Aug 17 2015
Data shows that over three quarters of consumers chose email as their preferred mode of communication with brands they patronize. 81% of US shoppers are likely to buy more – both online and offline – as a direct consequence of emails based on their past buying behavior. In fact, 28% of shoppers who receive promotional emails weekly actually would like to receive such emails more often! Clearly, this is one high ROI marketing tool.
But before you head over to your email database and start firing out round after round of promotional emails, wait a minute.
Did you know that about 25% of your email database becomes redundant every year? In other words, if you did not gain a single new email signup for the next four years, you would be sitting on a completely useless email database.
The answer obviously, is to keep working on expanding your email database. Here are a few ideas…
1. Opt-In Campaigns
Even if you are under tremendous pressure to grow a list, never, ever send out promotional emails to customers who have not explicitly opted in. Spamming unknown users with promotional messages can get your business in big trouble under the CAN-SPAM Act and is unequivocally avoidable.
Instead send out opt-in messages, asking users to sign up to your newsletters. Offer them an incentive for signing up to excite them into action. Opt-in letters can be sent to existing customers who are not email subscribers, to the database of a sister company or even a brand partner.
2. Email-Only Deals and Steals
Build a reputation for your newsletters as the place to be for the deal hunter in town. Send out unbeatable deals and coupons via your email newsletter that cannot be found anywhere else. Your cost-conscious shoppers will automatically flock to your email database.
3. Go to Town with That Sign-Up Link
Don’t be shy about promoting your email newsletters. Put in a signup link wherever you find some company real estate – QR codes on delivery vans or inside stores, inside email signatures, at the bottom of transactional emails, inside customer care emails, and more.
Create a contest that attracts your audience’s eyeballs. Ask participants to register for the contest with their email addresses, and voila – you have a readymade database you can approach for opting in to your newsletter!
5. Lightbox Captures
This one’s fairly common. Most websites these days have a lightbox popup that welcomes new visitors to their site. Then there are sites that spring these lightboxes when a user is about to leave the site. Both times, the message is simple – “Sign up for our newsletter and get X% off on your purchase right away” or some such enticement.
6. Import Data from Your CRM
Another simple way to a larger database is by importing users and their addresses from your CRM suite. Try out an email marketing tool like GetResponse, which comes with a dedicated List Booster feature, allowing you to bring in users from compatible services such as LinkedIn and Gmail, or even your hard disk.
7. Social Media Widgets
Most companies invest sizeable budgets on acquiring new followers on social media. Use your followers as a captive audience and request email database signups from them with a simple widget on your business’s home page on each social media network. If you’re on a network that does not allow external widgets, put up posts inviting fans to sign up by clicking the CTA button or link embedded in your post.
8. Giveaways via Social Media
Social media users are always on the lookout for the next freebie they can lay their hands on. Play into this mindset and offer your social media fans goodies in return for a sign up to your newsletter database. Don’t confuse this with contests. Here, you’re offering something to everyone.
9. Free Downloads
The fascination for free stuff is obviously not limited to social media. Your regular users will gladly offer you their email IDs in exchange for something free that is of real value to them. And you don’t need to burn a large hole in your pocket by giving away physical products. A free online tool, a statistical resource, original research, free images or design templates are all fair game in return for email signups.
10. Event or Webinar Registration
Hosting an exclusive event that your users would love to be a part of? Conducting a webinar that will discuss matters that matter to your audience? Create an email registration gateway to such coveted occasions and grow your database without any effort.
11. Website Widgets
This one’s a no-brainer. Your website is your home on the internet. That’s the one place no one’s going to charge you any money to advertise anything you want. Advertise your newsletter with a prominently placed signup widget on your home page and on your high traffic pages like your blog or your customer care section.
12. Cash Register
Have a physical store? Simply ask your customers for their email ID at the cash register with a big smile on your face. People have a tough time saying “No” to others in person, especially when they’re being nice to them.
13. Thank You Page
Ecommerce sites can – no, must – include a newsletter signup tab on their thank you pages. This is the stage where the user has committed their money to you, a display of trust on their part. That’s the right time to interest them in future offers and promotions form your brand to keep them in the know for the long haul.
Your existing subscribers are your best spokespersons for getting new subscribers. Offer your existing subscribers a freebie or a discount on a future purchase in exchange for referring their friends to your email newsletter. Reward them after the friend signs up to ensure a win-win situation.
15. Great Content
I saved the most important method for the very end. Put your heart into your newsletters and offer your subscribers content that they look forward to every week. When you build a reputation for great content, you’ll automatically reduce your database redundancy rate by minimizing unsubscribes. You’ll also attract new users by the droves through word of mouth push from existing subscribers.
Over to You
Don’t ever decide that a thousand subscribers are fine or a hundred thousand are more than enough. Since these subscribers will eventually move on, you need to keep replenishing that supply. I hope you can hit the ground running with a few of the above ideas – they’re extremely simple and easy to implement. The key is to keep looking for new ways to build your list.
Tracy Vides is a content strategist and researcher who gives small business and entrepreneurs marketing and social media advice. Tracy is also a prolific blogger – her posts are featured on Tech Cocktail, She Owns It and Steamfeed. Connect with her on Twitter @TracyVides for a chat anytime!