Having a good quality subscriber list is the basis of any good email marketing campaign. Follow some simple steps to ensure yours is top notch.
Quality lists are extremely valuable. Organically growing your list using an opt in policy means recipients have given permission for you to send them marketing material, so they are far more likely to give a positive response when it arrives in their inbox.
Ensure you have permission
There is really no point in emailing someone who has no interest in your products or services. It creates more expense with little interactivity and more chance of being marked as spam. For this reason it is wise to make opt in obvious and as simple as possible, not just on the website sign up but also with any offline data collection.
Website sign up
Your sign up form is one of the most important tools for gaining email opt ins. Best practice recommendations state that the sign up process should clearly indicate what the recipient can expect from receiving the newsletter, including the benefits and frequency. These details can also be the incentive someone needs to sign up, especially if you’re offering exclusives and discounts. Just be sure to deliver what you promise at this stage.
For best results, ensure your sign up form is above the fold on every page, as many visitors to your website won’t explore below it, and be sure to include a clear call to action. Choose your wording carefully – ‘newsletter sign up’ is far less likely to engage than ‘sign up for exclusive offers’.
Double opt in
Website sign ups should ideally also be double opted in. This means that when someone signs up online, they get a confirmation email with a link they have to click before being added to the subscriber list. It’s good practice because it means that the recipient has to actively confirm they wish to subscribe and are interested, it gets your branded emails in their inbox straight away (you can include a ‘add us to your safe contacts’ ensuring your even more likely to get there in the future) and it confirms their email address is real, preventing any damage to your results or reputation.
Avoid bought-in lists
Buying a list can be tempting, however it is rarely fruitful. Although you can buy lists of business contacts, the same is not true of consumers, who must have given you opt-in permission to contact them. In addition to this, buying from the wrong source can result in a high number of complaints and spam reports, which can result in a bad reputation with your ISP (internet service provider) and the blocking of your account.
It is estimated that email lists have a churn rate of up to 25 – 30% a year. This means to grow your list you need to think of innovative ways to encourage opt in. Here are just a few examples:
Collect data at all opportunities
This not only applies to those just starting out, but to any business maintaining a healthy list. When attending business meetings, trade shows, conferences, networking events and seminars – always be prepared to collect email addresses. Whether it’s with something as simple as pen and paper or an iPad, make the most of event attendance and take those opportunities to gather addresses.
Incentives and prize draws
These are excellent ways to encourage sign up when carried out well. Consumers know their data and email addresses are valuable, so let them know you’re willing to give them something in return. When offering something as an incentive, this should be small and relevant to your product or service offering. Something too big or irrelevant will result in people signing up just for the chance of winning, not because they are interested in you, and unfortunately your low engagement results with reflect this.
Integrating your email campaigns with social media means you may be reaching consumers who may not otherwise have signed up. Add social media links to your newsletter and post your newsletter on social media channels for cross platform pollination. In addition, it’s wise to include a sign up form on your Facebook page, and simple to set up using an application.
Are there other businesses you work closely with? Do you know of a business with a similar target market and different products or services? Why not engage in joint promotion? Although you cannot swap lists with your partners, you can get ‘airtime’ in each others’ emails, which is a great and inexpensive way of getting in front of new people. Whoever hosts the promotion on their website can include opt in tick boxes for both companies, allowing the customers of either brand to sign up to hear more from the other.