April 28, 2011
With such a push to grow fans and followers on your social networks, it can be very easy to neglect your email subscriber list. However, whilst every week some social media guru proclaims that email marketing is dead, businesses continue to invest resources into their email efforts, because email marketing remains one of the best ways to communicate important information, sell products and drive website traffic.
In fact, according to Marketing Sherpa, 31% of businesses plan to increase their email marketing budgets between 10% – 30%. The value is definitely there, but how do you grow your list of email subscribers?
The key to great results is having a high-quality list of subscribers and opportunities to boost your numbers are everywhere.
Every time you make contact with a customer or prospect, you should obtain their email address and whilst talking, you can also ask if they’d like to receive your newsletter. Ensure that your call centre staff, receptionist, or person answering your calls; routinely asks for an email address during a phone enquiry.
Most people like to receive well written, informative emails and so you should aim for an 80% response rate. If you have 5 people talking to 15 customers per day, after one month you’ll have 1,200 of your prospects or customers who have ‘opted in’ to receive a newsletter from your company.
However, a common problem with capturing email addresses off line; is the level of errors in the address and so make sure that staff are fully trained in the importance of getting the e-mail address correct and how to check for invalid address formats. Some call centres have even incentivised staff according to the number of valid email addresses they collect. When collecting addresses on paper, some obvious, practical steps can help such as; allowing sufficient space for the e-mail address and asking for it to be written in CAPS.
Organisations typically report more success with off line tactics where staff are given an incentive to grow the email list. This can be a direct reward; for example a bonus payment to hotel reception staff for increasing the percentage of guests who opt in to the hotel’s list.
Use sales meetings, or if a retail context, the point of sale; to collect an email address and be careful to check the wording on your sales order forms or registration forms, to ensure of an opt-in to all forms of future communications.
One of the easiest ways to obtain email addresses is to conduct a telemarketing campaign and to ask for them. By using well defined processes and systems it is possible to obtain around 15 email addresses per person per hour. If you want to start email marketing by obtaining the addresses for say 5,000 of your customers, this will take two telemarketing staff around five weeks. Then you have the email addresses for 5,000 of your customers.
One really effective way to grow your database could be to purchase a list, without email addresses and to then conduct a telemarketing campaign. This way will ensure that the list isn’t tired from over-use.
A great way to collect business cards with email addresses is to get out there and network at relevant business events. Or, if you are exhibiting at a trade show or conference; hold a free prize draw to collect business cards.
Each time someone visits your web site; you should try and capture their name to send them an email newsletter. Maybe do this through a pop up box, or simply through a field where they can enter their email address. This way, you’ll build up your distribution lists effectively and you’ll stay front of your customers’ minds.
Make sure you don’t hide your sign up opportunity in the website footer, or below the fold and don’t limit to just your homepage; make sure you have a sign up opportunity on every page.
A website transaction can be the perfect opportunity to request an opt in to a related email list, as the visitor is already expressing an interest in your product or service.
Everything starts with content, both in your newsletter and on your website. Information is the hook that will keep people interested enough to keep opening your emails when they arrive. Good content is what will create a relationship between you and your readers, which is critical to earning their trust.
If you’re focusing on a newsletter then ensure the content in it is informative and not just laden with offers. If you provide a service, consider offering something for free with your email sign-up. Your offer may come in the way of a discount code they receive after registering, or it may be an info-packed whitepaper. It is vital to understand that your offer must be valuable enough for your subscriber to share their private contact information.
Make sure that the form you use to collect the user’s information isn’t too long or too intrusive and you need to ensure that your sign up forms clearly indicate exactly what to do, with a description of the clear benefits of joining the list and the frequency.
Ask for minimal data initially, as more data can be collected on subsequent pages and what you ask for initially, should make sense for the product or service you’re offering in exchange. For example; asking for a date of birth for newsletter signup would proba. bably stop many people from finishing the form.
proJust make sure that it’s easy to sign up and don’t ask for too much information as you don’t want to put people off midway through the process
When a person is on your blog or website and is thinking about handing over their email address, the first thing they are going to think about is whether they are alone in doing so and a great sales tactic to use here is social proof. Your visitors need to see that other subscribers have validated their decision to join you and they want it in a range of ways.
If you don’t have big subscriber numbers already, then consider using testimonials in your sign up area. Why not show them what other people are saying about being a subscriber.
When email and social media are used together, the results can be highly effective. Consider publishing certain sections of the email on your website and promoting the availability of exclusive content on your social media channels.
Add the content to landing pages with a subscription form and you’ll not only add valuable new content to your site, but you’ll maximize your opportunities for subscriber acquisition.
Twitter has made it easy to briefly share information and to spread the word on the topics of interest to your followers. Mixing informative tweets with the occasional promotion to sign up for a newsletter or offer; is a strategy which many social media users have adopted.
Then encourage your happy readers to tweet your content and “like it” on Facebook. If they believe in you and your product or service, they will often be willing to spread the word. All you have to do is put the question to them.
A call to action also helps guide the user toward the next step they should make. In the case of emails, consider adding a “Send to a Friend” button so that your message can gain some viral interest.
If you need any further advice on how to increase your valuable email subscribers; we’re here to help. Please call 0161 817 2929 or email [email protected].
Posted by Rebecca McCormick
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