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Building your email list

Care to build a really solid email audience? Start simple and set some realistic goals for yourself. Begin by making sure the list you're trying to grow has plenty of front doors -- on your website, in your emails and anywhere else you interact with your customers or members. And then remember that the people in the best position to help you grow your audience are the people already on it, so give them a reason to spread the word (and the signup link) for you.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Start by making sure your signup form is fully set up

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This is the front door to your lists, and you can now create multiple signup screens and customize all of it -- the signup form itself, the thank-you note and the welcome email that gets sent each time someone new joins your list.

Link to it every chance you get

Once you've got the signup form looking and working just like you want it to, make sure you link to it from your website and any other logical place. And remember that in addition to having the signup link at the bottom of your email campaigns, sometimes it's not a bad idea to feature it near the top, too. (You can link to your signup just like you would any webpage or URL -- to find that URL, just click the down-arrow button to the right of the appropriate signup form at the bottom of your Audience page.)

Add your signup link to your day-to-day email signature

Another place you might consider adding a newsletter link is in your day-to-day email signature. Remember that your personal, daily emails are a great front door to the HTML-email campaigns and newsletters you send. Consider the following example, in which you are Johnny Robot and your smoked grouper is renowned the world over. Your salmon isn't half bad, either.

Johnny Robot
Johnny Robot's Fish Emporium
Visit us online:
Call us: 800.XXX.XXXX
Sign up for our weekly robot fish specials!

Run email promotions that require someone to bring three friends

Imagine a shop sending out coupons that offer a best-pals discount good only if you bring your best pal. Or a restaurant offering half-priced entrees if you bring a party of four. Or a club offering you half-price admission if you bring eight people to the show. Offers like this really take advantage of email's pass-along-itude* and can be a great way to get your current subscribers to recruit their friends and colleagues to join your list.

Practice saying, "Would you like to join our email list?"

The easiest way to get people to join your list is to ask. Use every conversation with customers and prospective customers as an opportunity to invite them to join your list -- on phone calls, at events, and in emails. Put a notepad by the register, in the waiting room or at the event registration table.

This is really just a little creative grist for the mill. No doubt you'll come up with your own brilliant ideas -- ideas that will make our ideas seem less like actual ideas and more like small pebbles or grits.

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