Doctor Digital, you’re always talking about social media and messaging. Does anyone use email anymore, except me?
Doctor Digital Says
For some business owners, email marketing may seem archaic. With the prevalence of social media, and a hundred other forms of messaging, the traditional email format feels relatively old. However, it still remains one of the most powerful and thoroughly understood digital forms of communication. That’s why just about every social media platform requires you to have an email. For business owners large and small, email lists can yield dramatic rewards and still punch high above weight for ROI. For every $1 (US) spent on email marketing $44 is made in return, according to a 2018 study by CampaignMonitor.
Here’s why email marketing has distinct advantages over other channels. Firstly, it’s direct into their inbox, in front of their eyeballs - much different than finding a piece of content in a newsfeed, even if it’s personalized or gamified by that sneaky Google algorithm. Secondly, email is necessary. You can go for a few days without checking social media or video chatting with your friends and family, but most people check their email several times a day, and for business email, that’s a definite check. Thirdly, it’s highly customizable. You can create an email campaign on any subject, customize content, add incentives and calls to action, and best of all – it’s incredibly inexpensive given the ROI.
Hold up now, before you start emailing people randomly. Like all things prescribed by Doctor Digital, like writing blogs in the third person, you need to have a strategy. Good email campaigns start with great email lists, so building a targeted email list should be your number one priority. Even great email campaigns, with brilliant design, engaging copy, and unique value propositions will fail if no one is receiving those perfectly crafted emails. You should have three main priorities for building a quality list. In order, these are:
- Quality. You want real information from real people who check their email frequently.
- Relevance. These people should be genuinely interested in your brand and industry.
- Volume. If the first two priorities are squared away, you can start focusing on quantity.
Before you get all Fast and Furious Vol 1 - 100 about building your list, revisit the first two dot points. And before you ask. Just NO. Buying email lists is a waste of money. Most of the subscribers will have old or fake email addresses, and the few who don’t probably aren’t interested in your services. Add in the possibility of getting flagged as a spammer, you get the picture. A good list is built organically because people are interested in your content and you have something of value to them to say. Let’s build a list – here are you key materials
- Start Early
This isn’t a formal step, but it’s a practical piece of advice that you’ll need if you want to be an effective email list builder. With best practices and a visionary strategy in place, your email list should compound in growth as you spend more time developing it. Accordingly, the sooner you start, the sooner this compounding can begin, and the faster you’ll be able to build the killer list that you want.
- Family, friends and fools.
The start of your list should be everyone you currently have on file. You may already have email lists from previous campaigns, but if you don’t, you’ll have to do some digging. Import all of your existing customers contact that you have in your CRM system. This should give you a decent working start for your email list. Use tools like CampaignMonitor or MailChimp to get your lists in one place and attached to a template marketing service.
- If you blog about it, they will come.
The best way to build a list of email subscribers is to offer compelling content on your website. This brings people into your site, incentivizes subscription as well as an incentive to subscribe (to receive future content updates and/or exclusive content or deals). Content is an investment in time, but also a playground for brand values and building credibility, and can be double and triple dipped across your social channels for content. Make sure where you post your content you have easy access to your email subscription tools. A name and email address should be all that you need to get started with the minimum barrier to participation.
- Incentivise it.
Some folks really hate giving over their email addresses. Let’s call them e-troverts. Bring them out of their shells by offering something valuable in exchange for a signup. Maybe it’s a free eBook download or a whitepaper, a free trial or sample or discount in exchange for their email information. What’s important is that you recognize that personal information is a currency exchange. You have to offer something of equal value if you want people to go through with it.
- Share market
Social sharing is powerful and you want people to click till it hurts. Adding a share feature in the body of your email content can increase click-through rates by 158 percent or more. Sharing isn’t just about getting more email subscribers to engage with your content, it’s also about getting more subscribers. Sharing can also be incentivized effectively with discounts to those who are sharing contents and so on till a snowball effect happens.
Creating an awesome email list is brilliant grassroots marketing with your brand at the centre of the user experience. Sooner you start, sooner your list grows and the conversions can begin. Start building your email list today, and if you want to dive deeper, check out the Digital Ready Factsheet on creating awesome newsletters and email campaigns.