Recently I was able to present a webinar on strategies to grow your email marketing lists and reach more people. I figured it could be beneficial to also write a blog post on the subject for those of us visual learners (hi, hello, it’s me). You can find the link to the full webinar here, otherwise, keep on reading for all the strategies I put together.
What is Email Marketing?
So first things first- what even is email marketing? By definition, email marketing is the overall act of sending a commercial message using email. In this logic, every email that you exchange with a potential or current customer becomes a building block for a meaningful relationship with that customer and thus is a form of marketing. Think about it- let’s say you are a graphic designer and you are exchanging emails back and forth with a client about the project you are working on; all of those email interactions are part of selling your customer service abilities and building your working relationship with the client.
Under the larger email marketing umbrella, many businesses utilize email marketing campaigns. These are a coordinated set of emails sent to a specific audience with an intended purpose for the email, such as filling out a form or making a purchase. Email marketing campaigns can be a variety of different kinds of emails. They can be the emails you receive from an ecommerce business letting you know of a sale they are having or the email you receive from a marketing company about their upcoming webinar series.
These email marketing campaigns typically get sent to your contacts list- a mixture of past clients, current clients, prospects, collaborators, employees- segmented based on a variety of different factors (business type, location, client status, etc.).
A good email list is cultivated through two factors: growth and nourishment. Most people want to grow their lists to reach as many people as possible, but it is equally important to also nourish the current list of subscribers to ensure the utmost satisfaction from your past, current, and future clients.
I have put together some strategies, both for growth and for the nourishment of these email lists to help your business to be able to reach as many people as possible and to ensure that the people you are reaching are satisfied with the experience.
Email List Growth Strategies
Gated Content Strategies
A gated content strategy is where you offer someone something in exchange for them providing you with their email address. The content you offer them can come in a variety of different forms:
Exclusive case studies
BONUS Content – extra content in addition to a free blog post/article
Ecommerce websites: discount codes
While gated content strategies can be effective in obtaining more emails for your database, it should be used in moderation and the value should be extremely clear to the users as to why they should give their emails for your content. Offering the gated content in conjunction with free content, or making the exclusivity and value extremely apparent can help increase the likelihood of conversions and the overall satisfaction of your potential customers.
Website Signup Forms
A website signup form is where you offer the option for people visiting your website to sign up to receive emails from you. These forms can be put in various places, such as the header, the footer, the about us/portfolio page. You can also incorporate an exit strategy into your popup forms- and we’ll get to that in a minute. First, we’re going to discuss the layout of a good form.
Signup form structure
It is important to put thought into how you structure the email list signup form on your website. In a way, you are selling your marketing emails to potential recipients, and need to entice them as such. The forms need to have a captivating headline to draw them in, a thoughtful description to explain what they re agreeing to, branded visuals to represent your business, a call to action on par with your brand, and most importantly- make it as simple as possible so it is easy for them to fill out.
Website exit-intent popup forms
This is the strategy where you trigger a signup form popup just as someone’s cursor is hovering over the “close tab” or they’re about to leave your website page. While popups can be annoying- since they are already planning to leave your site, the strategy behind this is one last chance to grab their attention and sign up for your emails, in which case you have some hope left to convert them on a sale.
The concept behind this is encouraging people to share your emails and leverage their network to grow your following. You can do this through referral programs, wherein you offer people discounts or other incentives for getting X amount of people to sign up for your emails. You can also do this organically by focusing on creating content that people want to share with their friends.
One example of a referral program that comes to mind is the Daily Skimm- a daily newsletter sent to your inbox that’s focused on giving a lighthearted recount of current events every day. By inviting friends to sign up to receive the newsletter, you gain the opportunity to become a Skimm’bassador and join their network, as well as receive free swag items. Other referral programs are designed to encourage people to buy products, but this one is specifically geared towards getting emails.
Another way to encourage sharing is by creating content that people actually want to share and forward to their friends. When those friends see it, if the content is captivating enough, that could be a way to get them to subscribe to your emails as well.
While there isn’t really any cut and dry strategy to make people want to share your content, I do have a few helpful tips.
You first want to focus on creating content that adds value. Figure out who you will be targeting with your emails, analyze their needs, and offer them something that will bring them value. For example, if you are emailing a list of manufacturers, you want to assess a problem that manufacturers are having today, and explain how your company has a solution for them. You also want to make sure that it’s easy to share your content, with clear buttons directing your readers to click on them to be able to share. Lastly, it is essential to make sure that your emails are mobile-friendly as that is where most of your readers will be viewing the emails.
Social media can be a helpful tool to generate email list subscriptions. This can be done in a variety of ways. You can offer a giveaway to organically receive emails. You can share posts containing your gated offers, and you can also publish paid ads containing these offers as well. You can include things like hyper-linked end cards on your YouTube videos, allowing people to subscribe to receive emails from you.
Pinterest is another great way to share gated content- For example, let’s say you’re a company that sells eco-friendly haircare products. You can pin a post with a graphic that indicates “10 strategies for shinier hair”, link that graphic to a blog, and then share a bonus haircare offer at the end of the blog in exchange for an email subscription. Basically, the strategy is to use your platform to amplify your efforts to grow your email list subscriptions.
Strategies for Email List Nourishment
Now that you have some strategies in your pocket to grow your email subscribers list, let’s talk about a few ways that you can really nurture the list you already have. The first strategy, which is really integrated into all aspects of good email marketing, is to create captivating content. If your readers are consistently met with value when they open their emails, the likelihood of them unsubscribing will remain low, and the likelihood of conversions will grow. The next strategy that we will get into a little more detail of in a second is giving your readers the opportunity to re-opt into your emails.
Create Captivating Content
Like I stated before, there really isn’t a cut and dry process to follow to create captivating content, but I do have some tips to guide you towards it. I The first, arguably most important, tip is to learn about your target audience. Engage in social listening, figure out what problems they are facing, what they are interested in, how they communicate, and what resonates with them. Use their voices and opinions to direct where you are offering them solutions, and how.
The next tip is to make sure your most engaging content is “above the fold” – aka that it’s the first thing they see when they open the email, don’t make them have to scroll to figure out the big point of your email.
The next tip goes hand in hand with that – keep it simple. Be sure that you’re maintaining your brand and your brand’s voice in your email so that it makes sense coming from you, and lastly be sure to personalize the email so that the reader feels like you are talking to them directly.
The concept of email re-opt ins is pretty simple: you are offering the people on your email list the opportunity to essentially re-sign up for your email list. You can do this in a couple of different ways. You can send an email to every single person on your list asking them to reconfirm that they want to receive emails from you (though I would recommend segmenting and targeting the emails for best results). Or you can gather data on who has not opened emails in a while and specifically target those people with the re-opt in offer.
This strategy allows you to clean up your email lists and ensure that you are sending emails to people who still want to receive emails from you. This will likely help your open rates and conversion rates, and reduce the chance of your domain being marked as spam.
I’ve given you a lot of information and strategies to follow, but here are a couple of key takeaways to keep in mind. First and always foremost- be sure that your emails are adding value. That is the most important first step to growing your subscribers. Second, should be doing these things in an attempt to not only grow your email list but to nourish the list of emails you already have.
If you are interested in learning more about email marketing and how our team is able to assist in your strategy, reach out to us today. We would love to get connected with you and help you work towards success in email marketing.