No Bullsh*t Advice From Email Experts
Email marketing is the most lucrative marketing channel for most businesses, generating $42 for every $1 spent, which is an astounding 4,200% ROI, according to a recent Hubspot article
But over time, database decay can degrade that ROI, leaving email marketers to find new ways to grow their list. Not only in quantity, but also quality subscribers who want to hear from you and help to strengthen your sender reputation.
When was the last time you audited the different ways you capture new email subscribers? Or tried out a new capture method to grow your list?
This month, we asked email experts from Benchmark Email, email uplers, Holistic Email Marketing, iContact, emailmonday, Customers Who Click & BEE to share new ways to help you grow your email list by attracting quality subscribers both on and off-site.
Here’s what they had to say…
Engagement is a Key to a Profitable Email List
Building a profitable email list goes hand-in-hand with building an engaged email list. If your email recipients aren’t engaged and interacting with the emails you’re sending, then they are definitely not going to be making any purchase decisions either.
One of the biggest rules of thumb for building a solid, engaged email list is to ensure those on your list have opted-in to receiving messages from you. If they’ve confirmed that they want to be added to your email list and are aware that you’ll be sending them marketing materials in the future, then they’ll be less inclined to unsubscribe from those messages. Opting in is like a confirmation that tells you all systems are go, and you can start nurturing this new relationship.
To achieve this opt-in, you can add a check box on your website forms so that when checked, people understand that they’ve elected to receive your emails. Or, you can simply add a disclaimer to your forms that state that they will automatically be enrolled in your email marketing by filling the forms out. This not only shows transparency, but it’s also GDPR compliant and keeps your practices legal and up-to-date.
Another method that’s great at building a profitable email list is regularly nurturing that list by sending them high-quality content that addresses their needs, issues, and pain points. Not everyone who enrolls in your email marketing is ready to buy tomorrow. By sending them content they can use to educate themselves, you’re able to build trust and stay top of mind so that when they are ready to make a purchase, you’re the first brand they think of.
A Profitable Email List Requires Constant Attention & Discipline
As Richard Branson once said, “Every success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision, and change.”
Working towards growing your company’s email marketing efforts is a never-ending, ever-evolving, and essential process. Among many other things, you have to constantly monitor and actively add new contacts to your email list.
So, how do you go about it flawlessly and in a legitimate manner? Here’s how…
Use Opt-in Signup Forms
This is a simple yet arguably the most effective way of growing your email list. By introducing opt-in signup forms, you basically ensure that only interested customers are subscribing to your communications. Ultimately, this paves the path for greater engagement and conversions.
Level Up Your Content Game
Want to get your current subscribers to add their friends to your list? Then there’s no better way of doing that than beefing up your email content. The more informative and interactive your content is, the more incentive your subscribers have to look forward to your emails. And spread the word of it among their friends, of course, by sharing and forwarding your emails!
Leverage Your Social Media Platforms
Host giveaways, conduct virtual events, promote an ongoing sale, and brainstorm other creative events that can be organized through your social media handles. The takeaway? Every participant provides you with their email address and contact information while filling up the entry form for these events.
Collect Feedback From Visitors
On your website, include a survey or feedback form that gives visitors the scope of both asking questions about your products or surveys as well as offering their feedback on the same. In return, you get to collect their contact details and add them to your list.
In a nutshell, building and growing a profitable email list is no mean feat. It requires constant attention and discipline. However, if done right, it can not only scale up the visibility of your business but also propel it to new heights of growth and success.
Two Key Ways to Grow Your Email List
Get the visitor to your site and drive them to a subscriber conversion form
Promote it on PPC, Social Media, third-party banner ads on sites and in emails, etc.
In the B2C world, however, most of these are focused on driving sales, and I believe they are missing out on using this as an opportunity to grow their list.
B2B marketers understand the value of an email address and often drive the traffic to web forms rather than products.
It’s all about making the most of your acquisition budget. But to do this, you ideally should know the value of an email address to your business. To calculate this as a B2C business, the formula is:
Revenue value of a B2C Email Address = Life of an address x (Annual Email Revenue) / (Average list size in the year)
Of course, it becomes more helpful if you refine it on a per acquisition campaign or medium basis, and this then helps you to understand which of your acquisition campaigns are bearing the most fruit. Then decisions can be made as to which to invest more into and which to stop or reduce.
Convert the visitor to being a subscriber when on your site
Once the prospect is on your site, ensure you’re making the most of all touchpoints throughout the customer journey. This, of course, includes forms throughout the website.
A couple of years ago, we surveyed marketers and asked who owned these website forms, and the answers are shown here:
This means that only 50% of email marketers have input into the email subscriber forms on websites – even though 100% of email marketers are responsible for the growth of their email database. This is a conundrum. We also learned that 24% of web teams owned database web forms exclusively, and the same percentage of email teams – 24% – claimed exclusive ownership.
So, a key recommendation is: If you own the web forms on your website, ensure you are making the most of it and test them to deliver the highest conversion rate. And if you don’t? Then buddy up with who does, and work together to ensure both your KPI’s are being met.
The Way You Build Your Email List Matters
Build a list. And they will come. The thing is that the way you build your list matters. Remember the saying garbage in, garbage out? That term applies to email marketing too. Maybe it should be garbage in, Spam out?
The first rule of Email Marketing Club is to only send valuable emails to people that want emails from you.
First and foremost, ask leads and prospects for permission to email them. Use sign-up and pop-up forms on your website. Tell them why they should sign up and what they will receive.
Make sure that you do not show a form (pop up in 5 seconds) to someone until they have had a chance to review the content on your website. Let them get to know you first! Better yet, use exit-intent forms, which are presented when a website visitor attempts to leave (close or switch tabs).
Why not tap into an audience you already have? Use your social media channels to grow your audience. Post a link to a landing page or sign-up form on your social media channels.
To get in front of potential subscribers that are not following you on social media, you can use targeted hashtags, engage with posts from people in your demographic, or go the paid route and run some ads. Groups are another source of new subscribers. Just be careful not to spam group posts with links. Raise brand awareness and let them come to you.
Bonus: you can also target current subscribers that are disengaged using Facebook’s Custom Audience feature to serve them ads! Here is an article I wrote that explains this strategy more.
Other good ideas that I mention in this video for list growth are to use blogs and webinars, sponsorships, QR codes in signatures, packing slips, and receipts, to name a few.
It is not hard to grow your list. Your effort just needs to be thoughtful, authentic, and habitual. Happy Email Marketing!
Send Great Content to the Right Audience + Some Quick Wins
I love that question. List growth is a pillar of any solid email marketing strategy. How do you grow an in-house email list as a brand or publisher? Attract the audience that is interested in your content and get those opt-ins rolling in. It is funny because often, that’s already where it goes wrong.
Say you are a talented cat portrait artist (like my wife, Maria!). The first inclination may be to post articles that show and teach others how you work.
But other painters aren’t the ones that will buy commissions and paintings. Who does? For instance, people that love their cats, so instead of making it (only) about the product or service paintings, make it about what excites them.
So it is not about getting people interested in your content. Nailing the audience, you can match content to what makes the ideal subscriber enthusiastic. Great content for the right audience has a built-in amplifier. So that would be step number 1, but there are so many quick wins after that.
Customers come first (and their opt-ins as well)
I see this all the time, where there isn’t any focus on subscribing current customers. They have already proven to be interested in your products, and in the ideal scenario, they will re-purchase and/or be an amplifier for your word of mouth.
Be sure to optimize everything around the consumer decision and purchase process (or ARRRR funnel if you want to let your inner pirate out). Go through the purchase flow and all the touchpoints to spot the obvious chances to increase customer subscriptions. Sometimes it is as simple as adding the subscribe option or an incentive to your purchase form. The whole purchase process includes all transactional emails as well.
Spotlight your opt-ins and use list building tools
Turning visitors into subscribers is an art. But people can’t subscribe if they don’t see your opt-in offer. And, just like a product, you have to promote it. One of the quickest ways to get there is on your own site. Start with a scan of your site. What spaces can you use and test to add visibility to your opt-in offers?
The best email list-building tools offer a combination of multiple ways to (easily) promote it. Like inline forms, smart pop-ups, sticky bars, etc. But the power of those tools is.
List and prioritize all remaining list growth ideas
This article probably already got you thinking, there are so many things I could do, where to start? If not, here is a list of 101 email list building ideas. More ideas than you can ever do (at least not today). Over the year, you might find even more interesting list-building examples you’d like to try.
So what I found it is very hard to prioritize it without a solid method. So I have made a list growth template you can download. This will score your ideas with estimates on potential, quality and costs. The tool calculates, and the easiest and most promising will be presented at the top.
If You Want a Profitable List, You Need to Understand Your Customers’ Needs
Know Your Customer.
It sounds simple, but the vast majority of brands don’t put that much effort into it until that customer has made a purchase or two.
Most brands hit you with a popup soon after you arrive on-site and offer you 10% in exchange for your email address, then base their emails off what you last purchased.
But what can you do with just an email address? You can only send the same communication to everyone at once.
Compare two shopping experiences.
You walk into one shop, and an employee greets you at the door, hands you a coupon for 10% off, and then lets you get on with your shopping by yourself.
You walk into a competitor store, and an employee enthusiastically greets you at the door, asks you what you’re looking for, who it’s for, what your budget is, what sort of preferences you have around colors, shape or fit. They then lead you to several products that fit your exact criteria.
You’re far more likely to purchase from the store that puts effort into understanding your needs and tailoring the experience to them.
The best way to build a profitable list is to ask customers what they need help with.
What product categories are they interested in?
Are they male or female?
How many people in their household?
When are they looking to make their purchase?
Obviously, the questions depend on the brand and the products you’re selling. But by asking these questions, you’ll be able to build out highly segmented and personalized marketing automation flows, which will get you better open rates, better click-through rates, and better conversion rates.
Grow Your List… And Have Fun Doing It
Want to grow your list without creating yet another ebook? Gamify your lead magnets. Gamification is a bit of a buzzword, so let’s define it real quick. In this context, gamification refers to creating interactive content that rewards specific behaviors. For the sake of this article, the behavior you want to reward is signing up for (and staying on!) an email list.
Examples of gamified content include:
- Quizzes. Example: MBTI Personality Tests
- Tracking progress. Example: loyalty programs
- Generators. Example: font and color pickers
- Contests or submissions. Example: photo submission contests
- Puzzles. Example: crosswords
Once users spend time with this type of content, it’s natural for them to exchange their email for results or answers. Gamifying lead magnets work because it hits all the elements of good content:
- It’s engaging. Because this content is interactive, it turns customers from passive content consumers to active players. It’s much easier to pique interest this way.
- It’s personalized. Unlike [name], gamified content actually feels personalized because the way the user interacts with it changes the output of the content.
- It’s memorable. Delight people, and they will remember you.
More No Bullsh*t Advice From Email Experts Coming Soon
And as always, feel free to share your thoughts with us on Twitter.
Keep your list healthy and boost campaign performance by regularly cleaning your email list. We’ll let you know which email addresses are good, bad and risky, before you hit send.
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