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We know it’s difficult to believe or accept as we approach the year 2016, but email continues to be a proven method for reaching sales prospects in business and cultivating long-term relationships with customers. If you have followed any of our previous blogs, you know that email has one of the highest ROIs across online marketing channels, most notably when used in conjunction with social and search approaches. What’s more, email has been known to provide greater visibility compared to fleeting tweets and the…let’s just say “fractured”…attention spans populating Facebook.
But the big, 100-thousand-dollar question is, how can you capitalize on email’s best attributes to grow YOUR audience and generate more leads and sales? If we may be so bold, it’s a good guess that you may have already noticed your website visitors not automatically going to sign up for your list just because you have an opt-in box in the sidebar. The unfortunate reality is, from a marketer’s standpoint (i.e. companies like Multiverse Media Group) it seems as though we’re facing an online environment that’s fraught and oversaturated with generic, low-value offers such as:
“Click here to receive my newsletter.”
“Join our list.”
“Enter your email and you’ll receive weekly updates.”
First and foremost (and we’ll go into this in greater detail below), opt-in incentives need to be more enticing and valuable, and this value needs to be made CLEAR in verbiage. Your opt-in links and sign-up boxes should be obvious without being distracting or pushy – but an opt-in box isn’t enough: Sign-ups must be incorporated into all of your content marketing and social media strategies, as well.
MVMG Quick Stat: Your email marketing database degrades by about 22.5-percent every year. Further, your contacts’ email addresses change as they move from one company to another, opt-out of your email communication or abandon that old AOL address they only use to fill out forms on websites.
It’s your job – or a marketing agency’s job if you have hired one to handle your marketing tactics – to make sure you’re constantly adding fresh contacts to your email marketing campaigns so you can keep your numbers moving up and “to the right.” If you’re not working on building your email list already, or have run out of ideas to do so, here are some tips we at Multiverse can offer.
Present a contest or giveaway opportunity on your website and social channels, encouraging people to sign up with their email in order to be entered. Choosing the right giveaway prize can be tricky, though; if your offer appeals to an audience that is too wide, you could end up with a massive list of unqualified leads…but if your offer appeals to an audience that is too narrow, you could hurt your giveaway’s chances of being shared far and wide across the Internet. This is a delicate balance you need to establish.
The important lesson here is that your giveaway is one of the easiest and most effective ways to attract qualified leads, so choose it wisely.
Create an eBook, White Paper, Infographic, et al
Offering a valuable “white paper” or eBook in exchange for an email address is a common way to build an email marketing list – and the reason we say it’s common is because IT WORKS. If you have eBooks, white papers, infographics, long-form articles or other premium content you’re planning on giving away, “gate” each one with an email sign-up form landing page to generate subscribers from that content. Further, tweet, post and share excerpts of content from your premium resources on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ to drive interest and traffic to the landing pages that gate them.
MVMG Power Tip: Always include a visual component to the aforementioned updates to ensure you’re receiving the most traffic, engagement and clicks as possible.
Newsletters are the workhorses of email marketing, as they enable you to deliver value to your readers on an ongoing basis. While you’ll often hear that “there’s a lot involved” in creating good newsletters, the reality is that even if you find yourself working with limited resources there are a variety of strategies you can employ to produce a high-value newsletter. Also, making sure blog posts deliver awesome content regularly is another big factor here – it’s like a free sample of the email content. Think about it: If your blog posts are looked at as being just “average” to the reader, why should visitors come back, much less give up their email address?
In other words, make the “What’s in it for me?” crystal clear.
MVMG Power Tips: Begin your newsletter’s content with your readers’ needs in mind: Offer useful information, not just thinly-veiled sales material. Additionally, offer at least three to four stories in your newsletter across varied, relevant industry topics; essentially, you’re casting a wide net so that you can win the interest of as much of your audience as possible.
Host a Free Webinar with Required Email Signup
If you want to build an email list FAST, webinars are perfect because they possess one of the most vital elements of a persuasive offer built-in. Think about it: What makes people take an action on an offer? Sure, there are a few proven persuasion principles at play, but most marketers will tell you that nothing works better than a perfectly-executed “scarcity play.” Why is this? People are frightened that they’ll lose out on something that could change their lives or businesses.
What also makes webinars so great is that they boast both a quantity and time limit built-in, so the software limits the amount of people that can show up. In other words, since webinars are live events, the time limit is implied…if people don’t sign up before the event takes place, they miss it. And because the online world is becoming ever-crowded and competition continues to remain stiff, not only do you need to produce stellar work and create fantastic products, you also need to differentiate yourself from everyone out there. Webinars help you do exactly that because they represent a barrier to entry that other forms of communication such as eBooks and e-courses (among many others) don’t have.
Offer Transparent Opt-In Options
We touched a bit on this in the beginning, but it’s an approach that deserves a section all its own; let your subscribers choose what kinds of emails they receive, how frequently they receive them and more by offering transparent opt-in options. We recommend looking into what’s called a “confirmed opt-in” process, wherein no matter how a subscriber is added to your list – either via online signup form or being manually entered by you – they’ll receive an email to confirm their desire to be added to your list. While demanding a bit more work from the subscriber, such an approach has a few key benefits such as:
- Better deliverability
- A more interested list
- Less wasted money
- Avoidance of incorrect or fake signups
- Avoidance of spammers
Offer Discounts for New Subscribers
Your opt-in conformation page represents a golden opportunity to present subscribers with an exclusive offer. Most opt-in “thank you” pages simply thank the user for subscribing, giving them information regarding how to confirm the sign-up – but we suggest going one step further by giving your subscribers an exclusive deal they won’t find anywhere else. Keep in mind, though, that this isn’t an opportunity to up-sell but rather a chance to introduce new subscribers to something small and beneficial.
Some so-called savvy online marketers will tell you “the money’s in the list” – but that’s not entirely accurate. What they should be saying is that the money’s in the QUALITY of the email list, rather than in the quantity of the subscribers. Indeed, lists that boast a few hundred DEDICATED customers can easily outperform lists of 10,000 or more generic “freebie seekers” when you focus on building relationships instead of counting sales. When thinking about how to grow your email list, keep these email marketing strategy ideas in mind.