We recently helped brainstorm 50 actions you can take to build up a viable list of email addresses for marketing purposes. Here’s another installment with 42 more tips, including pointers that focus on creating relevant and appealing content that will attract and retain subscribers to your email campaigns.
- Instead of implementing one-off ideas, develop an overall campaign strategy and timeline for accomplishing your goals.
- Include room in your plan to experiment with new methods to find out what’s effective. If a certain approach is successful, maximize it (be aware that you are never done testing).
- Let subscribers know from the get-go what kind of content to expect and how often you’ll be emailing them. Consider including frequency in the opt-in call-to-action so subscribers know it is a “weekly newsletter” or “daily update”.
- Understand not everyone is familiar with email newsletters; sometimes you must explain the value in simple terms to your audience.
- Don’t be surprised if methods you borrow from others don’t work for you; many factors may be involved across industries and business types.
- Stage sweepstakes drawings for new subscribers, perhaps requiring they also follow or post about you on social media to enter.
- Experiment with sidebars, headers, footers or pop-up boxes as opt-in requests. Options include floating forms that move with the user as they scroll down, slide-ins that move over about halfway down a page, or “sticky” forms that follow the user the whole time they scroll.
- Consider a heat map test of your site using an online tool. The graphic displays show which areas of your site are most frequently scanned by visitors so you can strategize where to place call-to-action buttons.
- Experiment with the timing of pop-ups. Some experts recommend waiting until a visitor has been on your page at least 60 seconds.
- Make sign-ups easy by limiting the form to just one call-to-action: the email address itself.
- Pay affiliates commission for finding interested subscribers (know your cost per lead to make that work).
- Appeal to local customers by placing paid opt-in invitations in local publications and on websites they’re likely to frequent.
- Take advantage of free publicity opportunities in local newspapers by pitching feature stories, sending press releases and/or writing letters to the editor that end with opt-in invitations.
- Find complementary businesses with which you don’t compete, and cross-promote one another’s email lists.
- Start a program in which customers can earn free or discounted products for referring friends.
- Create or find a compelling image to post on Instagram along with an opt-in invitation.
- Implement content upgrades or link magnets on your website that upgrade an information offer if the user provides email.
- Fine-tune your controls so they vary the opt-in requests shown to the same customer in a 30-day span.
- Offer opt-in to anyone who has commented on your blog or social media. Be sure to have your opt-in on the homepage of all your social media channels.
- Take advantage of the bandwagon effect to promote impressive aspects of your business or newsletter in your opt-in offer. Options include subscriber counts, testimonials, endorsements, awards, certifications, social media follower numbers and/or media coverage.
- Place an opt-in option on your website’s 404 page.
- Maximize online sales receipts to offer a credit to those who refer subscribers to your list.
- Have a real person respond by name to new subscribers, offering to answer questions.
- Be gracious and quick with those who ask to unsubscribe. Include an option before the unsubscribe confirmation to decrease the frequency of emails or limit the content shared in an effort to keep them subscribed.
Finally, adding impressive numbers to your list is pointless if customers unsubscribe because your content doesn’t seem valuable enough. Here are 18 more tips for making sure that doesn’t happen:
- Strive to offer different content from competitors so your brand stands out.
- Build a calendar and strategy for offering discounts. Studies show a majority of users sign up to receive offers and sales.
- Present content in a likable and friendly way so customers think of your brand the same way.
Keep the tone conversational and avoid sounding like a telemarketing script.
- Offer white papers or free downloads that offer helpful insight to your target market.
- Give your newsletter a clever name instead of just “the newsletter.”
- Keep the subject line of your emails as snappy and to the point as a tweet.
- Make the design elements of your newsletter as appealing as your copy. Color, font and copy placement are important psychologically.
- Add a WordPress plug-in that addresses visitors differently based on how they were referred and whether they’re new.
- Avoid overly technical industry jargon that might scare away the uninitiated.
- Strive for wording that’s emotional or sensory.
- Include content from other sites and sources to establish yourself as a provider of unbiased info and build rapport. Don’t hesitate to refer subscribers to others.
- Study your current followers for insight into how to gain new ones. Track what they’re clicking on and customize opt-in invitations accordingly.
- Provide subscribers useful video tutorials.
- Offer subscribers educational courses sent to them in installments.
- Create appealing desktop wallpapers or customizable business card templates for subscribers.
- Use graphics and cultural references that will appeal to your target audience.
- Study popular click-bait sites like Buzzfeed that lure you in with fun, short and punchy subject lines and preview text. How might you incorporate some of these techniques into your own campaign?
- In general, do subscribers a favor by helping them solve a problem, providing them inspiration, giving them direction toward a goal and/or quickly expanding their knowledge,
Be patient. Building a strong list of interested customers is a complex and timely process, but a viable email campaign can be an invaluable addition to your marketing arsenal.
“Don’t overlook the value that email offers for strengthening your brand’s relationship with customers and prospects,” advises Jodi Harris on Contentmarketinginstitute.com. “Email may no longer be a shiny new tactic on the content marketing scene, but with the right strategy and a little upkeep, it can still pack a pretty powerful punch.”
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