You desperately want to play the role of alluring song siren to the leads…but just as in the Homeric world, the online world is as elusive with many distractions and obstacles that make qualified leads hard to come by.

You are starting off from scratch; the only people that are currently interested in receiving the product that is your email marketing initiative are you and your secretary… so the question becomes where to start and how to get more people into the database?

The more people you send to, the bigger the chance of success = a common misconception of email marketing.  You could be sending emails promoting cars to an audience only interested in planes of which 1/1000 will convert, or you could send it to 20 people who have indicated an interest in cars and get 7/10 to convert.  What is even worse is if enough people on these bad lists unsubscribe and report your email as spam, it will hurt your domain and your company’s reputation.  You want to be strategic about who you send messaging to and how you do it, this means building your own list and NOT buying or renting mediocre at best e-mail lists.  Quality presides over quantity when it comes to B2B email marketing.  There are exceptions of course, like if you can get your hands on a very targeted email list from your industry’s yearly trade show which may yield qualified emails that you would have never gotten on your own and on top of that, it would put you in the same space to target the same customers as your competitors, but when you are just starting off, consider really building your own program.

There are several ways to build your database yourself and establish a highly qualified list of people that have willingly submitted to your offer in exchange for their email address.  Here are a few of the most popular ways to collect emails online:

1.    Web sign up form on your Homepage

a. Add a simple form on your homepage which asks for an email address in return for more information or a simple offer
b. Add a form to the contact us page

2.    Paid search to landing page form


3.    Social Networking form

a.    Post a form to the Facebook “sign up” tab and entice your “fans” to sign up, but also use your status bar in Facebook and Twitter to promote the email collection form/ offering

4.    Event Marketing email collection

a.    Host an event and ask people to leave their email upon attending

5.    Pop-ups

a.    While this can be irritating and some visitors have these disabled, you can code it to pop up once a visit for each unique visitor with an offer in exchange for an email address

6.    Outlook Signature

a.    Include a link to your sign up form in the signature of your personal emails and those of key “sales” figures in your company

In no time, you will have a large list of qualified leads that you can even segment by the original source of subscription (if that is one of the identifiers on your form that is) and you can send them customized messaging and truly become the siren to the boatload of leads.