How to Grow Your Email List With Social Media

4 Aug 2016
Alan Martin

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Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to grow your business, and social media can play an important role in helping you achieve this, but it is surprising that many businesses are still not doing this yet.

Are you actively building an email list of people who have opted in to receive your communications?

Here are seven good reasons why you need to make building your email list a top marketing priority now:

  • Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm is now showing less and less of your content to fans
  • Maturing social networks are moving towards a pay-to-play model
  • You don’t “own” your presence on social networks and the rules change all the time about what you can and can’t do
  • Information overload – apart from Facebook, most networks don’t filter what your fans see in their newsfeed, which means that there is a good chance that people will miss a lot of your updates
  • 91% of consumers check their email every day (ExactTarget)
  • Email marketing is extremely cost effective – the ROI of email marketing is estimated at £21.48 for every £1 spent (Direct Marketing Association)
  • You own your email list. So, within reason, you can contact your list as regularly as you like (too frequent communications that lack perceived value will result in unsubscribes)

Here’s another question for you: Does everyone who comes into contact with your business buy from you first time?

If the answer is yes, give me a call please I would love to speak to you! I am guessing that for everyone reading this article, the answer to this question is No. There will of course be a variety of reasons for this but perhaps the most common is that potential customers are just not ready to buy from you yet.

One of the main reasons for building an email list is so that you can nurture and educate these prospects and also stay top-of-mind through regular communications, so that when they are ready to buy or need your services, you are the obvious choice.

What do you need to get started?

Are you convinced yet? Okay, so the first thing you will need to start building your list is something called a ‘lead magnet’. A lead magnet is something that people will be willing to exchange their email address for in order to receive something of value.

At Chat Marketing our main lead magnet is the ‘101 Ninja Facebook Tips’ E-book, but it could be anything really, from a list of tools that you use, a video series, free webinar or even a discount coupon or free gift. Whatever you decide to give away it needs to be significantly valuable for people who are unfamiliar with your company to risk giving you their email address in order to get something in return.

It is important to stress that it must be obvious to people who are signing up to receive your lead magnet, that they are also subscribing to your email list. It is usually helpful if you explain what they will be letting themselves in for by agreeing to receive the lead magnet, e.g. you will also receive our regular monthly newsletter.

That way people can make an informed decision whether or not they want to go ahead with the exchange and they are not surprised when they start receiving your communications.

The next thing you need is a means of data capture and delivery of the lead magnet. There is not enough time to go into the intricacies of this here, but you will need some form of opt-in page, either on your website or elsewhere on the internet, where you can send people to sign up for your lead magnet, which also needs to integrate with your Email Service Provider.

If you don’t have the ability to add an opt-in page to your website, LeadPages (affiliate link) would be a great place to start. If you click on the “Learn More” button in the box above, we use a LeadBox for the email opt-in. This is one of four nifty opt-in tools that LeadPages offers.

The next thing you will need is a way of delivering your lead magnet when people sign-up. The method for doing this will vary depending on what you are giving away, but a common delivery method is to use an auto-response email with a link to where the lead magnet can be accessed.

If you have a WordPress website for example, you can upload your give away to the ‘Media’ section, then provide a link to it in your welcome email.

If you use ConvertKit (affiliate link) for your email marketing, there is an option to deliver your lead magnet when people confirm their subscription to your newsletter. This is the only system I’ve come across that lets you combine delivery with the double opt-in process. Your give away is hosted by ConvertKit, so no need for a 3rd party tool.

I am assuming that you are also using an Email Service Provider, such as ConvertKit or MailChimp. If not, you’ll need to set up an account before you do any of the above.

How to use social media to build your list

Now that you have the basics in place, you are ready to start using social media to drive traffic to your opt-in page. What follows are ten top tips to help you do this:

1. Utilise your Facebook Cover Image

The Facebook Cover Image (315 pixels high by 851 pixels long) is a great place to advertise your lead magnet. Why not add a call to action and hyperlink directing people to your opt-in page, in the Image Description?

2. Add a link to your social media profiles

Most social media sites have a bio area where you can introduce your business and add some basic contact details. On Facebook you can add hyperlinks to your About Page, which is accessible from your Business Page.

Twitter allows you to add a hyperlink within your bio and LinkedIn gives you the ability to direct people to up to three different websites as well as the ability to add a call to action statement within the ‘Summary’ section of your Profile, although this is not a live link on the page.

3. Use the Pin to the Top feature to highlight a post promoting your lead magnet

The ability to pin a post to the top of the page started with Facebook but has now been rolled out with the new Twitter profiles and with LinkedIn Company Pages. Use this feature to highlight key posts at the top of these pages so they become much more visible to people visiting your pages.

4. Use social media advertising

If you can allocate a little bit of budget towards paid-for ads, these can be a great way to build your list and attract exactly the right type of prospects. If you have a local business, having lots of overseas prospects on your mailing list is not likely to be as valuable to you as having local contacts.

5. Use Facebook apps to encourage opt-ins

Facebook apps are a good way to get people to join your list directly from your page. If they already like what you do, then joining your email list is the next logical step for them. MailChimp offers excellent Facebook integration, whilst other apps such as 22Social offer the ability to easily create professional opt-in pages including video, in minutes.

6. Look for guest blogging opportunities

Find businesses that are complementary to yours but not competitive and offer to do some guest blogging for them. This is a great way to add back-links to your social media channels and opt-in form.

7. Annotate YouTube videos

If you use YouTube videos why not add annotations to hyperlink people to your email opt-in page?

8. Free give-aways

Offer a free give-away when people sign up to your list. This does not need to be expensive, it could be a branded mug or t-shirt or similar. This is only limited by your imagination and the budget you want to allocate to this initiative.

9. Contests/competitions

Contests are another great way to encourage people to join your mailing list. The better the prize you are giving away, the more people you will get taking part in your competition, but remember to make the prize relevant to your business to attract the right kind of prospects.

If you want to collect email opt-ins and encourage social sharing etc on Facebook, you should still use a contest app like EasyPromos app, even although Facebook now permits newsfeed contests, because there is nowhere within a regular post for people to opt-in.

Newsfeed contests are good to increase your fanbase or encourage engagement with the page, but not if your goal is to get email subscribers.

10. Publish teaser status updates

One of my favourite free ways of generating email opt-ins is to tease your community with a status update telling them about a story that is going to be featured in the next newsletter and providing a link for them to opt-in. Make sure you do this on all your social channels.


OK, over to you now. If you recognise that email marketing can play an important part in building your business, you need to start putting the systems in place now. The longer you wait the harder it will be to drive free traffic to your opt-in pages.

How to Build Trust on Social Media

Want to Learn More About Email Marketing?

As LeadPages affiliates, we are delighted to have access to some awesome free training that we can make available to our readers. Click HERE to get hold of the LeadPages Email List Building System online training course and let me know what you think in the comments below.

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