As digital marketing has evolved we’ve seen more and more companies looking to maximize their audience reach and response through new channels, particularly social media. And while that makes sense – an ever-expanding amount of consumers are spending more and more time on social platforms – at the same time, businesses shouldn’t neglect ‘older’ methods which may still be just as effective, in particular, email.
Why email? In a study published by McKinsey and Company last year, they found that despite the rise of social networks, email “remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media – nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined”. That’s a massive discrepancy, and a huge opportunity that some marketers may be missing, particularly if they’re chasing trends.
But in order to maximise your email marketing, you first have to build your email lists. In order to help with this, here are ten tips to help get you on track and on the way to establishing an email listing that will enable you to reach your customers and build relationships in a more personalised and focussed way.
1. Focus Your Email Content
The first thing you need to ensure you’re doing to build your email list is to get people interested in signing up – and you can set up all the pop-ups and prompts you want, but if your messaging is too pushy or your content is no good, people won’t care, simple as that.
So first, you need to make sure your content is top notch. This should be a given either way, but if you’re not offering content that people want to read on your website or social media pages, they’re probably not going to be too compelled to sign-up and get more.
This extends to all the content you produce, but most specifically that which you’re sending to your email subscribers – the more focussed, helpful and outstanding your content is, the more likely people will not only want to see more of it, but they’ll also be more likely to want to share with friends, expanding your potential subscriber base by word-of-mouth.
Of course, creating great content is easier said than done, but by focussing on the customer experience and building an understanding of what works and what doesn’t, you can develop a plan that’ll see you delivering relevant and timely content via your email send out, and expanding your reach and response as a result.
2. Include Social Sharing Buttons on Your Marketing Emails
It goes without saying that you want as many people as possible reading your emails. In order to assist with this, you need to make it as simple as you can. By adding in social sharing buttons, you’re giving your subscribers a quick and easy way to share your messaging and offers with friends and expanding your message reach as a result.
Most email providers enable this type of functionality, and you can also consider adding in ‘click to tweet’ buttons within your email copy to add more opportunities for people to share your content. But don’t overdo it – add in too many links and you can make your content hard to read, and the reading experience should always take precedence.
3. Add a Link to Your Mailing Lists in Your Employees Email Signatures
Again, exposure is key, and in a lot of cases, simply making people aware of your mailing list is enough to get them to sign-up. But if you’re going to send out regular updates, you need to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, so you need to take every opportunity to promote and highlight your email content – your employee email signatures are prime real estate in this regard.
4. Collect Email Addresses In-Store
You know why stores are so keen on signing you up to loyalty cards these days? Because that gives them your email address, and in more advanced systems (like supermarket rewards cards) they can also track your purchase history in order to better target you with more relevant offers in future.
While it’s not always as straight-forward as that for smaller businesses, there are many ways that you can gather email addresses via in-store programs. I visited a bar once where they had a fish tank full of business cards on display – all you had to do was drop in your business card to go into the draw to win a $2,000 prize. Simple.
5. Host an Offline Event
What type of event could you offer that would be of interest to your target market? Maybe you can host a free talk by an industry speaker or a networking event at year’s end? Hosting your own event is a great way to get a highly targeted audience into a room to help spread your brand message and it also gives you a chance to gather more contact info and email addresses to add to your list.
6. Create a Whitepaper or eBook
Using a plug-in on your website, you can lock access to a new whitepaper or eBook and make it only available via sign-up. If you can create a compelling report on a specific aspect of your industry likely to generate response, you can build-out your email list by getting visitors to sign-in, giving you more information to add to your data banks.
7. Look to Guest Blog on Relevant Industry Websites
A great way to generate interest in your business and your content is to guest blog on relevant websites and gain exposure to a wider audience. If you do your research right, you can find the blogs and sources most widely read by your target consumers then reach out to them through the platforms which they’re already looking at and actively reading. You can include a link to your landing page in your closing notes (if allowed) or bio, and get more people to sign-up to your future updates.
8. Reach New Audiences with Paid Ads
Sometimes, as they say, you have to spend money to make money – but the good news is that the superior targeting options now available through providers like Facebook and Google make it more cost-effective than ever to reach the right audiences with your paid campaigns.
You can use search ads to reach people looking for the keywords most commonly associated with your brand or use Facebook’s ‘Lookalike Audience’ feature to reach similar people based on your existing email subscribers. You can also test response rates by spending a little on each ad, then ramping up those that perform well and generate best response. You can link those ads to a landing page with a sign-up form, or include a prominent sign-up call to action on your pages, prompting user response.
Even better, use Facebook’s Lead Ads that make it easy as possible for brands to gather relevant information in as few clicks as possible on the platform.
9. Hold an Online Contest
A great way to prompt user engagement and sign-up is by holding a contest. This can boost engagement, and thus, reach, while also getting more email addresses for future campaigns. Make it easy to enter, simple to sign-up, and offer a great prize and watch your email list grow.
10. Ensure Your Sign-Up Form is Featured on All Your Website Pages
One of the key ways to prompt sign-up is to ensure it’s as easy as possible for people to do so. In line with this, you need to ensure there’s a sign-up option featured prominently on your website – not only on the main page, but on all your other pages too. You could also try pop-ups – people generally hate pop-ups, I know, but when implemented correctly, they can produce amazing results. They’re not for everyone, but they may be worth considering.
These are a few basic, simple ways which anyone can use to increase sign-ups and boost the reach of their email marketing send. But the real trick in boosting email effectiveness, of course, is in the content you provide, in the quality of your newsletter or outreach messaging. If you produce great, compelling content, relevant to your audience, then you’ll maximize the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Send out spammy, untargeted, overly ‘salesy’ missives, and people will unsubscribe faster than you can sign more up.
It’s important to recognize this, and understand that those email addresses you have are gold; those are people who’ve granted you access to them, to speak with them directly. Even if Facebook shuts down and Google switches off and all the other outreach methods fall off the face of the Earth, your email list is controlled by you. It’s a direct line to your audience.
And hey, 91% of people check their email every day. Do it right and you’re on the fast-track to maximising your marketing success.