How do I grow an email list?
Although most marketing practitioners know that email marketing is an effective way to reach customers there seem to be certain obstacles that prevent them from taking full advantage of it. Growing an email list is often a major obstacle that companies come across right in the early stages of their email marketing processes. Many of the tactics are in fact quite easy and simple to carry out, you just need to make the decision to get started with it. We collected some of the best practices and tested ways to grow your list.
1. Own register
All companies usually have some registers of their own to get started with. These could be in sales, customer care or on the CEO’s desk in a pile of business cards. In well oiled email marketing software these contacts and registers can be managed and imported from any external sources as .xls or .csv files. In more advanced email marketing software there is a possibility to integrate it directly to various CRM systems, thus enabling a centralized control over the register.
2. Subscription form on a company's website
Sounds simple, yet many fail to do so. Many visitors on your web page won’t fill a contact request form, but would rather get to know you over a period of time in a more subtle way. This is one of the main reasons why the content on your web page has to remain fresh and consistent. Advanced email marketing software usually come with a ready-made subscription page that is easy to link to. The other way is to embed the order form onto your site. Either way, you'll have the opportunity to reach potential customers and other interested parties visiting your site. You might want to add an incentive; something valuable that is worth subscribing to your newsletter to.
By using this tactic nothing has to be done manually but the subscribers are automatically added to your recipient list. A subscription form or a page also gives you a great opprtunity to segment and personalize your communication; you might want to ask how often a subscriber wants to receive your newsletter or on what products/services/themes they are especially interested in.
3. Social media
Social media is a good way to grow your mailing list. Facebook for example has millions of people using it daily, so why not take advantage of it? Among these millions of people are some of your current customers who have already liked your facebook page and who might be connected to other relevant people. Adding a subscription form there is fairly easy and might bring you great advantages. Also, if you’re running competitions or other promotions, you can always add a possibility to subscribe to your newsletter or ask a permission to include them in your distribution list.
If you think that social media updates are enough and that they replace email marketing, think again for the biggest senders of email newsletters. Facebook is not by accident one of the biggest newsletter senders in the world. Newsletters drive people to the web service, whether the service is social media or your company web site.
4. Trade shows, conferences and other events
Trade shows are a great way to meet new prospects and potential customers for your business as well as old customers and partners. Typically exhibition stands are focused on giving demonstrations and distributing leaflets and brochures. Instead of just handing out brochures (that typically end up on the bottom of the bag and are seldom read) ask your visitors to give their contact details to you to send out the material after the event. You can also invite visitors to sign up for the newsletter by organizing a competition, for example “subscribe to our monthly newsletter and win an iPad!”. You can make the process efficient with a subscribtion page directly connected to your list of receivers or manually by having a “fish bowl” to collect business cards.
5. Part of customer service
This is one of the most simple and traditional ways of collecting an email database. When the contact or a business card of a client or prospect is obtained, ask permission to include the person on your newsletter delivery list. Also include your sales and support teams to the process; these people are usually the ones who communicate with customers and prospects on daily basis.
6. Company communication
Almost any communication that you do as a company can be extended to a newsletter subscription. For example, on a back of your business card you can include a link directly to your email newsletter subscription page. Make it a responsive site so the impression on a smart phone or a tablet is optimal. Also, push practices to include a link to your subscription page in every employee’s email signature for example. How many emails does your company send out daily and how many impressions would you get this way?
7. Purchased (rented) lists
Purchased and rented lists (registers) are effective when correctly used. When using bought or rented lists, however, it is of utmost importance to remember the rules: what can be sent without prior consent and to whom. Note that there might also be country-specific rules and legistlation. In addition to laws and regulations you should also pay special attention to the message itself: who is for and what is told in it? Spamming is not only illegal, it is also very ineffective and might make your business look suspicious in the eyes of the recipients. So if you choose to use this tactic, pay close attention on targeting your message carefully as well as choosing the right trustworthy partner to provide your list. Also remember that opt-in subscribers are usually much more loyal and eager to read your content, thus collecting the email addresses by opt-in methods is in many cases advisable.
It's all about the effort
The seven tips above are just some of the ways you could get started with collecting your email list. Really it's all about the effort, imagination and the overall mental decision to invest some time for it. One key aspect of building a register is also making sure the people signing up for your newsletter get something in return. In its simplest (and cheapest), it can be your promise of relevant content for them and a policy to keep their contact information private. You could also provide something valuable for them, for example, a downloadable book, discount on your products and services or participation in a competition to win something.
What ever tactics you choose to use, we assure you it's most likely worth it. If done properly, email marketing is not only powerful and cost-effective but also dynamic and enables independent, self-sustainable marketing. It can reward you with new customers, happier existing ones, better internal communication or whatever the specific communication goals are. What is important, however, is the continuity of your efforts as well as having the right tools to do it with.
LianaMailer is an easy to use tool for email marketing and creating graphic newsletters with your corporate feel and look. Read more about the tool and book a free demo to take a closer look.