Surveys (like this one, for example) consistently show that email marketing is the most effective digital marketing technique offering the highest ROI. Of course, it only works when it’s an opt-in system and you don’t abuse your access to people.
The contacts on your email list should have made the decision to receive messages from your brand. And they should be respected and rewarded by getting a reasonable number of emails, all providing them with something of genuine interest. They shouldn’t be punished with spam—excessive messages or purely promotional material that doesn’t offer them something they might actually want.
With that in mind, there are plenty of effective ways to grow your email list with people who are likely to act on your emails (your target market) and who are likely to stay subscribed as long as you don’t take advantage of their attention.
Here are a dozen:
- Create engaging email content and deliver value to encourage people to spread the word about your offers (and to stay subscribed—you won’t get far if you’re losing subscribers as fast as you’re earning new ones).
- Ask recipients to forward your newsletters. If they appreciate your content, a simple request is often all it takes to get people to share. Make sure you have a call to action (CTA) to subscribe at the bottom; a lot of people overlook this, thinking the emails only reach people already subscribed.
- Include CTAs to sign up on most pages of your website.
- Use your content marketing to grow your email list. Ask people to subscribe to keep up with the blog posts, articles, or other content you publish.
- Request an email address in exchange for a free e-book, white paper, or other useful download.
- Segment your email lists by interests; people are more inclined to sign up for something narrowly focused on something they care a lot about, as opposed to a more broad subject.
- Run low-cost paid advertising on social media sites to gain subscribers; Facebook is a great place to start where you can really hone your targets and spend very little. Advertise something of value, like a blog subscription or exclusive access to discounts.
- Make an occasional promotional post on your social media pages to encourage subscriptions. Don’t just ask, though; sell the value of subscribing! When you don’t have anything more pressing to share, leave one of these posts pinned to the top of your pages.
- Add a “Sign Up” CTA to your Facebook business page. It appears along the bottom of your cover image and can direct to a subscription landing page.
- Include a link to your subscription landing page in your email signature (and those of other employees).
- Present an online webinar—which is great for branding—and collect email addresses from the people who register.
- Think digitally when offline. Request email addresses from people you connect with at events and enter them into your database. Send a courtesy email that gives them the opportunity to confirm their opt-in.
Keep an Eye on Unsubscribes
Again, you don’t want to lose subscribers as you gain new ones. Watch your unsubscribes as diligently as your sign ups. If you’re losing people, consider whether you’ve recently changed something (Are you sending emails more often? Did you eliminate a newsletter section?). Also, ask unsubscibers why they’re opting out; a short menu box with clickable options is the best way to get the most responses.
For more on succeeding with email marketing, check out our article “50 Quick Tips for Creating Better Email Marketing Campaigns.”
For an example of using content to build your email subscriber list, look at the CTA right below this.