How to Build an Email List: Masterful Mailing for Events

We can hear you already, readers. "How to build an email list? But I just discretely ducked out of Great Aunt Ethel's chain mail network of bad political jokes!" This is not that kind of...

We can hear you already, readers. "How to build an email list? But I just discretely ducked out of Great Aunt Ethel's chain mail network of bad political jokes!" This is not that kind of email list. In fact, you probably know just the kind we mean. If you have even a small collection of interests, chances are you've signed onto someone's email list. Literature lovers may be subscribed to the weekly newsletter of a famous journal; students of chess might see the occasional tutorial email from their digital chess academy of choice. Well, why should hobbies and publications have all the fun? For event organizers, the email list is one of the sharpest marketing tools at their disposal. Let's have a look at a few simple, effective ways to grow an email list for your next event.

Why use an email list for my event?

Because we said so! Just kidding. Consider that email marketing actually accrues about £38 for every spent pound. Yeah, that's a pretty sweet deal. It's not too surprising since email marketing boasts a very fast user adoption rate. In fact, nearly a third of the global population is using email. Including Great Aunt Ethel. Not sold yet? How about some of the following reasons to use email marketing:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Talk is cheap, but so is email. In fact, it can often be free.
  • Audience targeting: You can segment your subscribers by their interests to send out more targeted and relevant emails.
  • Instant reach: Most people check their email every day. Email lets you quickly reach all of your subscribers, including past attendees.
  • Performance tracking: It's easy to see how well your email campaigns perform. Measure your marketing prowess by figuring out how many people are opening your emails.

By building an effective email list, your events will make it onto more radars, plain and simple. So it works. Great. But that leaves the question of how to build an email list. Tip: Want to learn more? Dig into the many benefits of email marketing.

How to build your email list

Here we'll cover a few tips for growing that list up nice and healthy. And you don't even have to feed it Brussels sprouts.

Website sign-up

Step one: Get a website! If you include a sign-up form there, you've won half the battle. The second half is making it visible. There are a few different ways to go here:

Build your website and feature an email sign-up form on it. Can't understate the importance of this one.

  • Footer: Add an email list sign-up form in the footer of your page. They see it, they click it, they hear about your events.
  • Pop-up: That's right, the dreaded pop-up can actually work. This way, visitors don't have to undertake the hunt for your sign-up form themselves. As you unfurl that sign-up, you'll want to make sure it actually sounds valuable. That includes writing solid copy. As we'll cover below, you need to incentivize. But also try enticing them. Give a little tip and promise more to come with a quick sign-up.
  • Squeeze page: A squeeze page is a landing page that is designed solely to squeeze that email address out of the user. Just imagine it popping right out of their heads and into your lap. Or don't. That's weird.

Ticketing sites

As an event organizer, you're likely to be using a ticketing site. When you sell tickets to your event, it's a no-brainer to ask for attendees' email addresses. Most ticketing platforms—like Billetto—allow you to collect emails directly at checkout. The buyer can sign up for your newsletters to learn about upcoming events.

So text me, maybe

Maybe you're wondering how to collect email addresses at events. Try this one on for size: Set up a text-to-join system. Your new acquaintance can whip out that mobile phone and text PRETTYGOODEVENTS to 356634 or something similar.

The texting method is so easy she can do it on her coffee break.

Traditional methods

If you'd like to get really old-fashioned, there's the pen-and-paper list technique. Make it easy at your next event by setting a big bowl out next to a bunch of little paper slips. Eventgoers write their emails down and drop them into the bowl.

Email

Whoa, an email sign-up in an email. What is this, Inception? In the footer of all your event emails, include the option of subscribing to the list. This is useful for new readers who end up having one of your messages forwarded to them.

Incentivize

What's it worth to ya? This is less a method and more of a tactic. If you want someone's private email, it doesn't hurt to offer up a little something in return. Discounting their next ticket to your event, offering premium add-ons to an event pass, and so on.

Building an email list: Tools of the trade

What's a builder without their tools? Here's a little list of our favorite digital tools for building an email list.

Moosend

Yes, it's called "Moosend." Don't be fooled: This is a decidedly non-bovine option in email marketing for list builders of all stripes (or spots). Among some other things, it specializes in website tracking. They also let you send unlimited email campaigns free of charge. No complaints there.

Researching how to build an email list using analytics.

Sumo

The Sumo website has a list builder with options like the website "Welcome Mat," a kind of giant popup that appears over the page itself. Sumo also offers a so-called "Smart Bar," an attention grabber that appears as a header at the top of your page.

Mailchimp

This website offers assistance with a variety of marketing tools, including options for email list-building. They also specialize in visual design for those who may need a little help on the artistic end of things.

Optinmonster

This is a popular option for conversion optimization, but it doesn't come free. That said, you get what you pay for. Optinmoster's carefully designed process of guided campaign building is, dare we say, monstrously accessible.

Social media

Who didn't see this entry coming? Obviously, it's essential that your social media pages include a link to sign up for the email list. But on Facebook, there is also such a thing as a lead ad. This is an easy-to-build little box with a heading, a picture, and a bit of text. User clicks and gets routed to a pre-filled sign-up form. Alternatively, Twitter has lead generation cards that provide a similar user experience. Tip: Don't go it alone. Here's a handy guide to creating Facebook lead ads.

Who's on your list?

The registered number of global email users is the limit! The good news is that there is a social science to this whole business of growing an email list. If your list is feeling a little stunted, you can probably do something to fix it. What are your favorite ways to build an email list? Let us know in the comments below!

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