There’s an old saying in the email marketing world that goes something like “the money’s in the list”. Whilst this is definitely true, the quality of your lists are paramount. As an email marketer I would rather have a list of 100 addresses that have been cleansed and regularly open/click through our emails than a list of 1000 addresses with very little engagement. Not only because it makes my job easier, but also because of how well engaged contacts perform. I have, however, been playing around with email lists and segmenting contacts for most of my working life, and know my way around a contact list pretty well by now. But what if you haven’t? What if you’re fairly new to email marketing for your business? Or what if you have so much on your plate it’s not something you can devote hours and hours to?
Growing your list in terms of quantity and quality is an essential step in turning what is often a forgotten marketing channel for business owners into a steady traffic and revenue stream. Equally as important is keeping your email lists fresh and current. Email marketing experts generally say that your average email list will depreciate in quality by about 20-25% every year. To keep it current and a constantly effective channel in reaching out to your customers you need to make it three things;
- Easy to sign up to
- Engaging and interesting for readers
- Easy to share
Easy to sign up to
Any email newsletter needs to be easy to subscribe to, otherwise you won’t get any subscribers. That’s just common sense right? To promote an email newsletter effectively you need to take a multi-pronged approach. Firstly, you should have a call to action (CTA) on as many relevant pages of your website (blog posts, thank you pages and landing pages included). The CTA should persuade visitors to sign up to your e-newsletter to find out more about the relevant topic.
If you already have an existing mailing list, make sure you use your emails to recommend that subscribers also sign up for your newsletter to keep up to date with the latest news in your sector or about your service/products.
If your company has a physical branch that customers go to, ensure you have eye-catching posters and/or flyers that promote your e-newsletter. You should offer customers simple forms they can fill in with their email address or if you're feeling particularly brave you could ask them over the counter. You could also offer an incentive for them to sign up.
Engaging and Interesting
This is a fairly obvious point, but one which should never be forgotten. Putting out boring content to your readers will not only send your open and click through rates crashing through the floor but it will also hurt your reputation and brand credibility. There are plenty of tools out there - both paid and free to help you gather content, however one of the most effective ways is to ask staff to contribute - be that with opinion pieces, news stories or articles. Colleagues are a great, but often overlooked, resource in terms of content, especially if they are in constant contact with other people in your industry. As a starter, try and put some time aside each week to write one piece of original content. It can be anything - an opinion piece, an industry news story, or just a piece talking about one of your products or services and how to use it.
It is something that will take time out of your busy schedule, however the benefits of regularly producing unique content far outweigh the cost in time;
1) Unique content builds trust and credibility with your audience, especially over email. We live in an age where people want to be entertained and with as little effort as possible - and delivering a story they haven’t read before straight into their inbox is a great draw, and something that will drastically increase the chances of them hitting that share button.
2) Sending out and posting fresh, interesting content will greatly increase your chances of getting inbound links that will boost your presence in search rankings. You will also avoid duplicate content penalties, which is important as these will count heavily against you in your search ranking.
Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue. Andrew Davis
Easy to Share
You know all those email subscribers you currently have? Not only should you be looking at them directly as a potential revenue stream, you should also see them as a route to reaching out to more people who are interested in your services/products. By encouraging them to share and/or forward your email to a friend you’ll open up your brand to a whole new audience, one that you might not have reached before. There are a number of ways to do this and there’s no ‘right or wrong’ to how you should do it but there are ways which generally work better than others;
- Make sure you include social sharing buttons on all emails
- Maybe include a “share with a friend” button
- You could include a “ refer a friend” offer to give them an actual physical incentive to share
All of these ideas are tried and tested and work, however there are so many grey areas with email marketing that a lot of the time it’s a case of just getting ‘stuck in’ and finding out what works for you. There are a few rules and procedures to help you avoid spam filters, or worse, getting your email address blacklisted, but once you comply with these, the best way of working out what is best for your business is to tackle it hands on, be as creative as you can, and use all the resources available to you. Put yourself in the minds of your customer (or whoever will be receiving the email). What do they want to see? What will keep them interested? What will make them hit that share button?