Building your email marketing list is a continuous process that needs regular attention and consistency
Most brands are likely missing some of the most basic avenues to collect new contacts. Individually some of these avenues may seem minor but as a collective they will ensure you continue to grow vs the natural rate of attrition. Unsubscribe requests, users becoming ever warier of email spam and the ease of which one can obtain a new, free email address all contribute to the average email marketing list degrading at a rate of 10% annually (ignoring new contacts earned in the same year).
Below are some of our tips for continuously building your email marketing list to combat degradation and continuing to grow instead of decline. Many of these tips are not expensive, simply best practice and consideration for all the angles you should be covering.
Don’t Neglect Sign Up Promotion on Your Site and Blog
An easy place to start when it comes to building your email list is on your website. Be vigilant about having an email signup form on multiple pages of your domain, rather than simply on the homepage or blog. The key here is to make it easy, wherever your visitor lands or travels in your site, for them to sign up for your newsletter. If your site is built using widgets, it’s easy to add to all pages. If you have to add the sign-up form manually, consider which pages are your most high traffic properties (typically this will be the home page, contact, about us and blog) and then place the form there.
“Think about the pages that generate the most external traffic. This is usually your home page but not always.”
Many brands will find if they are content marketing effectively that in fact their blog posts as a collective generate more traffic. It’s likely that a higher % of that traffic will be from unique users who have been pulled in by that specific piece of content. If a user has enjoyed a piece of content on your site, promoting email sign up should be a more likely capture here.
How well this strategy performs will be dictated by the overall quality of your blog.
As an extra tip here – blogs are a big source of unique users for many brands who are content marketing effectively. Thus, when creating content for guest blogging opportunities (creating content hosted on external blogs or communities), be sure to include a call-to-action as well as a link for readers to subscribe to your own site’s blog or email database. Usually, this will need to be included in your author by line.
Use Social Media to Promote Your Email Sign Up
Use social media platforms to promote your content or offers. You can easily offer free downloadable content or discount codes via Facebook and Twitter posts. Lead users to a landing page requiring email address input to prompt a subscriber opt-in before they gain access to said content. Naturally you need to ensure this gated content is desirable, but simply asking for an email address is not overly intrusive so a relative reward will often be enough for many to proceed. Make adding social sharing buttons to the landing pages and the subsequent thank-you pages standard practise. This encourages your new sign ups to share the same content or offers they’ve just redeemed, potentially growing your list for you.
Add a call-to-action button to your Facebook Business Page. This may be one of the simplest tips we can give, but it can be effective if you have high levels of social platform traffic and will directly link into growing your email marketing list consistently and with engaged users. With brands spending so much money and time creating social media buzz and engagement, it seems a no-brainer to ensure you’re able to capture email addresses on this brand asset doesn’t it?
Publish B2B special offers on your LinkedIn company page or in appropriate LinkedIn group discussions. Just ensure your gated content is relevant for the audience you’re appealing to.
“Encourage your email subscribers to share your emails and forward to friends and colleagues. You can easily automate this process”
Include social sharing buttons and an email to a friend button in your marketing emails. Keep in mind, for your emails to be worth sharing, you’ll need a degree of exceptional share-worthy content to stimulate your existing list to share for you.
Provide a Stronger Opt-In Incentive
With the kind of attrition you can expect from your email database, what with users changing email addresses regularly or clearing out their inboxes from having oversubscribed and drowning in Monday morning email blasts, continually building your email marketing data base is key, for both growth and simple replenishment.
Often we still see very uninspiring subscriber opt-ins, some still as basic as a “Sign Up” button which is left to its own devices. Create a genuine reason for users to opt-in to your email list. These reasons will vary of course from user to user or segment to segment. Common tactics include offering access to exclusive subscriber only content for retail freebies and discount codes. The list is endless. Regardless, you need to provide something valuable enough to genuinely entice your audience to complete a call to action like this. A lot of prior branding work and a clear consumer to brand connection needs to already exist for basic incentives like “sign up” to stand a chance. Be creative!
Continue to Actively Promote Even Once Established
Most businesses who have been active online for some time will have an email list already. You’ll probably have a schedule for mailing times and be fairly regular in your email deployment. Everything seems under control and ticking over nicely. Now, think back to when your email list first launched. I’d wager most marketers out there put significant effort into the promotion of their email list when it first went live. Talking about it in your web content and blog posts, promotion via social media, etc.
The issue is that most businesses just don’t keep this up. The email list looks a healthy size and performs ok, so it’s been left to take care of itself. If you were to then look closer, most marketers would see that the growth of the list has slowed. Probably quite significantly. The acceleration of growth you once heavily promoted has now fallen away. Many businesses convince themselves that the slowing is simply down to scale, a high rate of market penetration meaning few likely subscribers remain untouched. But in reality, it’s very simply because the effort you once put into the list’s promotion and growth is now a fraction of what was put in previously.
Industry averages would suggest 20%+ of your email list will drop off annually, meaning simply maintaining your list is tough. Keep your promotional activity consistent if you want to see a more consistent level of growth. It’s not going to sell itself.
Push Offline Promotion Not Just Online
It’s only natural to look at sign up for a digital marketing channel as being a primarily online driven process to build. So don’t feel too bad if you’ve been neglecting this one. Many businesses and brands have multiple touch points with their consumers and audience. That means you’ll connect with them offline as well as on.
Retail is a superb example for any who have bricks and mortar locations. Not all customers will also be online shoppers, so what are you doing to capture these real-world consumers? Of course, you can do direct to the cause and offer in-store newsletter sign up via promotion. EG. Get 5% off your bill at the till if you join a member’s scheme or simply sign up to the newsletter at the point of purchase.
Or you can, of course, go a little less head on and instead offer to email your customers a copy of their receipt, so they don’t lose it. No one likes clutter and many consumers feel reassured by an electronic receipt. Apple does this well by also sending set up instructions and the customer warrantee out along with the receipt, cleverly ensuring customers are certain to opt into their email program.
Building on from simply looking at brand owned locations, consider any physical event you may attend where your desired contacts and email list additions are likely to be. Trade shows and industry events are just two examples. Be sure to have a process for capturing email at these events. Even simple things like ensuring all of the business cards collected are added to your email database can make a real difference. Yes, someone has to manually add these to an email platform, but it’s not a great deal of effort all things considered.
Any event or service which requires booking is also a prime target for providing an email list growth opportunity, an easy example of this can be found in restaurants or entertainment shows. Whether they are booking online, over the phone or simply as a walk in, capture the customer’s email addresses as part of the booking confirmation process and your list grows with each sale. So simple yet so underutilized in non-digital scenarios.