Building a B2B email list can be tedious. People are often very precious about their email addresses – these days, everyone knows handing over your email means you’re going to start getting marketing messages.
So when someone hands you theirs, you’ve got a chance to build a long-lasting relationship. Unfortunately, growing your email list can be a slog that takes years (or at least feels that way).
You want to ensure you’re taking advantage of all the list-building techniques you can get your hands on.
Email Signup Sheets
These days, signup sheets are found primarily at trade shows and other professional events. There are all kinds of ways to go about this – including traditional pen and paper – but it’s fairly easy to build a quick form that feeds directly into your marketing automation.
Put that on a tablet or two at your booth and you can collect a list of valuable contacts who’ve already directly engaged with your brand.
Old-fashioned? Yep. Effective? Also yep.
But it’s not exactly lightning-fast and won’t skyrocket your list overnight. This is a great way to capitalize on events and build meaningful 1-to-1 relationships, but it’s not an effective scaling tool.
Lead Capture Forms
Every digital marketer’s bread and butter, lead capture forms are the primary way you can collect addresses for your list. You’re really only limited by your creativity here.
Got some useful information that your audience wants? Assemble it into a nice case study or white paper, and gate it behind a form on your website for a steady trickle of incoming prospects.
If your offering allows for a free trial or demo, that’s a top-notch way to collect leads.
The downside is that you can’t really control the flow of leads here. You’re waiting for people to find your offer and fill out the form.
It works and it’s low sustained effort, but it’s still not the overnight growth we’re looking for here.
It’s not just for the kids – people from all walks of life spend absurd amounts of time scrolling through social media. Make it easy for them to hand over their information.
Remember those awesome offers we just mentioned: your new case study or white paper or demo? Post about it. Promote it. Get as many (relevant) eyes on it as you can. If people click through and convert, awesome. Even just seeing your brand come across their feed repeatedly will build brand recognition.
If you’re really motivated, you can invest in paid ads for your gated content and really push.
All these tricks help and you should absolutely consider doing them. But none of the traditional list-building methods really drive huge overnight growth.
Generate Leads with Email
But wait, how do you generate email addresses for your list … by sending email? How do you send campaigns to people whose addresses you don’t have?
If you’re a B2B marketer, the answer is surprisingly simple: buy them. But do it intelligently.
There’s a prevalent concept that purchased or cold lists are a bad investment. That’s true of low-quality lists: sending a campaign to a bad list is like shooting your marketing in the foot.
That’s becomes some unscrupulous vendors scrape random email addresses off the internet, collect them into lists, and sell them. If you send to one of these scraped lists, you’re in for all kinds of a bad time.
When you source a high-quality list of B2B contacts that are aggregated, not scraped, you’ll get much better results. It all comes down to where you get your list from.
Presto – you’ve grown your email list by, say, a couple hundred thousand contacts. All at once.
(Unsure where to find a good list? Drop us a line – we partner with a number of reputable vendors and are happy to refer you.)
Once you’ve got your list, you can’t just upload it into your favorite email platform and fire off a hundred-thousand-contact campaign. There’s a variety of reasons for this.
Most platforms outright disallow purchased lists, because they aren’t equipped to send to that volume of contacts. There’s a bunch of technical challenges around super-high-volume email that marketing automation platforms just aren’t designed to handle, such as IP warmup and list verification.
Since these platforms often share IPs across their users, if they allow a user to send a huge cold campaign, odds are good that the IP’s sender score will get damaged (because the platform doesn’t take the necessary precautions to protect it).
That reduces that IP’s ability to deliver campaigns to inboxes (they’ll start hitting junk folders more and more). So when another user sends from that IP, their campaign would be negatively impacted by something another user did. So they just disallow them completely.
All this boils down to one conclusion: you need a dedicated email platform that’s designed for cold email. Once you have a good list and a good platform, you can start sending campaigns directly to your contacts.
Remember the awesome offers from earlier? You’ve got a capture form on a landing page all ready to go from earlier – use that. Or rather, create one specifically for each email campaign and tailor the messaging on the landing page to match the messaging in the email copy.
Instead of waiting for people to find your awesome offers, present it to them right in there inbox. Once they convert, they flow right into your marketing automation like any other lead, ready for nurturing.
Hitting tens or even hundreds of thousands of inboxes with your white paper offer sounds a whole lot more efficient than just waiting for them to come find you, doesn’t it?