There is good news and bad. Let’s begin with the good first- in 2019, nearly 78% of marketers have seen increased audience engagement with email marketing techniques. However, here’s the bad news- email marketing databases degrade at the rate of 2.1% per month, which means you lose almost 22.5% of your email list every year. There can be several reasons for this- your prospects change employers and hence their business emails, unsubscribe from your mailing list, or stop using old AOL addresses used specifically to fill out web forms.
Whatever be the case, as marketers, it’s our job to gather fresh leads so that we can keep adding new contacts to our email campaign databases. Before deep diving into ways to grow our list, let’s reassess the basics.
What is an email list?
It’s a list of email addresses curated by businesses by engaging with target audiences and potential customers through dedicated lead-nurturing programs. The list can shrink as people unsubscribe, and can grow by soliciting contact information from website visitors.
Why is it important?
There are two main reasons for this:
- Email has enormous reach- A research published by Optinmonster states that with 3.8 billion active email accounts, 60 % of users prefer it to be the channel for promotions compared to social media with an open rate of 22.86% and ROI of 4400%. Compared to that Twitter has 270 million active users, and Facebook has 1.35 billion members. In addition, social networks use email ids to send notifications, using it as an effective method to drive back traffic.
- It is extremely effective- Email open rates are as high as 23%, whereas the organic reach of social media posts have reduced to as low as 6% in an effort to drive business toward paid advertising options. Hence, email marketing seems to be the better option for businesses trying to have the maximum reach among the target customer base.
So here is your formula for successfully building your email list:
Its basic logic that no matter how simplified your web sign-up forms are, no one will share their information without an incentive. On the other hand, an amazing incentive might not be enough to capture the email id if the subscription process is too long, and asks for too much information.
With all this being said and done, it’s pretty easy to set up a mailing list. All you need to do is to choose an email marketing service that offers the subscribe button, landing page and embedded form.
Following this, the best way to increase subscribers is to create high quality content, be it a blog post, white paper or eBook. Not only should it be well-researched, but it should also contain an element of storytelling that will engage audiences more easily than mere factual data. In addition, using unique images and videos will create better engagement, as 65% of readers are visual learners.
Discounts and offers are an excellent way to entice people to subscribe to your mailing list. For instance, if you have an online store, then you can give away discounts or other value added offers. For instance, with first order discounts, you can motivate your target audience to join the mailing list by offering them the incentive to save money on their first purchase. In addition, if you add another value, like express shipping, then that is an added incentive for them to sign up, and an opportunity for you to grow your list.
Another way to grow your subscriber list is to give early access and exclusive promotions to your target audience. For instance, retail brand Huckberry requires visitors to create accounts and subscribe to the mailing list before browsing the online store. While this unorthodox stance of creating a sense of exclusive might not be everyone’s cup of tea, there are other alternatives you could try, like giving early access to new products, or special discounts and promotions.
The best way to leverage the normal competitive human nature in order to grow your email list is to organize contests and giveaways. In a recent study, Unbounce found that landing pages running contests gathered 700% more leads than those that did not. The prize, of course needs to be unique, like celebrity meetings, training sessions or backstage passes to events.
- Promote your lead-gen offers on social media channels– Create Facebook and Twitter campaigns to promote your gated content that people need to redeem using their email ids. Also, take care to add social sharing buttons on landing pages and thank you pages to encourage your leads to share the offer with their wider network.
- Publish links to gated content on social media– Use business and company pages on social media networks to circulate some of the links of your gated content. You can also use this technique in LinkedIn groups after checking that your message matches the tone and voice of conversations in that group.
Create valuable content that is shareable on multiple platforms– First things first, if you want people to subscribe to your emails, the content needs to be engaging, entertaining, and should add value. Following this step, social sharing options in the copy are a must, so that your contact list can share it with their friends and a wider audience base. At the end, include a CTA to “Subscribe” as a simple text based link for easy opt-ins.
Segment your mailing list– Create different kinds of emails depending on different buyer profiles and online customer behavior to send targeted content to specific segments of marketing personas. Recipients are more likely to look at content that is designed to cater to their interest areas, hence if there are multiple, targeted subscription types, the higher the probability that the viewer will subscribe to one of them.
Add employee signatures– Hyperlinked email signatures of employees can direct visitors to a landing page with a sign-up form. Or even better, if you are already in email conversation with a lead, then the obvious next step is to guide him/her to sign-up to receive your newsletters.
With new content
Create a lead-gen offer– Advertising gated offers are an amazing method to grow your email list. The best way to do this is to design a white paper or eBook and host it on a landing page with an opt-in form where people share their email ids to download the content.
Create a free online resource guide or tool– Free tools and resources are a wonderful way to make your audience’s lives easier, and also get them to share their email ids in order to download or access the material.
Bonus content– Not all gated content will make the cut by capturing the visitors attention, hence you need to give away some free resources to begin with. For instance, you can start by creating a “How to….” blog post, and then follow up with more specific deep dives, that the audience needs to subscribe to in order to get access.
Offline events like trade shows, conferences, product launches, meetups, educational panels put companies at the front and center of networking, and attendees of such gatherings are highly qualified individuals who should be pursued since they come to these events looking for specific answers to the business problems. These are all great opportunities to collect email ids of your visitors and keep in touch with them. Additionally, you can also integrate a QR code in all your printed marketing collaterals, that visitors can scan to get more information about your business.
For your website
Sign-up and checkout forms– Whenever visitors are looking at your offers and products is a great time to ask them for their emails. Of course, how you do this depends on the platform you are using. If you have an online business built on Shopify, you can integrate the subscribe tick box during the checkout process and then use tools like Zapier to ensure that all captured leads are added to your list.
Short lead-capturing forms and sliders– No more than two to three fields with drop down menus for choosing answers are the best way to get information from people. Moreover, a slider at the bottom corner of your web page that appears at designated intervals is a non-invasive way to encourage people to sign-up for your newsletter.
Check bounce rate and ask for feedback– Live chatbots, pop-up surveys and forms asking visitors about particular business needs when they visit certain pages of your website is a great way of capturing new leads. Similarly, checking the bounce rate of your campaigns to ensure that you have a clean list without any de-activated email ids is a great way to do regular housecleaning to ensure that your campaigns are on track.
A/B test different copies– Split testing or A/B testing different aspects of your list-building campaign will give you a great sense of what is working, and what is not. This includes the color of the offer, the location of the sign-up forms, the color of the call-to-action (CTA) text box, the time of the day the post is shared on social media.
Cross-link offers across your website to capture more leads– Your visitors shouldn’t have to go on a hunting trip across your website to subscribe to your email list. Offers should be direct and upfront, and CTAs should be located on several different pages, especially the “About Us” and “Contact Us” pages.
Create a blog and also guest-blog– Blogs are a great way to improve search engine rankings, and also gather subscriber email ids. You can use plugins called Plugmatter to add a custom feature box below the header but above the posts on the home page of your blog to encourage sign-ups. Moreover, guest blogging on websites that cater to a similar audience as that of your business is a great way to gather more contacts. Its best to create a CTA for your post while guest blogging so that people can subscribe to your mailing list.
Run a partner newsletter– Similar to guest blogging, this a great way to throw a wide net amongst a similar audience to capture more leads. You can use these newsletters to redirect traffic to your website where you can gather their information.
Look into co-marketing opportunities– Partner webinars and content are a great way to share the workload while sharing similar audiences. Once the content is released, you can split and share the leads.
Let me know what other methods you use to grow your email lists in the comments section below.