Email marketing is an invaluable strategy. According to the Marketing Email Tracker from Data and Marketing Association, for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42. But to see your emails increase your customer base and improve brand awareness, you have to effectively build your email lists. When it comes to increasing the number of contacts, it can seem instantly gratifying to grow it quickly when you buy an email list.

Resist this impulse, as it’s one of the classic email marketing mistakes to avoid! (…and against SharpSpring’s policies)

So, what tactics can you use to build your email lists quickly without making a potentially sketchy purchase?

This post highlights four key strategies to help you avoid having to buy an email list.

Strategies to Avoid Buying An Email List

1. Add a Subscribe Form to Your Blog

Your blog is one of the most useful — and easiest — ways to build your contact list. We suggest including a form and an in-text link in your actual blog content, inviting people to sign up for your newsletter.

2. Run Contests Asking for Emails

When there is something people can win, they are more likely to give you their information. Ask people to enter with their emails in the application form or in the instructions.

3. Add Share Buttons to Your Emails

In addition to adding social share buttons, which you should include in all of your emails, you should also give your contacts a way to forward the email to their friends.

Sharing their email not only shows your lead is moving along in their buyer’s journey, they are also indicating how delighted they are with the content you’re sending them.

Pro tip: When writing out content to include in the social sharing link, customize it and make sure to edit the metadata, as this is what will show on Facebook and LinkedIn.

4. Public Speaking, Conferences and Trade Shows

Useful offline strategies to avoid having to buy an email list include making contacts at public speaking events, conferences and trade shows.

When people meet you in person and learn about exactly what your business does, not only are they more likely to give you their emails, they are also more likely to become a customer. At these public gatherings, invite people to sign up for your newsletter to hear more. Just make sure to bring ways for people to give you their contact information — be it a piece of paper or a QR code.

Pro tip: if you do opt for a piece of paper, make sure you can actually make out the writing before people leave your booth.

Email Marketing Best Practices

Now that you have grown your contact base using the tactics above, what email marketing strategies do you need to employ to guarantee results?

1. Personalization

The more personal, the better. An Experian study found that personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates.

Humans love when content is personalized to who we are as people. That’s why it’s so important to incorporate personalization in your email marketing strategies. It could be as simple as addressing your lead by their first name and using yours to sign off, but some kind of personal touch is proven to benefit email marketing.

2. Be Visually Appealing

Once your contacts from the email list open their email, they need to like what they see.

Use white space to your advantage, choose an image that is not too aggressive but engaging enough to entice your contact to feel something. Try to avoid large chunks of text — as a rule of thumb, use one to two sentences per paragraph.

3. Be Responsive

Respond to requests for information efficiently no matter where your contact is viewing the content. According to Adestra, emails that display incorrectly may be deleted within three seconds.

4. Ensure Your Content is Well Written

When it comes to your email, it needs to be well-written and sound authentic to your brand voice. Make sure you have a clear purpose in your content, as well as a story that takes contacts from start to end and guarantees they’ll be excited for more.

5. Have a Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)

In addition to including the share button, you want to ensure the main CTA you intend the lead to take is obvious.

With each email you write, make sure you have one main CTA, whether it’s to watch a video, read a blog post or download an infographic. Whatever the step is, the lead should know exactly what you want them to do.

These are just some of the many email marketing automation best practices to be aware of when setting your strategy. To find out more, talk to us or get a demo today!

Cassandra Garcia