6 Tips for Building an Email List with Social Media

Start building an email list with social media and create an overlapping audience

Ultimately the goal of social media is to improve your search scores and drive traffic to your website. But social can be used to build an email list, and vice versa, email can be a great way to build a social following. And if you can capture a visitor on both platforms, then if they unsubscribe or unlike, you may still maintain a relationship on the backup medium and you haven’t lost them forever.

Since building an email list is at the forefront of every publisher’s mind, social channels can assist in unique ways for getting the traffic to your site that is most apt to convert. Here are six techniques most publishers haven’t tried yet, and you can get ahead by trying them now.

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1. Align email and social schedules.

Many of our clients send “freebie friday” emails that promote a free downloadable report. This email is to remind subscribers of the benefits of being an email subscriber. It can also result in “forward to a friend” participants that turn into subscribers. Use this consistent schedule to remind yourself to promote the same freebies in social media. This way you can turn your social media followers into email subscribers and build a relationship with them in both places.

Since social networks like Facebook tend to limit posts to your fans, you’re more apt to reach people through email. Plus, we’ve found that Twitter users convert into email subscribers up to 200% better than visitors from search.

2. Get your team involved in social promotions.

If you can get your editorial staff and anyone involved in the production of your freemiums involved in promoting them, you’ll have a bigger network of people to promote them to! This is especially true on LinkedIn where freebies can be displayed as profile portfolio pieces and editors will be proud to share their work.

3. Pin a post to the top that promotes a freemium. 

On Twitter, you can “pin” a post so that it shows up at the top of your Twitter profile when someone visits. Take one of your freebie promotional posts and pin it to the top of the page. You can also use it for other promotional opportunities. Women’s Health and People use it to promote their latest issue, and Outside uses it to promote a featured article. We think this is a prime spot to promote a free download.

4. Append a call to action in videos.

Some publishers create short clips of how-to projects and then encourage people to sign up for a related special report right on the screen giving a unique URL where they can download it and sign up. You can do this on YouTube and also on your own site through self-hosted videos on platforms like Wistia.

5. Post the cover of a freebie on Instagram.

Instagram is visual-focused, so if you already have a big Instagram following,  one way to drive conversions from Instagram is to post an image of the cover of your freebie, then update the URL in your Instagram profile with the freebie email capture page. Just tell followers to click the link in your profile to get access to the freebie.

6. Pin an image of the freebie on Pinterest.

Same idea as Instagram applies here. One pro-tip is to write a short description here that includes keywords, because most people use Pinterest’s search feature to find pins, and since it’s not smart enough to read images, it relies on the copy you supply with the image. The more re-pins you get, the higher it’ll rank in the future, so an idea might be to ask people to “pin” the eBook when you can, even through a link or button in your freebie friday email.

The ultimate goal for the website publisher is to quickly and easily add unknown site visitors to an email database. As a multiplatform magazine, your content, audience development and revenue teams, through the metrics of organization, technology & measurement, will continually build and improve. And if you work with us, you can do that with complete confidence that you’ll succeed. In the end, you increase value to your stakeholders, and also to investors, talent or potential acquirers – because everyone wants to be associated with an organization with popular content and that’s financially successful. Want to work with us? Schedule a time to chat.


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