With technology racing ahead at breakneck speeds, it can be hard to figure out what you need to stay on top of to benefit your company. Clearly, the buzz is all around social media and the various networks right now. Most companies are well aware of the fact they need to be present on these platforms and engage with customers. But what about the more traditional practice of generating email lists? Are email lists still important?

Not only are email lists still relevant but they can also work hand-in-hand with your social media efforts. So, if your company’s email list is looking rather dismal, or you haven’t really been giving it much attention, here are the key steps you can take that will help you build it. Keep in mind that the vast majority of companies, no matter the size or industry they are in, can benefit from email list building.

Email Holds its Own

Here’s the thing, even in the day of social media, email still holds its own. Studies have shown that 72 per cent of customers still prefer email as their top way of communicating with businesses. Not only that, but 61 per cent of those surveyed like to get weekly promotional emails. There is even a segment that wouldn’t mind receiving more emails from companies they subscribe to. What this means is that there is an audience, a need, and a want for company-produced emails.

Understand there are Different Types of Email Lists

The next step in growing your email list is to understand that there are different types of contact lists that you can build. It’s not just a one-size-fits-all solution if you will. Instead, there are opt-in, opt-out, rented, and purchased lists. You need to take a look at each one and figure out what works best for your business and your goals.

The way an opt-in list works is that you get a list of email addresses from corporations and individuals that have voluntarily given you their information.

With opt-out, you gather that same information but for an unrelated reason, and the person is then signed up without actually being informed. They will continue to receive the emails until they opt-out.

A rented email list is obtained through a third-party list provider. You won’t have ownership over the list, and it will be either temporary or a one-time use.

With a purchased list, you will again get the information from a third-party such as a data brokerage, and you will be able to get really specific and have a more targeted list.

Provide an Incentive for Signing Up

Another smart tactic that companies can use to build their email list is to offer an incentive for signing up. Maybe you can provide them with a discount code, a free shipping offer, access to a value-added webinar or e-book, entrance into a contest, etc. The reader will see this as a benefit for them, and be more willing to hand over their email address.

Understand Your Efforts Need to be On-Going

What some don’t necessarily understand about building an email list is that it’s not a one-time thing. People are constantly changing email addresses. Maybe they change jobs and move to another company, or perhaps they just opt-out. What that means is that your efforts need to be on-going and consistent. You can never just sit back and let the list take care of itself.

Encourage Your Emails to Be Shared Among Co-Workers and Friends

Rather than you doing all the work on your own, another great way to grow your list is to encourage your readers to share the content. They can share it with co-workers and friends, and if that person enjoys the content then you may get yourself another subscriber.

Send Out Engaging Emails

Then there is the fact that people will want to sign up for the mail if you’re sharing engaging and informative content. If it’s nothing but a sales pitch each and every time, you can’t expect to grow your list let alone keep the people you currently have on it.

Content should contain news, tips, promotion and sales announcements, etc. Anything that will appeal to the reader and make them want to open up the email.

Bring in a Regular or Guest Blogger

Another incentive is to bring in a regular or guest blogger that will add real value and interest to your emails. Maybe they are an industry expert or just someone that offers a lot of knowledge that could benefit the reader.

A Number of Ways to Start Building Your List

As you can see, there are all kinds of steps you can take in your efforts to build your email list. Typically, it’s a matter of combining a few different techniques and, of course, staying consistent in your efforts.