up in the process of building a list that you forget to send them links to products or services you want them to buy. The added traffic to your blog is nice, but what you really need is conversions.

#2 – Expecting your list to grow on its own.

In the early days of building your list, you will probably do a lot of promotional work. You will write more articles on your website, offer to guest post on other blogs, promote your list over social media and even provide other marketers with an incentive to send followers to your list. Once you’ve got a certain number of subscribers, it’s easy to get complacent and stop working on your list. Make sure you still undertake active list-building activities at least once every couple of months.

#3 – Underestimating the value of the snippet.

Go to your Gmail or Yahoo inbox right now. Do you see the little line of text right next to the subject line of the email? That is the “snippet.” Email providers will show the beginning of your email to let users know what the body of the email might be about. You can use this mechanism in your favor to create a great opening line. Your subject line and your snippet can create the perfect one-two combo that hooks your viewers’ eyeballs.

#4 – Getting disheartened by a few unsubscribers.

No matter how amazing your content is, you will have some unsubscribers. The fact of the matter is, not every person who signs up to your list will stick around for years. Some people might be bored and some people are just trying to clear out their inbox. Don’t read too much into a few unsubscribers. It’s part of the game.

#5 – Not testing your emails enough

Most email clients will allow you to split-test versions of your emails. You can send the same offer to your clients in two separate emails – each with a different subject line and a slightly different body. You can see whether a certain headline or a certain way of framing your offer works better with your list. Testing different headlines and body material helps you to know what you’re doing right or wrong. When you are sending promotional emails, split-test them to see which versions get a better click-through rate.

Building an email list can do wonders for your business if done correctly. Email subscribers are more likely to engage with your content and offers when they have already signed up to receive communications from you. Just go through the list of do’s and don’ts above to kick your emails up several notches.

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