After spending hours crafting the perfect newsletter – creating exciting and relevant content, capturing vivid photos, and sharing details on upcoming events – you are sure that this newsletter is the one that will get people knocking on your door. Fast-forward to post-delivery result review and you are stumped that this newsletter performance was in no way different than those of the past.
One simple reason for this let down may be due to a dwindling contact list. One sad fact to be aware of is that email marketing databases naturally degrade by about 22.5% every year! “Why,?” you may ask. Well, as people move from one company to another they change their email address, users switch email accounts from ones they no longer use, and of course, unqualified leads opt out of email communications.
So, how does this impact your marketing activities? Well, regardless of how interesting and engaging your content is, you won’t see the desired performance if you don’t have the contacts to deliver it to. But before you throw your hat in, don’t fret – there are some simple ways to improve your strategy and those results. To ensure that you’re not missing out on any opportunities, try these simple tips to grow your email list.
Create outstanding content. This is a proven strategy that brings success to a variety of organizations by utilizing different inbound marketing techniques. Here’s a quick crash course for your reference: inbound marketing is a strategy that focuses on attracting customers though company-created content such as websites, videos, blogs, and newsletters. Essentially, by having strong content available directly through your organization, you are the star of the show instead of having to rely on outbound marketing (advertisements, PPC, etc.) to get leads. By creating strong and interesting content, your visitors are also more likely to pass it along to their friends and colleagues who may in turn also subscribe.
Utilize your website. Make it easy for people to find ways to connect with your company. Don’t make it difficult to find subscription options. Include calls-to-action on every page of your website – whether this is a direct contact form or a “learn more” option – providing different CTAs makes it easy for your visitors to stay connecting with your content. Key places to consider include your homepage, about us page, contact us, and your blog. You may also consider utilizing a “leadbox” on your website. Leadboxes are the pop-up style opt-in forms that can be triggered automatically on your site, by time or action, or manually after a user clicks a certain image or button. They can be triggered when a visitor is about to leave the site, or after a certain amount of time spent there.
Add an opt-in subscribe button or sentence in your email signatures. Recent data has found that as of 2018, there are about 124.5 billion business emails sent and received each day. With that amount of traffic, you are sure to gain a few opt-ins by adding the option to subscribe directly where your contacts will see it. As the above data suggests, your team likely sends plenty of emails every day to people who may not yet be subscribed to your email newsletter but who would have an interest. Hey, they are already corresponding with you, why not step it up a notch? By adding a newsletter opt-in link directly in your email signature (and the email signature of everyone in your company) you can grow your audience with people who are directly related or interested in your work all without spending a dollar.
Leverage your company’s social media channels. Each channel offers its own unique way to encourage visitors to engage with your company. Use Facebook to share content on your timeline and be sure to include a link to your subscribe page on your website. You also may want to consider adding a CTA button on top of your business page that directs users to a landing page that requires an email address for access. Promote a free resource or ebook on Twitter that requires your followers provide an email address to redeem. Create a board on Pinterest that houses all relevant learning material and links back to your website with an email signup landing page. And last but not least, be sure to include calls-to-action and URLs in your YouTube videos (and descriptions) that encourage people to subscribe to your channel and opt-in to receive communications from your company.
Create a contest. Promote an online contest and require the participants to sign up to receive your email communications by submitting their email address. The giveaway can be as simple as a free giveaway item, or more complex such as an experience giveaway, depending on your organization and what would be a good fit. To encourage a higher volume of participation (and more email signups) incorporate your contest with your social media calendar. Provide further incentives to participants by allowing additional entries by referring friends via Facebook or Twitter or by sharing a link to the contest.
Don’t be afraid to mix “traditional” marketing tactics into the equation. We tend to spend a ton of time and energy focusing on the latest “shiny object” and forget to spend time on the basics. Talk to people, engage with them, collect contact information and ask if they are interested in being added to your database. If your company is hosting an event, collect email addresses during the registration process. Gather emails during traditional offline events like trade shows or network training opportunities and import them into your collection.
Show your expertise. This idea ties back to having strong and shareable content. Your company has expert knowledge and insights that are valuable to your customers and followers. Be willing to share that insight by hosting events – online webinars are a great place to start – and collect enrollee contact information upon registration. Also, remember to send these new contacts a welcome email that thanks them for their interest and confirms their opt-in to your list.
Go green and switch direct mail communication to digital. Provide an opportunity for your current prospects to opt-out of receiving direct mail pieces and opt-in to receive email communications instead. You can help with the transition by placing a shortened URL on the mailer pieces that directs these individuals to a landing page with subscription options, or you could add a QR code on your current print materials that allow people to subscribe to your email. Win, win here – you add new members to your list and you even save a few trees!
Provide a thank you gift to your subscribers. Show your appreciation to new subscribers by sending them a value-driven downloadable bonus piece as a thank you. The aim here is to provide a takeaway that teaches something related to your business. Ideally, this content would help your readers achieve a goal by following the tips and guidelines that your piece outlines. Some examples include checklists, (“Steps to Optimize Your Blog for SEO”), an ebook or long-form blog (“How to Engage Your Audience on YouTube”), or any plethora of information that you have to share with your audience.
Record a video course to share. By now you are probably seeing the trend: provide value to your audience in exchange for an email address. Once again this is an opportunity for you to market your knowledge and skills while gaining valuable data that you can use at a later date. The best approach is to tackle teaching one concept per video course that will help the viewers achieve one of their own goals. Giving away enticing video content will help convert your website visitors into email subscribers and in turn, help grow your email list. Just be sure to heavily promote the article that houses the video course on your various social channels and amongst relevant online communities to ensure your video receives enough traffic to make this worth the time and effort.
Stay consistent in frequency. When you begin pumping out strong, share-worthy content; be sure to keep your audience’s attention. By maintaining a consistent schedule and sending out regular emails to your list, people become accustomed to engaging with your company’s content on a regular basis. When they see that you are frequently sending out value-driven content, they are more likely to recommend your emails to their friends and colleagues. Don’t let frequency intimidate you; a great starting place is sharing an educational blog once per week, or a company newsletter every month.
Give the content “cliffhanger” technique a try. Write and share an educational ‘list’ article, such as “20 ways to accomplish XX,” but only deliver the first 10 in the article. The readers will then be prompted to enter their email address to get the remaining items. This is a solid technique as you are proving your readers with immediate value while still working to build your list by incentivizing their interest in learning more.
Give potential subscribers a content sneak peek. You can provide a sample newsletter or a screenshot of the type of content you typically send to your subscribers so that they get an idea of what to expect upon subscribing. This is also a great time to provide a snapshot of how often they will be receiving content from you. The idea is to paint a picture of what their experience will look like ahead of time.
The above highlights a variety of easy-to-implement techniques that will help you increase your business’ email database. The idea is to be strategic in your planning and attack the list building from as many angles as possible. We hope this list has inspired you and your team to go out and build your lists! Not sure where to begin? Let us help – contact us today.