Today’s reader question is on email list building, organizing and managing one’s email list(s). There are some great ideas here, so read on to discover what they are…
“I read your article on email list building. I understand monetization and marketing via an email list, but what I’m really looking to learn is… Once you have an email list subscriber then what? How do you organize your subscribers and your lists…Do you use an Excel spreadsheet? Are you manually copying and pasting to add people and remove people from the list ? Are there any programs worth noting that can be used for this? Can an email autoresponder program be used to automatically build a list in Excel to export elsewhere”?
There are multiple questions here. Let me attempt to answer each one in sequence.
1. Once you have an email list subscriber, then what?
Acquiring a new subscriber requires a sequence of steps. First the subscriber has to be offered something interesting, exciting, entertaining, educational or compelling enough to give you their email address. This offer can be made either in person, or online via your web site, blog, and even in social media. After someone agrees to sign up for your list by giving you their permission, they have to physically give you their email address either in person – on a sheet of paper, a smartphone, tablet or laptop. On your web site and blog they can give you their email address by submitting a signup form.
The next part of your question, the ‘then what’ part, is essentially asking how to do email marketing. Here is a simple tool you can use that will at least shed some light on who your subscribers are, what they want, and how you can fulfill their needs through email messages.
Step 1: WHO – figure out who your customers, clients and fans are, and divide them into separate groups if necessary
Let’s use “men aged 40 – 60 who want to lose weight” as an example segment or group.
Step 2: WHAT: determine their wants, needs and desires of this group
I will guess that men aged 40-60 who want to lose weight have the following needs, wants and desires related to losing weight:
- A ‘kick in the rear’ to keep them on track and disciplined
- Ideas for fun exercise activities and things to eat/cook
You’ll notice that these ‘things’ above are not related to email. But, you can use content delivered via email to fulfill these desires. This is the power of email marketing – sending messages that fulfill desires!
Step 4: WHY: think about why this group has these needs/wants/desires
Why inspiration – to ignite their desire to do the hard work and sacrifice required to lose weight
Why motivation – to get excited to make the necessary changes, and follow through with them
Why encouragement – because making changes to one’s diet, exercise routine and habits is hard to sustain over time
Why a ‘kick in the rear’ – because almost anyone can benefit from having another human challenge them, and hold them accountable – even if it’s only coaching via an email message
Step 3: WHICH FREQUENCY: determine how often you will send emails to your list(s)
After you have determined your WHO, WHAT and WHY you’ll need to determine the ideal frequency for sending your email messages.
By frequency I mean how often you will send emails to your list – daily, weekly, twice monthly, monthly, or any other arbitrary frequency or frequencies you choose. You might decide to start people on a monthly email, and then offer a weekly email in the footer to the people who have already signed up for your monthly email, but want a more frequent kick in the rear to stay motivated.
2. How do you organize your subscribers and your lists?
I personally use our own simple email marketing software to manage my lists. There are dozens of tools you can use for organizing your email lists, subscribers, and contact lists.
My recommendation is as follows: use the setup that works best for you, and use the set of tools you will actually use consistently over time.
It your favorite tools are a piece of paper and Excel spreadsheets, then use those. If you prefer a professional email list management and email marketing tool then sign up for one. There are many.
Every business, and every industry will potentially have different approaches for email marketing. For some organizations email marketing is a terrible choice, because it’s not a win-win proposition for business and consumer. For instance, I never want to hear from my air conditioning technician. Ever. Therefore, email marketing might be a poor marketing choice for that business.
3. Do you use an Excel spreadsheet?
In the past I have collected email list signups on a piece of paper, and then manually added those people into my email marketing software program. This is an approach that can work well. I personally helped one of our clients grow their email marketing list by 30 – 50 subscribers per day using this method.
I wouldn’t recommend using Excel spreadsheets to manage your email lists and subscribers – unless you have a strong, specific reason for doing so. Excel is made for managing data, not people and communications.
4. Are you manually copying and pasting to add people and remove people from the list?
I capture and collect emails, and add people to our email list in dozens of different ways. If people wish to unsubscribe they do so by clicking an unsubscribe link. My email list management is almost entirely automated, and this is one powerful benefit of using some type of simple email marketing app or software to organize, manage and maintain your contact lists.
5. Are there any programs worth noting that can be used for this?
As I said above, there are dozens. Just do a Google search for “simple email marketing software” and you’ll find some good ones.
6. Can an email autoresponder program be used to automatically build a list in Excel to export elsewhere”?
I’m not sure why you would want to do this. The whole goal of an email list is to attract and retain subscribers, and I can’t think of any compelling reason to want to constantly export your subscriber list aside from normal, scheduled backup.
Hopefully these questions, and the answers contained in this article shed light on a few email marketing topics that are relevant to you.
If you would like to brainstorm some ideas, or get some feedback on your WHO, WHAT, and WHICH FREQUENCY write to me via email – firstname.lastname@example.org. I respond to all.
If you’re interested in getting an entire email list building and email marketing education you should sign up for Tiny Lever’s free course by clicking the link below. It’s packed with simple, powerful and actionable ideas you can start using today to build your email list.