Email marketing has always been about reaching the right people, but this is an evolutionary concept, because email marketing is re-inventing itself. Growing a quality email list means growing an audience of directly addressable contacts. Marketers recognize that it is important, but thinking beyond tactics isn’t a given. According to the Email List Strategy Survey from Ascend2, the lack of an effective list strategy is a significant barrier to success for 50% of small to midsize businesses (SMBs). However, while half of SMB marketers say it is important, they still struggle to create a plan.
Important qualities that make a strong email list
Before we delve into some tactics to build upon, let’s first define what quality looks like in terms of email marketing lists. Here are some examples:
- Subscriber profiles match your target audience or have the potential to match in the future;
- There is enough profile data to allow you to segment and granularly personalize messaging to your list;
- List churn is stable or decreasing;
- The audience is engaging with your messages;
- Conversions can be tied to individuals and email campaigns.
Of course your campaigns will have a great influence when it comes to determining the durability of your lists. It is important to have enough mass and enough subscribers that will allow you to do interesting campaigns, while still being efficient and generating and attractive email marketing ROI. (Yes, I said it, size is a part of quality. Translated: Size matters!)
Often, one or more of these characteristics are not in optimum shape. The good news is, this means there is potential for improvement.
So what are high quality list sources?
By far, your current and fresh new clients are prime audience quality #1. Especially if your sales cycle and products permit, they are much more likely to be attracted to your messaging and take some desired action as a result.
If you are have an ecommerce business, be sure to include an opt-in into the purchase process and as part of your checkout process. The primary reason this works so well is that the new client and/or subscriber already has a mental momentum. They clearly like what you are selling, and by weaving the signup into that primary process, you get to take advantage (in a positive way) of their state of mind and action mode. It’s like the natural next step in a relationship and this is an easy, intelligent way to build your list.
Most likely, a portion of your clients have not yet opted-in, or have unsubscribed somewhere in the past. Sending sweet reminders along the natural touch points with your clients are a must. From a log-in environment that offers special benefits and perks, to email receipts and re-targeting, these are all opportunities to both more meaningfully connect with your customers and get them into your email database. In-store visits are especially under used. You can offer to send a receipt via email as a convenience, a coupon for discount on their next visit to stimulate signups.
One thing to keep in mind is that many companies have some kind of a loyalty card, program, or customer communities. It is easy to see that those clients represent the biggest value per customer. So there is always a way for customers to “grow” to a next level of engagement and for marketers to tease them into doing so. If they respond to one offer, keep giving them different offers and continue to change and fine-tune the nature of your relationship, business and otherwise, with them.
Reserve website real-estate to promote your email program
Never forget that your own website is a premium source for email sign-ups. Website visitors have already shown interest, which is a clear marker of quality. So be sure to develop your website architecture in such a way that it offers a multitude of opt-in options. These include a variety of tactics, including newsletter sign-up CTAs, special subscriber-only content offers, an incentive (discount) offer, whitepapers, how-to guides, or other types of valuable downloadable resources.
Another strategy is to use content upgrades on your site. With a content upgrade, the blog or article is used to drive topical traffic to your site and is “extended” through an additional asset like a cheat sheet, checklist, pdf download, or some other value-added asset. In exchange for the visitor’s email address, they get access to the extended content. That’s good for them and good for you. Want to try it? Here is list of 30 content upgrade ideas that you can experiment with.
Make sure you reserve that website real-estate for opt-ins, and know that location can have a big impact on how many people join your list. For instance, far too many websites only have their email signup call to action located in the footer of their site—that’s a big mistake, as most visitors won’t even see that. Make sure you test the location, design, and wording of your email sign-up CTA. Then test, test, and test some more!
Webinars and on-demand video content
Webinars are another very effective tactic for email list growth.The beauty of this is that you can also invite your current list members to participate in the webinar event and build into the email campaign and/or webinar polls or surveys during the event that allow you to ask that audience relevant questions. This will allow you to engage in a lead scoring effort and/or additional research about your target audience as a whole. You learn more from the subscribers and webinar participants and it can trigger a beautiful follow-up. Another tip is to convert the live webinar and present it as an on-demand video (also after registration) to keep it generating more data and subscribers.
Increasing value of your list
Remember the characteristics I shared at the beginning of this article? All those are indicators of the potential value that your addressable audience represents.
The value is not in the email list itself, it is through the list.
A nurtured email list has a superior value than an un-nurtured list, and can deliver value in a myriad of ways, for a long period of time. The quality of your list is what makes all the difference. List quality, audience quality, they are defined in large part by the completeness of the subscribers’ profile. Why is that important? Because that is where purchase intent and targeting options are found.
What are you doing to grow your email list this year? Hopefully these tips will help you to expand your reach considerably, and increase the impact of your email marketing and conversion to sales.
This article has been brought to you in part by SAP Digital CRM. Visit the SAP Store to find out how SAP Digital CRM can help you supercharge your marketing and sell more, and register for the free 30-day trial.
This post was first published on SAP Digital.
About Jordie van Rijn
Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant and online influencer with a focus on email marketing and marketing automation.