5 Ways to Generate a Clean List

As a marketer, your database is one of your most prized possessions. You need a healthy stream of new prospects coming in, and you need to grow your lists and keep them producing. With that in mind, it’s easy to be tempted by purchased lists: a few clicks and voila, you have a brand new, shiny list to target! Your job is made that much simpler. But wait! Resist the temptation and remember the Permission-Based Marketing policy! It’s kind of like an angel on your shoulder, telling you to build your lists the right way.

Not sure how to get started? Here are five tips to build those healthy, clean lists!

Grow Organically

While this may seem like the slow and unsexy way to go, the reality is your website is an incredible tool for list building, if optimized properly. Make sure that you give your visitors every chance to convert:

  • Gate your content
  • Make it easy to subscribe to your blog
  • Put the option to get in touch on every page

Think about the forms that you are using: are they long and complicated or do they stay in that sweet spot of four fields or less? A shorter, more concise form will make it much more likely that your visitors will stay and complete it. And if you’re not using landing pages, you definitely should be. A recent study shows that businesses with 30-40 landing pages on their site are generating 7x more leads than business with 1-5 landing pages.

Build Trust

The best way to get someone to share their information with you is to build trust. If you are consistently putting out content that is valuable and relevant to your audience, you are building trust. If you are addressing the most common questions and concerns that come up around your product or service, you are building trust. If you are knowledgeable and up-to-date on industry news, you are building trust. When that great foundation is built, your database will grow exponentially faster.

Determine What Works

When growing your list, analytics are going to be your best friend. Look through your past content and determine what has been the most successful at converting. Is there an e-book that resonated well? Maybe that blog post led more people to sign up for updates? Whatever it is that’s working, make note of it and focus your energies in that direction. Find patterns in your successes and amplify it by repurposing content and building on those resonating themes. For example, maybe you can pull out a few ideas from that great e-book and showcase them as a quick, easily digestible SlideShare. Or maybe that blog post that did so well can be the start of a series of posts on a similar topic, because you know your readers are interested!

Go Beyond Your Website

Of course you will most likely start with your website, but as your array of conversion points increases, you can also take it a larger audience through social media. For example, consider including linking to your landing pages in your social posts. Also, remember when you discovered what your most “convert-able” content was? Now share it far and wide via your social channels! If you’re feeling really adventurous, you might even host a contest, prompting visitors outside your usual segment to join in.

Start Slow and Steady

It can be frustrating waiting for your list to grow organically—that’s why purchased lists are so tempting, but slow and steady really does win the race. Think about it—if your goal is to build trust with potential customers, then sending emails to people who didn’t ask for them is entirely counter-intuitive. Building your list the right way may feel slow at first, but as you gain more trust, you’ll also get more traction; your content will have known value and attract more prospects, your reputation as an anti-spammer will spread and, as a result, your lists will continue to grow exponentially.

Remember, list building is a long-term process. Just like any good relationship, it takes time to nurture and grow. If you amplify your lead generation efforts both on and off your website, analyze your past successes and build that trust, you will most certainly see the benefit.

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