If you’re a business, big or small, you need to have a running list of email contacts for marketing purposes. This means collecting your current customers’ emails along with potential customers’ email addresses. Having a running list of emails from your customers and prospects provides valuable ways to marketing your target audience and keep them informed.
Whether you are sending an email blast out about the latest updates and news within your company, promoting a new service or product, or notifying customers about an issue or update that could affect their business, it’s important to communicate with your target public via email.
But for many businesses, particularly small businesses, it’s tough to collect emails, especially if you don’t have a strong email marketing game plan. Even if you do, your current email list will shrink by the end of 2016, specifically by about 22.5%. Email addresses change, get deleted, people leave companies for new ones, and people opt-out of your email marketing. It’s just a fact of email marketing, but you need to have a strategy to tackle that shrinking list.
We use a strong email marketing strategy at BIS Designs, Inc. It’s essential to keep our customers informed and to reach out to prospects and qualified leads. Obviously, we keep an active list of all our current customers and that list is not hard to retrieve, but for generating new emails we use a couple different methods. We also have great advice for B2C businesses, as B2B and B2C marketing can differ.
1) Run online contests and giveaways
This is one of the easiest ways to gain emails. If your business is active on social media (which it should be), run a contest or giveaway that people will want to enter and have participants sign up using their email address. Make sure you specify in the contest or giveaway rules that they are agreeing to be opted-in to your company’s email marketing campaigns.
If you’re going to promote on social media, make sure you always create a landing page or form on your website as well. This will direct traffic to your site and make it easy to submit their information.
2) Create valuable, meaningful content
The saying, “Content is king” really rings true here. People sign up or get added to email lists and then get spammed with irrelevant or badly-written content. Provide value to the reader. This in turn can encourage them to share the email with their friends or colleagues- make sure you have social shares buttons and “email to a friend” buttons on all your emails to make it easy for them to share.
3) Make sure you create specific email lists for your groups
Not everyone in your email list will want to receive an email about a specific product or service. Make sure you send specific emails to specific groups who will be most interested in what you have to say— or else you will have opt-outs and unsubscribes.
4) Have a sign-up form on your website
This is a big one. It goes hand-in-hand with # 1. If you don’t have a way to sign up for emails on your website, then you are missing a huge avenue to gain emails. Very likely, your website visitors are interested in your business and products— that’s why they are visiting your website. Those people are qualified leads that you could market to, and they will more than likely want to sign up for emails from your business.
- You can also use incentives for your website visitors that will prompt them to sign-up for emails:Offer a one-time discount or coupon when they shop at your store if they sign-up, or a free white paper download, eBook or guide if you are a B2B business. It doesn’t cost much, but can have a significant effect on your ROI.
5) Consider creating a Sign-Up Popup on your website
You’ve seen them before: They are a popup that takes up a good bit of space and asks the website visitor to sign up for more information on a topic. You can easily exit out and continue on the website, so it’s not forcing anyone to sign up, but it’s giving them an easy avenue to enter their information by taking the option to sign up to them and not the other way around.
Mail Chimp offers this service.
6) Host an Event
This goes beyond just email marketing, as hosting an event is another marketing tactic that can do wonders for your company. Whether it’s a luncheon, seminar, webinar or phone conference Q & A, and all these events need email addresses to register. Plus, it puts your company in a thought-leader position in your community.
Sure, it’s not the most exciting or fun task, but cold calling on a list of qualified leads is a way to introduce yourself over the phone and ask to send them more information via email. One of the best resources to create a call-down list of your local Chamber of Commerce directory for small businesses.
8) Promote your sign-up forms on social media
Make sure you have a clear way for your social media followers to sign up to your email list. On Facebook, tabs (we like Woobox) or the Call to Action button is a great way to take visitors to the sign-up landing page on your website. Make sure you consistently promote sign-ups in your social media posts with a link to the form.
9) Use social media advertising to promote your company and encourage sign ups.
Make sure the link in your advertisement takes the visitor to a sign-up form with the incentive. Either to “learn more,” “download a free ebook or white paper,” or “to get a free coupon or discount.” Give them a reason to sign up.
10) Partner with another company
Co-host a webinar or event or offer that will generate sign ups through your partner’s audience along with yours. Share leads with each other.