So you caved in and bought a mailing list online. Unfortunately, the investment failed to produce desirable results, give you your money’s worth or improve your reputation. If you didn’t know before, you probably know now that buying an email list is a bad idea. The good news is that it’s not too late to get into the habit of building your list in-house with permission-based email marketing. Here are some steps you can start taking right now to get things back on track:

Place Signup Boxes on Your Website

If you have a website for selling products or qualifying leads, that site should be a key component in your home-grown list building initiative. Don’t just put signup boxes on your homepage and landing page. Use every single page on your website so visitors can subscribe regardless of where they land. No matter where you put those boxes, you want to make sure they are both easy to spot and complete. Additionally, you need to give potential subscribers a compelling reason to sign up. Your website is a powerful weapon in the game of list building so be sure to use it to its fullest potential.

Offer Incentives to Subscribe

Sometimes it takes a little more than the promise of great offers or valuable information to appeal to potential subscribers. Consumers love to receive something of value without having to pay for it, and the sooner they can get it, the better. So what type of incentives should you offer? You’re the expert in your field, so it could be anything from a free white paper to a free trial offer of your new software. Whatever you decide to offer, make sure it is something people will want and is relevant to the content you will be sending in your mailings. Offering incentives to sign up is one of the best ways to sway visitors who are still on the fence about joining your list.

Take Advantage of All Opportunities

The key to successfully building your list in-house is using every opportunity to increase subscriptions. This means asking customers and visitors to fill out a signup sheet before they leave your physical place of business, networking at industry events and including a link to your opt-in form on every piece of printed material used to promote your business. All these efforts can help you grow your list directly, or direct people to the destination where they can sign up and become a member. It can be hard work, but just think of how many subscribers you can convert by putting in the extra effort.

Although purchasing an email list is tempting, it is also one of the worst decisions you can make for your email marketing. Why force yourself to learn an expensive lesson when so many others have already taken the course? By growing your list organically, you can reap the benefits that come from targeting an audience of interested subscribers who want to hear from you.