How to build an email list with the "Drip-Drip" and "Flood" methods

How to Build an Email List: The Fast and Slow Methods

You want to build an email list as quickly as possible, right?

That’s smart — email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to grow an online business.

But does speed really matter?

On the one hand, yes — it’s important to gather an audience that you can help and serve. The faster you build this audience, the sooner your online business will see real traction.

But fast is not the only speed you need to use. Slow counts, too.

A solid email marketing strategy uses both speeds, fast and slow.

The fast tactics you’re about to read about will give your email list an immediate boost.

But the slow tactics? They’ll provide slow burn growth that builds a solid foundation under your online business.

Ready to build an email list at two different speeds? Let’s do this …

Introducing the Drip-Drip and Flood Methods to build an email list

The best email marketing strategy is one that combines a slow growth plan with occasional events that add bursts of new members to your list.

I call these two approaches Drip-Drip and Flood. Let’s go over each one.

The Drip-Drip Method

The Drip-Drip Method consistently adds new people to your email list over time. This constant growth creates an audience for your email marketing strategy and is the first approach to put into place.

We’ll talk more about how to set up your own Drip-Drip Method later in this article.

The Flood Method

The Flood Method gives your email list a burst of new growth when you:

  • Create an “event” like a webinar or a series of live videos which require people to opt-in to participate
  • Run a limited-time giveaway or contest when people sign up to your list
  • Get your information in front of someone else’s existing audience

We’ll go into detail about the Flood method below — but let’s get those subscribers steadily dripping into your email list first.

How to Build an Email List: The Fast and Slow Methods 1

How to set up Drip-Drip email list building on your website

The “Drip-Drip” Method won’t bring a dramatic influx of people all at once, but it will steadily build your audience over time.

This method relies heavily on you using your own website real estate to encourage sign ups to your email list.

When asking for an email address, it’s important to offer something valuable in exchange. No one scours the internet looking for a way to fill their inboxes!

What can you give people in exchange for an email address?

Get ideas for opt-in incentives you can create to encourage email sign ups: Stop Begging and Start Giving: Why Perks Work to Build Your Email List

Add useful content to your blog posts, podcast episodes, or videos, and ask for an email in exchange for the information. Read more: How to Profit from Your Email List with Content Upgrades

Feature your email list invites on your website

Unlike social media sites, your website is 100% owned and operated by you.

Take full advantage of the control you have by placing invitations to sign up for your email list in prominent places on your website.

You don’t need to place an invite in all of these spots — choose three or four.

Locations for email opt-ins on your website (choose 3-4)

  1. Top bar with form or button that points to a landing page with your opt-in form
  2. Top of website header area
  3. Top of sidebar (if you use one)
  4. Links within content that point to a landing page with your opt-in form
  5. Forms within your content
  6. Forms after your content
  7. Forms or buttons within your website footer
How to build an email list using your website

You don’t need to buy fancy software to do this — your email marketing provider will give you a way to create a form and place it on your site, usually by copy/pasting a line of code.

Alternatively, your website theme may give you a way to add email list invites to your website design.

If you decide to use software to help place email list invitations on your website, take a look at these options:

  • Icegram: Feature-rich free plan. Paid plan adds themes and analytics.
  • AddThis: Free plan with limited features. Pro plan adds customization.
  • Thrive Leads: Feature-rich paid plans.
  • OptinMonster: Feature-rich paid plans.

Place email list invites in your social media profiles

Use social media platforms to promote what’s available on your own website.

Let’s think about social platforms like highways filled with cars zooming by:

How to build an email list using social media, image 1

Your presence on the social platform is like a billboard:

How to build an email list using social media, image 2

Build an email list with social media when you do this:

On your billboard, invite people on the social platform to stay connected by signing up for something valuable on your website.

How to build an email list using social media, image 3

Look at all the social media platforms you currently use and be sure you’re inviting people to sign up for your email list on all of them.

  • On your Facebook page, add a sign up button to the cover art
  • On Instagram, use a tool like Linktree (free and paid plans) to add clickable buttons to your Instagram bio
  • On Twitter, pin a tweet about your primary opt-in incentive to the top of your account and add a link to it in your Twitter bio
  • On Pinterest, mention your primary opt-in incentive in your bio
  • On LinkedIn, mention your primary opt-in incentive and add a link in your bio

Using both the Drip-Drip and Flood methods is smart. Once you set up both your website and your social media accounts so they provide a constant drip of new sign ups, it’s time to create events that flood your list with new subscribers all at once.

How to Build an Email List: The Fast and Slow Methods 2

How to build an email list with the Flood method

To grow your email list fast, open the floodgates. How?

It’s simple (but not easy):

Get your information in front of a large existing audience.

We see this approach all the time in the entertainment world:

Actors’ agents book them on popular nighttime shows to have a chat with the host about their latest project. They deliver information and entertainment. In exchange, they gain exposure to the audience that watches the show. They drum up excitement about their work and career while they gather a new group of fans.

Musicians team up to record duets. They collaborate on a catchy song that delivers entertainment. They gain new fans from the others’ audience.

Artists, authors, and business owners are interviewed in the media. They deliver interesting, entertaining information to the journalist. In exchange, they gain exposure to the readers, listeners, or viewers of that media platform.

The internet equivalent: The Flood Method

Getting yourself, your business, or your project in front of a larger audience is a time-tested approach. If you have an online business, how can you use it?

Contact people who already speak to the audience you want to reach. Get to know the site owner. Offer your expertise. Become a known expert to their audience.

Simple, right? But not easy.

That’s why it’s important to first build your Drip-Drip foundation on your own website and on the social media platforms you use.

Floods are one-time (or very occasional) events, so you wouldn’t want them to be the only thing you relied on to grow your audience.

Bring a flood of new subscribers and build an email list when you:

  • Write guest posts on websites with large audiences (I did this for years on Copyblogger)
  • Book podcast interviews on shows that speak to your audience
  • Co-host a webinar presentation for someone else’s audience and send people to a registration form on your webinar platform
  • Be an expert presenter on someone else’s workshop and create a free giveaway worksheet about your topic that people can sign up for
  • Create a giveaway or contest and encourage your colleagues to share it with their networks

Remember, use both of these approaches to build an email list over time.

Over to you: Use Drip-Drip and Flood to build an email list that builds your online business

The Drip-Drip method won’t bring a dramatic influx of people all at once, but it will steadily build your audience over time. Get this foundation in place first.

Then, create occasional flood when you deliver entertaining information to someone else’s audience using the Flood approach ideas above.

How to create content upgrades that grow your email list

How to Profit from Your Email List with Content Upgrades

Wondering how to create an email list that actually builds profits … not just names in a database?

Content upgrades are the answer.

Content upgrades are the perfect example of the 80/20 Rule in action.

The 80/20 rule, or Pareto Principle, states:

“Roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.”

When it comes to how content upgrades can help you profit from your email list, I think it’s closer to 90/10.

Content upgrades are effective because they’re:

  • Easy to create
  • Irresistible to your audience
  • Build highly targeted prospect lists
  • Allow you to make offers that you know people want

Let’s get down to defining a content upgrade before we proceed.

How to Profit from Your Email List with Content Upgrades 3
What is a content upgrade?

A content upgrade is a small-but-valuable bit of information that you offer inside a larger piece of content.

The best content upgrades:

  • Are easy to consume (and create)
  • Offer tips, resources, or information that can be put to use immediately
  • Complement and expand on the content where they’re featured

If that’s still not clear, later in this article you’ll find lots of content upgrade examples you can try for yourself.

Read article …How to Profit from Your Email List with Content Upgrades

Email Marketing Best Practices: How to Connect, Deliver, and Profit in the Inbox 4

Email Marketing Best Practices: How to Connect, Deliver, and Profit in the Inbox


Today’s article on email marketing best practices is long and thorough.

The good news?

You can watch the Email Best Practices video at the end to boost retention after you’ve read the information here.

Email marketing can be absolutely mortifying.

Why?

Because any mistake you make in your email marketing goes out to hundreds, thousands — sometimes tens of thousands of people all at once.

And you can’t take it back.

It sits there as a witness to your imperfections, glowing on screens across the world.

Email marketing mistake
Here’s my face when I realize I sent an email with a mistake.

My personal email marketing Hall of Shame

Mistakes with email marketing? I’ve made a few. Here’s a sample:

Read article …Email Marketing Best Practices: How to Connect, Deliver, and Profit in the Inbox

3 Ways to Improve Your Marketing

3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Marketing (And Keep Your Business from Slowly Dying)


“As with any business, if you’re not morphing, and changing, and growing — you don’t have to be growing huge but growing — you’re slowly dying.” – Andrew Martin, owner of Honey Pot Hill Orchards

Scary when you think about it, isn’t it?

If your business isn’t growing, it’s slowly dying.

As a business owner, you’re constantly trying to figure out how to bring new people in and how to retain existing customers. It’s true for new and established businesses.

There’s good news though. A few simple tweaks to your marketing efforts can have major impact on your ability to generate repeat business and find new customers.

Interviewing successful small business owners for the Small Biz Stories podcast, I’ve observed things they’re doing well with their marketing and identified areas for improvement.

Use these three tips to improve your marketing and keep your business growing.

Read article …3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Marketing (And Keep Your Business from Slowly Dying)

Build an email marketing program you're proud of

How to Build an Email Marketing Program You Can Be Proud Of


how to build an email listIf you don’t use email marketing already, building a program can feel a little like standing at the foot of Mt. Everest, contemplating a hike to the summit.

The obstacles seem insurmountable:

  • You don’t have a mailing list
  • You’re not sure how to build an email list
  • You don’t know how to use the email marketing software
  • You don’t know what to write about in your emails
  • You’re afraid you’ll send out the wrong email to the wrong group of people (it happens to the best of us)

But we all know:

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. –Lao-tzu

Like everything worth achieving in this life, an email marketing program has to start somewhere.

And in order to build it, you have to be willing to start from scratch.

Read article …How to Build an Email Marketing Program You Can Be Proud Of