You can call the people who follow your brand’s social media feeds “fans” or “friends” if you want, but in all likelihood, the majority of them are, at best, casual acquaintances. They’re unlikely to see your messages or come when you call.
The people who actually want to know what’s happening with your company and the products it offers are on your email list—which most often directly relates to your content marketing efforts.
Is email marketing a high priority at your company?
It should be. Here’s why:
- Most used channel—By the end of 2019, the number of worldwide email users will increase to over 2.9 billion. Over one-third of the worldwide population will be using email by year-end 2019. (Source)
- Ownership—Email is entirely permission-based. You send messages to people who have given you permission to do so, and are therefore more receptive to your messages. Unlike social media channels as well as search, you own your list and need not fret about the frequent rule changes and algorithms.
- Personal and private—Email allows you to communicate directly, personally, and privately. No system limits your reach.
- Targeted—Again, you communicate with people who’ve shown interest in your products and content. The data you gather enables you to deliver timely and relevant content and offers to get better results.
- Intent—A click through from an email is the result of someone reading your subject line, opening the email, reading the message and taking the time to visit your website. It’s no accident the visitor is on your landing page.
- ROI—Email generally outperforms all other channels. 73 percent of companies rate email marketing as excellent or good when it comes to ROI.
The most important goals for email marketers.
Recent research indicates the two most important goals for email marketers —and critical challenges for achieving them—are (1) increasing sign-up conversion rate and (2) improving the value of the content.
Email marketers credit social media advertising, content marketing, and search engine optimization as the three most effective growth tactics.
The list above includes four additional tactics that 31 to 36 percent deem effective, however it appears the Ascent2 research leaves out what could possibly be a shining new star for accelerating email list growth…
Distribution of content through native advertising.
How does potentially reaching one billion+ potential new people sound?
It’s surprising the choices in the Ascend2 survey did not include native advertising. Here’s why:
- As of late 2017, the Taboola content discovery platform reaches 43.6% of internet users around the world, according to comScore Key Measure rankings.
- In the US, where Taboola was first launched, audience reach has increased to 89% of all desktop users.
Via the Taboola network you can find and engage over one billion users across premium publishing websites and drive the traffic you need to accelerate the growth of your email list.
14 tactics to get more email subscribers.
Most companies rely on an old standby for building their email lists: the newsletter opt-in. They simply sprinkle a form on various pages of their website and blog that reads, “Subscribe to our newsletter.”
Do you find anything compelling about this offer?
The tactic is antiquated and ineffective. Unless you’re happy with converting at a rate in the neighborhood of .001, you need stronger strategies if you want to accelerate email list growth.
Let’s get into a list of them now. Keep in mind, some will perform better than others, so you’ll want to try as many as possible and double down on the tactics that prove effective.
- Create lead magnets—You could call this first tip, “Offer something of value.” You could call it a signup incentive, or other things. Call it what you want, but understand, offering a lead magnet is the most effective strategy to build your email list. A lead magnet is a free offer you make in exchange for an email address (and possibly additional information). Lead magnets can take many forms. Popular examples include:
- Cheat sheet
- Case study
- Tool or templates
- Free trial or sample
Want more lead magnet ideas? The lead magnet above is a list of 50 lead magnet ideas.
- Be generous, but holdout too—Here’s what I mean… Attract readers with great content, but inspire them to subscribe to receive a super-duper premium goodie. The image above is an example. In that post, I detail 10 lead magnet ideas, but offer a download for 50 ideas. Digital marketers often call this the “content upgrade” tactic.
- Run a contest or giveaway—Contests and giveaways are not only compelling, they can have added bonuses:
- You can design your contest to collect useful information in addition to email addresses.
- Photo, video or essay contests enable you to collect user-generated content.
- They may inspire contestants to share.
- They may inspire contestants to keep coming back to your website.
Contests are awesome for collecting email addresses. What’s more, they can help you gather additional data, include offers, use interactive elements to heighten engagement, and inspire prospects to create content for you.
- Sweeten the deal—Though money is not exchanged, think of the opt-in process as a transaction. The subscriber gives up something of value, their email address. You can reciprocate by offering to deliver exclusive benefits to subscribers or “members.”
- Make happy campers happier—Give some thought to the placement of your opt-in forms. An excellent place to request an opt-in is at the bottom of blog post. My reasoning here is simple… By getting a reader to the bottom of your post, you successfully engaged them. They’re likely to want more.
- Experiment with pop-ups—All kinds of marketing services now make it easy for you to experiment with pop-ups that appear based on user behavior. Options include timed pop-up forms, scroll based, and the now popular, exit ploy.
Take advantage of the various wizards and types of forms offered by your email service provider, marketing automation platform, or purchase an affordable plan from an opt-in specialist service. The examples above come from Get Response, which is the service I use.
- Follow the money—If you’re doing eCommerce, SaaS or selling off the page in any way, add an “opt-in for our newsletter” checkbox to your checkout page. You earned a customer, give them a reason to become a subscriber too.
- Set expectations—No one wakes up in the morning thinking, “This is a great day to get on more email lists.” You might overcome the prospect’s fear of opting in by revealing how often they’ll receive email from your company and mentions of what they’ll actually receive.
- Test this stuff—As you’re gathering, there are all kinds of tactics for growing your email list and so experimentation is in order. A/B test your offers, form designs, form placements, call-to-actions, or any variable that could affect conversion.
- Rock your CTAs—I mentioned the call-to-action (CTA) above. Research often shows popular and boring CTAs such as “Subscribe now” don’t do as well as more interesting approaches such as:
- First person—Send me my cheat sheet.
- Benefits—Teach me your conversion secrets.
- Fun language—Rock my inbox.
- Take it offline—It’s obviously a bit trickier (and more involved) to collect email addresses in realms beyond your website, but it’s worth trying. You might try collecting email addresses with sign-up sheets and business cards at trade shows, events, in-store, and wherever business takes you.
- Create and promote a landing page—Make a landing page explicitly for converting new subscribers (obviously and offer will help) and promote it by placing a link to it in your social media profiles and emails. You could consider promoting it in the social media updates you “pin to the top.”
- Use social proof—It’s always a good idea to color your communications with social proof. Here are a couple of persuasive techniques for establishing credibility and building your trust factor:
- Cite how many subscribers are on your list.
- Include testimonials from subscribers.
- Don’t be greedy—Greedy or needy forms will lower your conversion rates. Request only the data you need. Of course, if you’re attempting to qualify prospects, you’re welcome to populate your forms with additional fields, but forms that ask only for an email address (or email address and name) will increase your opt-in rate.
Go forth and grow you list.
Again, your email list is an asset you own and control. You don’t do battle with constant the constant changes search and social channels throw at you.
Value the asset. Build the asset. Offer something of value and market it via the right channels and make native advertising one of them if you want to multiply your reach in a big way.