Email marketing works best when you have a dedicated list of recipients who gain value from the content you share.
It’s no good having a massive list if those contacts are never going to bother opening your campaigns. So instead, focus on getting sign-ups to your email list from people who are genuinely interested. Those are the recipients who are most likely to engage and ultimately work with you.
Building your email list from scratch isn’t an easy task, but there are tried-and-tested ways to create a good one. We’re going to show you how in five steps.
Step 1: Make a compelling offer
Before anybody signs up to your email list, it’s important to tell them what content you intend to share. As an expert in your industry, you may be sending out news and views, thought leadership pieces, instructional guides or updates about events. If you are not sure what to write, read our blog ‘Help! What content should I create for my email marketing campaigns?’ for inspiration.
Once you’ve decided what kind of valuable content you intend to share, make it clear whenever you ask people to sign up to your list. Whether that’s a pop-up banner, a landing page or a call to action at the end of a blog post, explain exactly what they’re signing up for. If a reader enjoys a blog you’ve shared on LinkedIn, they may well be compelled to sign up to your email list to read more. Give them the opportunity by clarifying your compelling offer and what they can expect.
Step 2: Position your sign-up forms
Deciding how to position your sign-up forms is tricky. You want them to be prominent and eye-catching, but not irritating and off-putting. Some businesses use pop-up forms on their websites, which may increase the quantity of sign-ups, but these do run the risk of annoying visitors. It’s vital not to give the impression that your email marketing will be spammy. So, try to strike a balance about when using them.
That said, you want to provide plenty of opportunities to sign up to your email list across your website and social media platforms. Be logical about where you place your sign-up form, like beside each blog post. You can also have a floating bar on each page so as the visitor scrolls through, it remains visible for them to sign up. You can also place the sign-up form in either the header or footer of your website pages too.
Step 3: Keep it simple
You don’t need a lot of data from the people signing up for your email list, so don’t ask for it. Whatever email marketing platform you use, whether it’s one of the big-name companies or a Mailchimp alternative like Smart Messenger, you only need the email address itself to get started. You may be keen to personalise each email, so you are addressing the recipient by name, so you can ask for a name and email address if you want. However, it’s good to remember that the less you ask from people, the more likely they are to sign-up.
Remember that you are legally obliged to process data in line with the rules of GDPR. So, you must be clear on every sign-up, whether that’s an online form or if you are collecting data at events or networking, precisely what you are using people’s data for. In doing this, you give people signing up the chance to be clear on what to expect and to judge whether your campaigns will be of legitimate interest to them.
Step 4: Develop multiple ways to get sign-ups
It’s not enough to simply host a form on your website and expect to get more sign-ups to your email list. You need to be multi-faceted in your approach. Consider options like hosting webinars or events where, when people sign up to attend, they also sign up to your email list. By making sure that the event/webinar/session aligns with the content you share, you’ll know the people joining your list are genuinely interested.
Use your social media to its full advantage too. Put links to your sign-up form in the bios of all your social accounts and regularly put the link at the bottom of your longer posts. This works well when you are posting blogs on social media, so the reader can get on the list to directly receive more content like the piece they’ve just enjoyed.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask the people on your email list to share your emails with their network. Not only does this help you to reach more people, but a forwarded email comes with social proof because it’s been recommended by somebody independent of your organisation.
Step 5: Cultivate your sender reputation
Having a good sender reputation is a bit like having a good credit score, it’s something you need if you want to succeed. These days, email service providers act as gatekeepers of their customers’ inboxes, and they judge marketing emails on sender reputation before they allow them to pass.
If people routinely unsubscribe, report or send your email to the spam box, your sender reputation will plummet. That’s why it’s vital to share content that is valuable and genuinely useful to your email list. Instead of being dumped in the spam box, a good sender reputation helps improve your chances of making the recipients inbox and being read.
Your history plays a massive part in determining whether you make it through to inbox nirvana. Email service providers will check whether you’ve had good open rates, low spam complaints and minimal bounce rates. Make sure your campaign history and sender reputation are something to be proud of.
We hope this helps you to get started on building a great email list and please do sign up to our email list for more content like this and information about Smart Messenger.
If you’d like to learn more about email marketing from our Smart Messenger experts, please get in touch.
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