If ebooks aren't your jam, create tools instead. I don't recommend a one-or-the-other approach, necessarily, but if you have more development talent than writing talent, this may be a more attractive option for you. These tools can be valuable enough to some of your website visitors that they'll trade you their email address for a free demo of the product you built. Then, for your first email, ask them what they thought of the tool. It's the perfect icebreaker.
InfusionSoft is a fully functional CRM and marketing solution created for small and medium size businesses. Comparing it to MailChimp or AWeber is like comparing a Lamborghini to a VW Golf. It provides highly advanced features for list segmentation, lead scoring and marketing automation. On top of all that, you can integrate all of these features with your optin form using Infusionsoft Tags + OptinMonster.
This is a process described by Seth Godin known as permission marketing. The core concept of this idea is that you never market to someone that doesn’t want it, you first have to ask them for their permission. When someone signs up to your email not only do they become a warm lead but they give you their permission to send them offers and to market to them.
When people talk about email marketing, lots of them forget to mention transactional emails. These are the automated emails you get in your inbox after taking a certain action on a website. This could be anything from filling out a form, to purchasing a product, to updating you on the progress of your order. Often, these are plain text emails that marketers set and forget.
Update your website and continuously offer useful and updated content. Think of your website as a storefront but in the virtual world. In the same way that you do not leave your physical store unattended for a month, you would not do the same to your website. Always update your website and keep it fresh by having a blog, announcing sales, special offers, and new products. Think that you are a customer yourself, so give them the information that they want.
So, building up lists of emails is a task you must put some effort behind in order to kick your email marketing efforts into gear. The problem is nobody really wants more email, particularly spam from unknown sources. When I talk about buying email lists, I’m am not talking about buying or renting so called opt-in lists from list brokers. I’m talking about offering something of value as a way to motivate someone to willingly exchange their email address with you in order to receive your offers and additional contact.