As you’re well aware, email marketing is a critically important tool for generating leads online. Whether you sell software, physical products, or anything in between, a powerful email marketing list can have a sizeable impact on your bottom line. And while the content certainly matters, the immediate focus should be on growing your subscription list.
Email marketing: size matters
There are many different areas of marketing – and life in general – where people will tell you that quantity doesn’t matter. However, your email marketing list is not one of them. The size of your list is extremely relevant, as it allows you to reach additional people and extract more value.
“Having an email list means you have permission to market your services to your prospects or let them know about special deals, anytime you want,” says Waseem Abbas of Envira Gallery. “Plus, you can send them valuable information (such as blog posts) to strengthen your relationship with them. The more you provide value to your email list, the more they will spread the word about you.”
The issue is that most marketers don’t have big lists. They may make a big push in the beginning stages, but then grow complacent and fail to instigate any real growth for months or years at a time. Unfortunately, this lack of growth is often accompanied by a heavy investment of time and money into the email strategy itself. With no growth and a small audience, this is sadly a waste of resources.
Try these 4 growth hacks
The only way to effectively maximize the value of your email marketing list is to scale your subscriber list. Depending on your target audience and the existing strategies you have in place, there are a number of different techniques you can use.
1. Perfect the use of opt-in forms
There are plenty of strategies for collecting subscribers, but the opt-in form is one of the best. That’s why it’s so surprising that many websites downplay their opt-in forms or make them difficult to access. If you want to increase signups, opt-in forms need to be perfectly integrated into your web pages.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Make them impossible to miss. Very rarely will someone go out of their way to locate an opt-in form. In just about every instance, signups occur when an opt-in is strategically placed in front of the user. Keeping this in mind, make your opt-in forms visible by using overlay popups and other timely techniques.
- Don’t ask for much. The single biggest mistake you can make is asking users for too much information. Do you really need their phone number, physical mailing address, and zip code? Probably not. Keep things simple by asking for their name and email address. A two-field opt-in form will yield much better results.
- Tell them why. Users need to know why they should opt in. Saying something like “Sign Up to Receive Weekly Emails” isn’t every enticing. On the other hand, “Get $200 in Coupons Each Week” gives the subscriber a reason to believe…and sign up.
Perfecting the use of your site’s opt-in forms is the first order of business. Once this is in place, everything else will follow.
2. Offer something of value in return
Most people will need to be persuaded into subscribing. If you study the most successful marketers with the largest email lists, you’ll notice that they’ve perfected the art of bribery. Specifically, they offer something of value in return.
Here are a few popular strategies:
- Free email course. One of the best options is to offer subscribers a free email course that relates to your expertise or specialty. For example, if you’re a marketing company, you could offer an eight-week email course in developing a content marketing strategy. This not only attracts users, but also keeps them engaged over a longer period of time.
- Exclusive content. People like to consume content that’s deemed to be exclusive. It makes them feel like they’re getting information that others don’t have access to. Exclusive content can come in many different forms, which makes it a versatile bribe.
- eBooks and toolkits. Finally, subscribers love eBooks and toolkits because they’re perceived as being resourceful. The good news is that these resources can be created very cost effectively and may be used in other ways down the road.
By offering something of value in return, you don’t seem so selfish. You’re suddenly justified in asking for subscriptions, and don’t have to worry about coming across as greedy and self-centered.
3. Leverage existing subscribers
Never underestimate the power of your existing subscriber list. Your current subscribers are often catalysts for growth. Every now and then, send out a well-timed “forward to a friend” email. Assuming you’re producing a quality email with highly engaged readers, you shouldn’t have any trouble adding some new subscribers. You certainly won’t see a 100 percent growth rate, but a few dozen sign ups aren’t out of the question.
4. Try Twitter ads
While most marketers don’t have big enough budgets to invest in paid subscriber strategies, some have a little bit of flexibility. If you fall into this category, then you need to get creative with your approach.
“Social media channels are great for creating brand awareness, says Rita Braga Martins, an ecommerce blogger for Ometria. “And paid social ads can boost your brand if you have specific goals, like getting more newsletter signups.” Specifically, you may want to consider sponsoring Twitter cards.
Make growth a priority
The bottom line is that growth needs to be a priority. You can invest hours of time and thousands of dollars into creating a high quality email that’s perfect for your target market, but it won’t provide any return on investment if there isn’t a large, captive audience waiting to consume it.
If you’ve found it challenging to scale your email list in the past, then you’re probably using the wrong tactics. Try leveraging these four growth hacks and see what a difference they can make.
If you want a whole set of tips to generate leads with content marketing such as ways to repurpose your content into other forms, insights on which format you should focus on, techniques to measure the results and other data points, download the eBook “How to generate leads through Content Marketing“.
Image by Kurt Bauschardt.