April 8, 2020// Category: Digital Marketing
Here’s the thing: email is one of the most impctortant and effective tools that you have when it comes to getting new customers and improving your business. Why? 72% of consumers list email as their preferred form of communication, and you can expect an average return of $38 for every $1 you spend on email marketing. Not too shabby.
The problem? Your email marketing database is degrading by about 22.5% each year and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to reach new people.
That means that you have to deploy effective email acquisition strategies to keep your contact list fresh and full if you want to remain successful long-term. Here’s how to get more email newsletter subscribers.
First, let’s get back to basics and discuss why you should care about your sign-up list. As a business, you have to get your information – products, promotions, content, etc. – in front of your audience in a place where they want to receive it. That place, more than anywhere else, is email.
According to the Radicati Group, more than half of the world’s population uses email as of 2019. And this number is expected to increase up to more than 4.3 billion by 2023. What’s more, research also shows that 92% of adults in the United States use email, and 61% of these email users are checking and sending emails on an average day.
Plus, as we mentioned, most of those people want to hear from you via email. So it’s the place with the most eyes and a willingness to hear from organizations like yours.
This presents a great opportunity for businesses of all sizes to reach their target market, no matter what their audience looks like. More than Instagram, more than Twitter – more than any other single platform out there.
Ok, so we understand the “what” – but that doesn’t make the “how” any easier. And there are a lot of hurdles when it comes to crafting and sending effective emails to the right people at the right time.
● Decaying lists: As we mentioned, email lists naturally decay by about 22.5% a year. Maybe a contact changed their email address when they got a new job, maybe they finally switched from AOL to Gmail – maybe they were unqualified and opted out of communication with you. Either way, you’re losing about a quarter of your contacts each and every year.
● Conflicting marketing “how-tos”: There’s a ton of conflicting information out there regarding “best practices,” “hot new tools,” data, analytics, and even content schedule and strategy. This can get overwhelming (maybe even seeing those words gave you a pit in your stomach) and it can muddy the waters when it comes to establishing relevant goals and KPIs (two more possible trigger words).
The problem here: if you don’t know exactly what you should do or where you should go, you’re not going to be able to do a good job – at least not consistency. You can’t bat 1000 if you’re swinging blindly.
● Oversaturation: By 2021, there will to be 320 billion emails sent each day. Your competition is going to be stiff.
● Poor strategy: Customers today want ultra-personalized, ultra-relevant content across channels – and they’ve grown extremely impatient with anything less. That means that you need to send ultra-targeted, segmented, interesting emails that tackle their pain points, pique their interest, or meet their needs. This is often underachieved due to misguided strategy and focus.
● Lack of perceived “extras”: There are many features that will take your emails the extra mile – things like automation, A/B testing, dynamic content, and automated GIFs. Many companies don’t allocate resources and time to adding those elements, but the truth is that they’re not really “extras”: They’re essential elements that will grow your engagement and your open rates.
This one might seem obvious – but it’s really not. It’s really easy to just send some messages out without giving them a lot of thought, but this is super unattractive to today’s audience, who wants ultra-personalized, relevant content.
Put some thought behind your emails and make sure you’re only sending things you think – or better yet, you know (hi, analytics and A/B testing) – that your audience is actually interested in.
Listen – sales, special offers, and discounts are popular because they work. And you can’t be above them. In fact, one report shows that 60% of users sign up for an email newsletter just to get special offers, so it’s pretty easy pickings, and one of the best ways to get email subscribers.
● If you have an eCommerce site, offer a 20% coupon
● Offer “exclusive deals” or coupons if they sign up
● Give a “sneak peak” into something exciting you have coming up.
● Better yet, offer information they’d want to have
A lot of people subscribe to an email list just because they like a brand – maybe they enjoy the product, maybe they had a great interaction with an employee. The point? Work on your likeability.
Today, again, this often means speaking in your audience’s language. Don’t be a robot! Show some personality and talk to them like they’re human beings. They’ll thank you for it.
Each of your audience members has a network: parents, friends, coworkers, loved ones.
Make it easy for them to share your content with that network by including social sharing buttons and an “Email to a friend” button. Some caveats? Make sure you have a place for that friend to go and sign up, and make sure that the people who receive the forwarded email can’t click the “unsubscribe” button – they’ll be unsubscribing the person on your list (whoops).
The more times people have to click – and the more pages they have to visit – the lower their chances of converting. Think about it: every click to a landing page or new form is one more opportunity for them to get distracted, get bored, or just get frustrated with the amount of time it’s taking.
Signing up for your emails doesn’t mean a lot to them, so they want to commit as little as possible to it.
Make mailing list sign-up as easy as possible by putting your email signup right at the point of first contact. It can be in the sidebar, header, footer, body – wherever! Just make sure they can enter their info and leave in under three clicks.
The same idea applies here. Your readers don’t really care all that much, and the more you make them read, the more likely they are to lose interest. Get to the point and wrap it up.
Sidebar? Header? End of a post? Footer? There are lots of good options here, and the best choice can really vary depending on audience, industry, and overall aesthetic.
Your best bet is to try a few places and test what works for your audience. Again, don’t guess here. You have an audience with opinions – let them use them to help you make better decisions.
The more personalized the better. Here’s why this is so important. Say you have someone who just opted in to your emails (we’ll call him Curious Caleb): he’s in his 20s, he’s tech savvy, and he’s interested in your company – but he hasn’t actually purchased anything or done business with you.
Then, say you also have a 52-year-old woman – Loyal Linda – who’s been a loyal customer for years. She’s purchased 5 different things and she even met your CEO through a friend of a friend.
Do you think they should be getting the same messages? How do you think Loyal Linda would respond to an email telling her about the basics of a product she’s purchased multiple times? Not well. Segment.
Come one, come all! There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned contest, giveaway, or sweepstakes to breathe life into an existing list.
Just take it easy with the send button. It’s really easy for a lot of businesses to think hmm.. I’m not sure what the audience wants. So we’ll just send them everything… something will resonate.
Don’t do it! With such an oversaturation of content today – and people’s desire for personal, relevant content – the reality is that you’ll lose many more people than you’ll convince, and you’re likely to end up with a blacklisted domain.
And always make sure through legal means. Read our post on anti-spam laws for more details.
Chances are you have some influential people subscribing to your content. Consider taking advantage of this connection with affiliate advertising.
It works like this: you pay an affiliate (said influential person) a set amount when they get someone to sign up for your newsletter through their emails or site. It could potentially expand your audience. You just have to make sure that:
● Their audience is also your audience
● The affiliate doesn’t cost more than getting a lead on your own
“Hi VIP – we have an exclusive offer just for you!” Who doesn’t like receiving a message like that?
Let your audience know that email subscribers get access to exclusive benefits like the latest content, free downloads, discounts, or early access to products and services.
People love feeling special. It’ll work.
You likely have a whole online presence, including social media accounts – use it to your advantage. Many social platforms make it easy to add a “newsletter sign-up” button to your posts or your homepage. Alternatively, you can simply create a sign-up landing page and post about it on your social media accounts (preferably with some kind of offer included).
Same idea here. If someone has read one of your blog posts in its entirety, they’re engaged and interested in what you have to say. The bottom of a blog post is a perfect place to add a newsletter sign-up call-to-action.
It can say something like “Like this post? Sign up and get more posts like this every month, straight to your inbox.”
Do you run an Ecommerce website? Add a newsletter opt-in button on your checkout page (and maybe add some incentives that will go toward their next purchase).
Again, this is a fully-engaged, bought-in customer (literally). Talk about the ideal person to get signed up.
This could be in the form of a pop-up, a sidebar signup form, or even an opt-in during in-store checkout.
But make sure you keep it quick and simple. Ideally, you’ll only ask for email and let them click through. Again, the simpler and faster, the better.
Do you have employees sending emails every day? Take advantage of it! Hyperlink their email signatures to a landing page where people can sign up.
If someone’s already having a conversation with that person – and they’ve built some kind of repoire – it can be a fairly frictionless leap.
Have an interesting topic that you know a lot about (or that you could learn a lot about)? Host a webinar and ask for people to give their email in exchange for attendance.
This is also a great time to rope in an influencer or someone from a really established company.
This will not only grow your list but also increase your reputability in your industry.
You don’t have to (and definitely shouldn’t) guess if something is resonating. You should be A/B testing pretty much everything – color, form placement, language, design, frequency, subject lines – to understand what’s working best.
Do not sleep on this tool. It is a necessary step to creating email content that works.
Today, social proof is everything (when was the last time you bought something on Amazon or went to a restaurant on Yelp that had poor or nonexistent reviews?).
Adding positive customer reviews to your website, emails, and social media accounts will reduce friction and increase both likeability and trust. This, in turn, will make people less hesitant when it’s time to subscribe.
Once you get a decent number of subscribers, you can even include how many subscribers you already have on your sign-up sheet.
What other websites is your audience checking out? There’s bound to be tons of other sites that they love and frequent – figuring out what they are and guest posting on those sites can increase your exposure and engagement fast.
To get this right, though, you have to be able to link back your own newsletter via author byline or CTA – otherwise it’s just free content for the other site (not the point here).
“Join our newsletter” isn’t exactly going to turn heads. Grab their attention with something fun and kitschy like FruitFanatics for a produce company or TechTational Reads for a data business.
Even if you have a straightforward company – and your audience doesn’t necessarily want jokes – you can still play with alliteration or imagery to make your content more memorable at a glance.
Are you going to send emails once a week? Once a month? Once a year?
Let your audience know what they’re in for and don’t surprise them. If they get content they weren’t expecting – and they didn’t sign up for – they’ll opt out fast.
Not getting the answers you want with analytics or A/B testing? Ask your audience what you want to know flat-out. People like giving feedback, so inviting questions, chat, or Q&A can be both informative and attractive to end users.
Allow any partner companies you have to link and promote on your site. This can bring their audience directly to your pages, where you can collect email addresses on a sign-up form.
Going to a conference, a trade show, or even a Christmas party? You can demo a product, sell something, or offer a talk in exchange for sign-ups.
And once you input the emails, don’t forget to confirm their opt-in with a welcome email so engagement can start right away.
Quick Response codes, or QR codes, are barcodes that people can scan on their phones to take them directly to a specific webpage. You can add one to your print marketing material or products to encourage sign-ups off the computer. Your best bet? Offer more information or something interesting in exchange for the email.
Just make sure that the sign-up page is mobile friendly, since people will be scanning on their smartphones.
You need to engage with people reguarly and quickly, which requires effective automation. This could be as simple as thank you pages and confirmation pages or as interesting as discount campaigns to re-engage people that have been inactive for awhile.
This is an important part of keeping your list fresh and engaged, and every company should have some kind of automation in place.
Oftentimes, people unsubscribe because they’re just overwhelmed by the sheer number of emails they’re getting every day. When they go to unsubscribe, give them options or “levels” of email subscription – offer a “light” subscription or different plans (perhaps they only want to hear about products or they want a monthly newsletter rather than weekly messages).
This will keep subscribers on your list who you would have otherwise lost completely
And there you have it! Follow these tips, and you will have robust, engaged email lists in no time. Happy emailing!
We have a great network of vetted local talent that we use for white label work, and we would love to talk shop over coffee.