The secret to getting ahead is getting started.
Mark Twain didn’t know about email list-building during his lifetime, but if he had, this statement would have been extremely relevant. So relevant, in fact, that we can still apply it to a website pre-launch strategy.
In this post, we’ll look at how you can start capturing emails (and growing your list of email subscribers) even before your website launches–as well as why it matters in the first place.
In fact, let’s start there.
Why should I start capturing emails?
If the idea of capturing emails before your website launches has you scratching your head, consider this: Research shows that email is the #1 digital channel for driving traffic and revenue.
That’s not all, either: Data from DMA shows that email marketing can have a return on investment of up to 3800%, while McKinsey research shows that the average spending from an email is at least 3X higher than that of social media.
So, as you can see, having a list of email subscribers is extremely important for small business owners who want to drive traffic (and sales) to their website once it goes live. By collecting emails pre-launch, you’ll already have an audience of interested people to whom you can reach out and share your big news. Even a list of just 50-100 subscribers is a good starting place.
The next question, then, is: “How do I do that?”
Let’s look at a few different tactics that will help you capture emails before launching your website.
1. Use a ‘Coming Soon’ landing page
One of the simplest ways to start capturing emails before your full website is ready is through a ‘coming soon’ landing page. These standalone pages often include a sentence or two about what’s to come, as well as a form field with an email address opt-in.
This approach is a proactive one and helps ensure you’re not starting from scratch when your website launches. Instead, you can build a sense of anticipation around your website launch and assemble a group of interested audience members who are excited about what’s to come.
For WordPress-based websites, SeedProd plugin makes building a ‘coming soon’ landing page ultra-simple. With its responsive design and many different features, you can quickly and easily put together a landing page and start capturing emails.
Every web/marketing expert agrees you should start building your email list from day one. It doesn’t matter what audience your website is geared toward–connecting with them early is crucial for a successful launch.
Google even advises having a coming soon page to help users and search engines know what is coming.
-John Turner, SeedProd
Creating your signup form though is a bit of an art. Luckily we have the definitive guide on how to improve your signup form.
And if you use Elementor, we’ve also got a guide on how to create a landing page with an opt-in form, to help get you started.
2. Leverage your email signature
Along with your ‘coming soon’ landing page, it’s also a good idea to include an opt-in in your email signature to passively grow your email list. With a simple text link included in your email sign-off, you can invite your email correspondents to sign up (through your landing page) to hear about your upcoming website launch.
Taking this small step helps you reach a large audience and get some good exposure, as DMR data shows that on average, 121 business emails are received each day. Think about all of the emails you send each week–and all of the potential opportunities those emails present for sign ups.
3. Do some outreach to your existing contacts
You likely already have a network of connections who are interested in your work and what you’re doing, so consider doing some outreach to your existing contacts alongside your other efforts.
Your existing contacts are a goldmine and should always come first before seeking out new contacts to build out your list. These are people from whom you’ve already gained trust and have a relationship with, so nurturing them versus starting from scratch is always a good first step strategy.
-Bob Dunn, WordPress Expert
Now, this doesn’t mean sending a mass email to your entire address book–but it does mean reconnecting with friends, peers, and contacts who may have an interest in your new website. Send some emails, reconnect over LinkedIn, or simply pick up the phone and start a conversation. Take a personalized approach that’s more genuine and authentic than mass messaging.
To help provide some additional insight into why outreach to existing contacts is important during this process, we reached out to email expert Sophia Le. Sophia recommends reaching out to people you already know and sharing the good news about what you have in the works:
An email growth best practice is to send information to your existing contacts and tell them about the launch you have coming up, as it allows you to re-connect with people who may be interested in your launch. This is especially important for those who have an old email list that hasn’t been utilized in a while. I’ve been able to recover up to 41% of people on old lists who had not been engaged in over a year.
-Sophia Le, email expert
Once you’ve started to grow your list of email subscribers, it’s a good idea to send an initial welcome email to new subscribers to say hello and capitalize on the forward momentum of the signup.
In that message, you might include an Ebook/PDF or a simple greeting and a few more details on what’s to come. You can even go on to send occasional updates on progress in the meantime before launch–but it’s really up to you and depends on your bandwidth. If you’re in need of some inspiration, we have an ultimate guide to creating the perfect welcome email.
Keep in mind that welcome emails usually get the highest open rates, usually above 50%. This is a major opportunity to interact with a new subscriber, so think seriously about how you’ll integrate at least an initial welcome email into your approach.
Final tips and tricks
- It’s a good idea to keep these efforts up even after your website has launched for continued email list growth.
- Over time, you may consider adding new approaches like contests, lead magnets, etc. for even more expansion of your subscriber list.
- As you go, make note of which tactics work best (and which don’t). You may even want to try split testing different versions of landing pages to see which grows your list faster.
Hopefully, this post has helped you put together a strategy and your very next step is to start collecting emails. Are there any questions you still have about this process? Let us know in the comments!
Illustrations by Sim Kaart.