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If there is one factor that single-handedly dictates the success of any email marketing campaign, it is the quality of your email lists. Any veteran marketer would testify to this in the blink of an eye.
And there are strong reasons why.
According to Hubspot, 73% of millennials prefer emails as the primary form of communication from businesses. Moreover, 80% of professionals consider email marketing to boost their customer retention.
So let’s take a deep dive into the trade and learn everything about building an email list from scratch.
You may have found yourself subscribing to Spotify’s newsletters to uncover hidden playlist gems. Or sign up for your favourite blogger to be on top of all updates. When you do so, you contribute to the email lists of such marketers (or platforms).
In textbook terms, email list building translates to the act of collecting email addresses from website visitors to help grow the subscriber base. The idea is to provide the business with a reliable marketing list of prospects who can be turned into customers with the right touchpoints. Hence, the more subscribers you have, the stronger your email list.
Why do marketers continue to trust emails even after the advent of multiple new-age marketing platforms? It all boils down to conversion rate. Once you have an email list, it is easier to cross-sell and upsell different products or services. Emails also act as a great customer retention strategy by constantly being in touch with past customers and bringing them to your platform.
Even though social media platforms have clocked tremendous proliferation, they will always be borrowed property at the end of the day. Email lists give marketers the opportunity to build their own audiences and create a reliable marketing asset that they themselves own. Collecting email addresses helps them take the first critical step to know about their readers and set the ball rolling for future customer acquisitions.
On top of this, the following email marketing statistics only reaffirm the faith in the channel:
Email marketing as a channel is often looked at as a money-minting machine that runs on automation. This cannot be farther from the truth. Email marketing, ideally, is a channel to create and nurture meaningful relationships with target audiences. It is an opportunity for every business to convey the value of their products/services to prospective customers in a way that leads to the path of maximum conversions.
With that in mind, what would be the characteristics of an ideal email list? Here are some ideas:
If you are planning to go head-first into building a memorable email marketing campaign, there are a few key ingredients that you would need:
Even if you are running a dedicated or segmented campaign (such as the one during holiday seasons), having a website or a blog is a must. It acts as a foundational element for your digital presence, helping interested prospects learn more about your business (or offering). Not only does this increase their trust in your product or service, but it also gives them a baseline to come back to in the future.
For instance, consider the times that you were checking out a product on Amazon. Even if you don’t necessarily bookmark the product page, you can always open the Amazon website and quickly look it up with a simple search query. Hence, having a website would boost customer engagement and retention after they have signed up to your email list. Similarly, it also increases the chances of users signing up to your email list.
One of the least intrusive ways to ask users for their contact details, opt-in forms in the form of pop-ups can wreak havoc with the right CTAs.
They take care of two major hiccups in email list building – capturing prospect data along with the permission to send them emails.
Key elements to focus on here include:
A top-notch email marketing service would help you significantly increase the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Why? The right email marketing partner would help you:
If you want people to subscribe to your blog or newsletter, you need to give something in return. The idea here is NOT to bribe them, but instead push their intent to the limit and ensure that any interest is not lost out to indecision. Some ways in which this can be done is via:
In order to fertilize customer loyalty, your email marketing strategy needs to be spot on. Your prospects should have a valid reason to subscribe to your email lists, whether it is to receive special offers or access exclusive content.
Strategy implementation in this regard can be particularly difficult if you are starting from scratch.
So let’s talk about how to create an email list in ways in which you can cultivate better long-term customer relationships and grow your email lists from the ground up:
After analyzing more than 330,000 CTAs, Hubspot found that personalized CTAs convert 202% better than basic CTAs.
This is no less than a revelation.
Although marketers are well-versed in personalization, CTAs have long been the subject of monotony. This needs to change if you are serious about your email building efforts.
There are two alternative CTA types that you can go for here:
Before you implement this, keep in mind that successful CTA personalization would also call for relevant hooks. For instance, if you have a blog titled “Best Digital Marketing Strategies for 2021” and it is attracting a lot of traffic, a personalized CTA here can be ‘Download a free digital marketing toolkit’.
The depth of your offerings can differ based on your budget. But you get the gist – matching the offering of the CTA to the relevance of the landing page.
Whenever you stumble upon the need to use simple Yes and No CTAs, think out of the box and give your rejection CTA (the ‘No’ CTA) a personality. For instance, you can tap into sarcasm and gather the attention of visitors or invoke the feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out).
Consider the case of KlientBoost. They have used a pop-up opt-in form on their website with a funny, yet thought-invoking Rejection CTA. It would actually make any reader stop and ponder if their marketing is, indeed, iron-strong. This might make them reconsider their initial decision and actually subscribe to the blog.
But beyond everything, such CTAs remind the reader of the humane nature of the content, making it feel less robotic and more conversational.
The first step to making every email list is to tap into your existing network, whether personal or business. You might have a following on social media, an existing list of customers, or few relevant groups that you are a part of.
Start with what you have, wherever you are.
The idea here is to get as many eyeballs on your offering and boost your sign-ups. It might sound obvious but when it comes to implementation, you’d be surprised how few marketers actually follow through.
Leveraging your existing audience makes sense since they already ‘like’ or follow/engage with your business. The intent to know more is there. They might just need a gentle push to convert them into subscribers and voila! Your email list can take off in no time.
Some ways to do this would be to:
The number of landing pages has a direct impact on lead generation.
As evident from the graph, there is a significant increase of 55% in the captured leads when landing pages increase from 10 to 15. And in the case of B2B companies, it is even more beneficial if they hit the hallmark of 40 landing pages.
But why does such a correlation exist?
The reasons are simple if we think about them. More landing pages translate to more conversion opportunities, SEO boost, better targeting opportunities and variety of content, increase in marketing collateral to share with prospects, and so on.
What does this mean for list building? More conversions, of course! Let’s say that you increase the number of landing pages on your website by creating highly relevant pages for every marketing channel or buyer persona, this would significantly increase the chances of visitors signing up for your email lists.
Why? Simply because the content on the page would be more targeted and personalized for the readers.
And not just any strategy, one that is actionable to the T. Especially one that helps you create viral content. If your content is more shareable, it would put your signup forms in front of more people, leading to more email signups and increasing your email list.
A long term content strategy takes all guesswork out of the picture and puts you in the driving seat.
Apart from shareability, it also helps you rank better on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs), giving your brand a recognizable personality. Here’s how you can create a content strategy befitting your objective:
We have already talked about the importance of offering something lucrative and valuable to subscribers in return for their data.
But it pays (literally) to create multiple giveaways as well.
Why? Simply because it gives your website/blog visitors to choose from the available options. This can not only boost your conversion rates but leave your subscribers more satisfied.
For example, consider how SocialTriggers provides three options to every website visitor to choose from. This can only boost the offered value proposition.
You can also take advantage of their choices by creating a customized email engagement strategy for every category.
No matter the amount of traffic you have or the quality of your landing pages, every website has to go through the ordeal of bounce rates.
There would always be visitors who miss out on your messaging or are impatiently fleeting away. One way to tie up such loose ends is to leverage exit-intent popups or forms.
Such forms pop up right before a visitor is about to click the ‘X’ or ‘Return’ button, working as a last-ditch effort to capture their emails. For instance, consider the following pop-up when we tried to exit one of the blogs of Moosend.
By popping up at the right moment, such forms capture the attention of visitors and can bring back a considerable number of subscribers who almost left the page.
You might have often noticed a floating bar line at the top (or bottom) of landing pages. It typically consists of a short description along with a CTA.
If used well, it can easily become a powerful email grabbing tool by redirecting visitors to a landing page that is tailor-made for the purpose.
In fact, you can even marry a hello bar with a form and come up with your own superhero version of a conversion machine. Below is a screenshot of how Neil Patel has implemented a great hello bar on his blog page. You can create a similar version that can directly capture the email address of every visitor that lands on your website.
Hello bars work because:
It is no secret that social media promotion is one of the quickest ways to gather more eyeballs in any marketing campaign. But where do you begin while building an email list?
Here are some actionable tips:
This works like a charm, especially if you are in the B2C industry. By turning your offering into a fun quiz, you can not only entice visitors into checking your product but also capture more email addresses.
The same is the case with Free Trials. If you have a software or SaaS product, consider offering a free trial in exchange for email addresses. This would also help users to better understand how your product works before committing to it.
16Personalities takes this approach to another level altogether by creating a fun test (quiz) that works as a free trial of their product.
They offer a ‘free’ personality test with a limited personality report at the end. In case the test takers are convinced, they would have to pay in order to get a detailed personality report. This is strategy execution at its best because the free quiz itself works both as a strong email list building hook and as a precursor to new sales!
No email list building effort can ever be pulled off without the right email marketing tools. Here are some of the top ones that will turn your website into a powerhouse of email captures:
A handy tool to help you create professional pop-ups that capture the email addresses of website visitors. Pop-ups can be set up to appear on the basis of the number of clicks, preset timer, or specific user behaviour such as a drop-off.
It also features a drag-and-drop functionality so that you can be up and running within minutes!
Free Version: Available
Pro Version: $39 per month
As the name suggests, the tool helps you create header bars or hello bars for landing and web pages to capture more email addresses. They claim that all this and more helps convert up to 83% more visitors into leads, subscribers, or customers, reduced cart abandonment by up to 63%, results in a 74% increase in email sign-ups, and more.
Free Version: Available
Pro Version: Starts from $29 per month
One of the best available email list building plugins for WordPress, Optin Forms empowers users to create attention-grabbing forms with great designs without the need to code. Forms can simply be added via shortcodes to the location/page of your choice.
One of its best features is the ability to add expertly designed subscribe boxes to the sidebar of your website.
Free Version: Available
A live chat, email marketing, and analytics plugin, Hubspot helps turn more visitors into leads, especially if you already have existing forms on your website. It adds extra functionality to your forms by keeping a track of the behaviours of all visitors. You can turn visitors into leads, nurture them for consistent growth, and measure the progress.
Free Version: Available
A unique WordPress tool that redirects website visitors to the landing page of your choice whenever they leave a comment. The idea is to thank visitors for commenting and subtly ask them to subscribe to your newsletter or blog.
Free version: Available
No marketing tool can ever come close to the returns of emails (up to 4200% return). Regardless of the tool or strategy that you go ahead with, remember that in order to reap the maximum benefits, you need to keep your subscription opportunities simple and easy to follow.
And always remember the thumb rule – most email list building problems can be solved with the right incentive!