Note: This is a guest post authored by Niraj Ranjan Rout, Co-Founder/CEO at Hiver. Hiver helps organizations collaborate from their email inboxes.
25% of Black Friday sales in 2014 came from just one channel — email marketing.
Three-quarters of marketers agree that their email offers have given them ‘good to excellent’ ROI. Emails have long been used as an effective tool for user engagement, from providing great personalized customer support to sending rich relevant content.
However, the secret ingredient for a successful email marketing campaign is how good your email marketing list is. It is your email list which is going to improve your conversions and at the same time be your protector from the uncertainty of Google’s constantly changing algorithms.
Companies are increasingly finding it difficult to optimize their email marketing list in a quick span of time. With cluttered inboxes and multiple spam filters, marketers have a tough task of making sure they get it ‘right’!
Why is that?
There is a lack of care and importance in developing an email marketing list — which brings you pretty close to being unsubscribed by users. Worst case scenario: you become a legitimate spammer.
It has also been observed that even if you end up having the right list, not being able to manage the workings of your email marketing can again lead to horrible results.
Thankfully, there are a number of ways to build your email marketing list. Strategically building your email list can help you create a robust email marketing list within an effective time-frame.
Here are 5 ways to optimize your email marketing list quickly:
1) Leave them longing for more information
Create engaging content is a cliché because it works — agreed!
However, is engaging and useful content enough for the user to give you their email address? They will read it, share it, and move on.
How do you get them to give you their email address?
I have seen a few folks do it really well — offer your readers something really interesting and let them have access only when they give you their email address.
This can be done even when you do not have an e-book/guide to offer. Here’s what you can do:
- Publish a blog post which has in-depth and interesting information.
- Let them read 25% of the post and enable access to the rest only when they give you the email address.
‘Demo publishing’ your content can help you garner an email list of genuinely interested users in the fastest possible way.
2) Partner with someone who is doing it well already
A great way of building a genuine email list is through piggybacking on someone who already has a strong list of subscribers. These partners can range from influencers, local businesses, and non-profit organizations.
Before partnering, make sure that you come up with an offer which is likely to grab your partner’s audience’ attention. The offer has to be genuinely useful for them. A code which offers a discount on the purchase of another product — nobody wants that!
Partnering can help you gain access to new markets and audience, only if you do it the right way. Here are a few simple ways of doing it:
- Run cross-promotional newsletters
- Include partner links in your content
- Write guest blogs on partner sites to showcase your content leading to more sign-ups
Partnering is easier said than done — involves a good deal of grunt work. You will have to build a list of people who are in the same realm as yours and start reaching out to them through email. Remember that the idea is to build the list quickly and you want to reach out to as many people as possible. Manage the process the same way you’d manage a blogger outreach — one positive reply and initiate a productive thread. Set up an email reminder to follow-up the very next day — strike it when it’s hot.
A great example is how Positionly (now known as Unamo SEO), a marketing software company partnered with Brand 24. Unamo SEO ran a cross-promotional newsletter, in which it introduces Brand 24 and encourages its audience to sign up. This helped Brand 24 gain attention from the email network of Unamo SEO.
3) Use exclusive subscription-only content
Create an email list through your current subscription base by building a strong referral system.
A simple way to build a strong referral email marketing system is via providing subscriber-only access to your content. The reason it’s so effective is that users always prefer exclusive content over free content.
Exclusivity creates a feeling of ‘being special’ among users. It prompts users to be a part of an exclusive group and it is this feeling which makes them sign-up so that they can avail all of that special meaty content.
Here are some simple ways which you can use to expand your email list by using subscriber-only content as part of your referral system:
- Referral discount: Provide your subscribers early access to your new products/service, and enable the same for people they forward these emails to. Let them have a small reward for referring.
- Extended content: Provide extended versions of ebooks and videos to subscribers only when they share the link with say 10 new people. Even if one of those 10 download your content, you have a new lead.
When adopting this tactic, remember exclusive means exclusive. If users are not convinced that the content is ‘special’, it can backfire and you would not only lose your current subscribers — it’s going to hit your social validation score pretty bad too.
4) Lead generation on-page offers
Say you have a popular blog with decent traffic and now you want the email addresses of those regular readers — this is when the on-page offers come in handy.
Lead generation on-page offers can help you collect quality leads as these are folks who are already familiar with your product/service.
Here are a few ways to create an impressive lead generation offer pages:
- Live chat: A dedicated helpline chat can help you engage with users. Representatives can ask for email addresses to send confirmation emails regarding the status of the user’s query.
- Seek feedback: You can encourage users for feedback on your landing page and provide a small discount in return — ask for their email ids so that you can activate the discount.
- Q&A: Asking questions is a great avenue to build your email marketing list. Ask your readers about the problems they face — if anyone replies ‘Yes’, there is a good chance they want a solution and would not mind sharing their email address. Below is a great execution of this:
To gain access to new users quickly, promote on-page social validations. They influence user behavior by providing a sense of comfort and authenticity.
WordPress has a large number of subscribers already and they use that data point successfully to attract more. This increases your chances of signups and helps you build a genuine well-targeted email list quickly.
5) Ensure you have these 5 must-haves on your offer page
Every time you run a campaign to build your email list, the offer page has a significant role to play since they are the first encounter, more often than not. An offer is only as good as it looks on the landing page they say.
Here are five must-haves that can make your landing page more effective:
- Should communicate the offer with clarity – This helps users form a clear picture at the very first encounter. Make it a point to not sound ambiguous.
- Should highlight CTAs – Your landing page should be designed in a such a way that your CTA button is the most highlighted element of your landing page.
- Should build trust – Your landing page should showcase social proof which builds trust among users.
- Should give something for free – To increase user engagement, provide freebies like eBooks, courses, etc.
- Should be able to provide answers to all or most objections – Users should have all or most of their doubts cleared; a landing page which successfully does this has a better chance of striking a chord with the user.
Along with these, make sure your landing pages are opt-in. Effective opt-in landing page sends confirmation emails/offer emails which encourage users to subscribe. This is one of the most popular and fastest ways to build your email marketing list. But, without a good landing page, the entire exercise is futile.
Here’s an example of a how Versal, a platform which provides various online courses uses its landing page to build its email marketing list.
It’s disheartening to see traditional marketers still attach paramount importance to the aesthetics of their emails; that’s all most marketers worry about. It’s time they realize that sending the message to the right person is what makes or breaks the deal.
It boils down to having the right email list in place even before you conceptualize a marketing campaign. A genuine email marketing list will help your business upsell and cross-sell, rather than being marked as spam.
According to Joe Pulizzi, founder of CMI, “An email list is critical because you can’t build your content on rented land”. An email list gives you the power to create relevant content on your own turf without having to shell extra money on other social platforms. This gives your business more space to experiment with content as well as customer service.
Email marketing is the golden chicken for marketers as it gives a platform to promote and connect with users. But, the chicken is only as good as the egg it comes out from!
To wrap it up, build a strong email list and the rest will pretty much take care of itself.