Your success with email marketing depends on your ability to grow an email list.
That is if you think you should be doing it at all. We often hear that email marketing is dead. And yes, there are some new ways to market a product or a service in the digital realm, but email is alive and kicking, and as relevant as it ever was. It is getting even more efficient, with many available automation options. Still, your success with email marketing largely depends on your ability to grow an email list. Here is some advice on how to do that.
Your Main Strategy
The one thing you should never do when trying to build an email list is to ask people to sign up for it. A simple "hey, enter your email address here so we can email you" does not work. Instead, you should focus on giving them something. To get that something from you, people need to provide you their email — and that is the point where they sign up for your email list.
The best place to make the offer is your website. Most digital marketing assets are set up these days in a way that makes a website the main online marketing hub. You probably have several different ways of getting people to visit it. Once they are there, you pitch them your product, services, or something that will get them to sign up for your email list. And you make sure they get something useful in return — a white paper, case study, or e-book.
Websites are incredibly easy to create. With an easy site builder, you can have one set up in no time. More importantly, you can also tweak it to perform better. For the purposes of building an email list, you should have as many offers as you can without turning them into spam. One offer per page should be enough.
Pop-ups can be a very useful tool for building an email list. The main mechanics stay the same — you offer something to people, and they sign up for your email list in return. However, pop-ups target visitors when they perform a specific action. You can set them to appear after a visitor has spent a certain amount of time on a page because that indicates interest. Or, you can make them appear when the visitor is about to leave the page, giving them one last chance to change their mind.
Next, you should turn to the content on your website. There are two ways you can use content to build an email list: by creating cliffhanger content, and by upgrading it. When you create cliffhanger content, you purposefully put a part of the content behind a wall. You make the whole content accessible only to those who sign up for your email list. This strategy can be problematic.
Say you create an article titled "15 Foolproof Ways to Create a Personalized Customer Experience." You allow only five of the ways to be viewed regularly, and you put the rest behind a wall. That strategy can backfire. People expect to see the fifteen foolproof ways, and instead, they are faced with a subscription wall. This will disincentivize them from signing up for your email list.
When you are upgrading content, you are doing something very different. You purposefully create an incredibly strong piece of content. Then, you find ways to make it even better. You create a useful datasheet, a nice infographic, an accompanying video, or anything else that can add value to an already valuable piece of content. You put that additional piece of content behind a subscription wall.
There are also certain smaller things you can do to raise awareness about your email list. You can add a link to a subscription page in your company email signature, for example. This allows you to search for subscribers during your regular email communication. In general, promoting your business will be very rewarding for your email list, especially if you promote it within your industry circles.
Finally, you should include social media buttons to your newsletter and allow people to easily share your content. With a bit of luck and plenty of hard work, you will see the number of your email subscribers soar quickly. And then you have to work on maintaining that number — you will lose a quarter of subscribers every year. It is a never-ending race, but the results make it worth the effort.
Charles Dearing is a marketing blogger who loves sharing his insights on various blogs and online publications. Check his blog opportunitiesplanet.com if you want to learn more about internet marketing.