Today, there are more ways than ever to reach your target consumers, yet email continues to be the most affordable, quick, personalized, and measurable channel. In fact, as of 2013, there are 3.6 billion email accounts. Wouldn’t you like to reach all those people?
The problem I often see with new clients that my agency works with is that they are using a small or outdated list and don’t understand why they are getting such a small return.
The truth is that your email list needs to be a constantly growing entity – letting it age will do nothing for you and ultimately be detrimental to your marketing efforts. So, how do you ensure this doesn't happen? Below are six ways you can grow your email list, and allow for more engaged leads.
1) Be Remarkably Valuable
As you may know, the best way to capture email contacts is through your website with forms and landing pages. But visitors aren’t going to just download anything. They want something useful and valuable that gets them excited. I mean, you’re not going to exchange your information for something that isn't worth it, right?
My advice? Give the people what they want! For example, we work with an automotive dealership that utilizes inbound marketing, and they have seen a huge increase in contacts by adding mileage checklists to their website.
People can look up a particular make and model of vehicle and learn more about its recommended maintenance. We now have these extremely qualified customers in our database for remarketing. I bet other dealerships wish they had the same list!
Tip: Create valuable downloads that people will actually want, like whitepapers, videos, and checklists.
2) Make Your Offers Easy to Find
Whenever I hear about a city's "hidden gem" I can only think "awesome product, terrible location." Try to do the opposite with the Calls to Action that lead to your remarkably valuable content offers (as outlined in part #1 up aboce). Have them be relevant, visible and easily accessible.
I’m an advocate of having your best lead-capturing CTA above the fold (i.e. the top) on your homepage, even as far up as in the header. You need to make this impossible to miss, because otherwise, people will!
Tip: Make sure the CTA is right in their face. People won’t look for what they don’t know exists.
3) Refine Your Messaging
You’ve spent all this time reviewing your inbound strategy and creating an unbelievable offer. It’s cooler than the other side of the pillow. But no one is converting--- "What’s wrong with these people?", you say!
Well, it’s not them, it’s your offer. Unless you explicitly explain the benefit, your email list may be stuck in a constant state of non-growth. I always try to spell out what’s in it for them. For example, if you are giving them an eBook, make sure to tell them exactly what they will learn and possibly an estimate reading time. The more you tell them, the more likely they are to download.
Recap: Spell out your offer thoroughly, in the fewest words possible.
4) Pay Attention to The Numbers
Numbers don't lie. Look at the views and conversion numbers on your forms, CTA’s, and landing pages at least once a week. If you aren’t doing this, you are missing out on email contacts and you don’t even know it.
If you are experiencing low click through rates, it can mean you need to do one of a few things which can include:
Shorten the number of fields on your forms: It’s a balancing act.You want as much information on a contact as possible without asking too much. Look at introductory type offers like e-newsletters to shorten.
A/B Test: For some reason, even the color of a CTA button can matter. Keep testing until you think you have this locked-in.
Look at underperforming pages: No matter your website, there is probably at least one page that is not pulling its weight. FYI this is the page where your potential email contacts go to die.
Recap: The answer to your inability to capture contacts for email is somewhere right on your analytics page.
5) Try a Contest
Contests. They can seem like the bane of your existence, but they are actually amazing for growing your email list. Let’s face it, people love free stuff. The more of it the better.
But, you don’t need to give away the farm on this one! I have found that tickets, small gift certificates, t-shirts, or a personal party can grow your email list by up to 300 contacts over a couple of days.
Don’t become dependent on these contests, as people entering them may be in it to win it (rather than to become an engaged prospect). In many cases, you can gain valuable, potential customers at a very low cost, but just be mindful as you utilize them.
Recap: People love getting free stuff. Give it to them for a price: their contact information.
6) Don't be Afraid of Promotion
If you have awesome content and it's how you plan to capture contacts for your mailing list, then you need to let people know what you've got.
For example, not all of your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google Plus followers are in your email list. Make sure to dangle your awesome downloads or contests right in front of them. Remember, chances are you won’t be able to sell them a product directly on social media, but personalized emails have a much better chance.
I have also found Twitter and LinkedIn Groups are a great way to reach out personally to people you want in your email database.
Recap: You’ve got it, now tell everyone!
There you have it.Now go forth and grow your email list! But, even with all that information, you may need a little something extra to get your conversions going. Our “Beginners Guide to Inbound Marketing” will help with many of the tactics I have discussed in this blog post.
Originally published Jun 24, 2014 3:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016