Email Marketing Lists: How to Grow Yours (and Why)

Despite what millennials will tell you, no, email isn’t dead. It’s actually trending in the opposite direction.

Just fewer than 2.6 billion email users sent and received 205 billion emails in 2015.

By 2019, these figures are expected to rise to over 2.9 billion users and 246 billion emails respectively. For comparison, Facebook has 1.13 billion daily users, or less than half of email’s current user base.

It’s an install base of such massive scope that ignoring its marketing potential is akin to throwing away money. In fact, the return on investment for $1 spent on email marketing is nearly $50.

Email isn’t going away anytime soon.

It’s all positive information, but it does you no good if you don’t have email addresses in the first place. Growing your email marketing list needs to feature prominently in your marketing strategy.

Here’s how to do it.

Do Not Buy Email Lists

Building an email list won’t come easy. We can’t stress this enough. When the going gets tough, the tough do not buy email lists.

This topic admittedly is a way to grow your list, but it’s so detrimental we needed to derail it before moving on.

Purchased lists can get your IP address banned from reputable email clients, and even contain addresses obtained in illegal ways. Email providers monitor both sent and received email behavior and bounce rates to block spamming IPs.

In the chance your email does get through to a customer, think of it from their perspective. Would you you want unsolicited emails from a random company? It’s borderline invasion of privacy and will hurt your reputation.

You Have to Walk Before You Can Run

Landing pages and on site sign ups are the building blocks to a strong email list. Focused, useful, attractive, and unobtrusive pages are most likely to get customers forking over their emails.

Start by identifying a direction for each landing page.

For example, let’s say a landing page is going to be the end result of an article, whose call to action is subscribing to your email newsletter. Anything on that landing page should lead to newsletter subscriptions, and only newsletter subscriptions.

The same holds true for forms located on non-landing pages. We’re trying to build email conversions, not send people off to your social media. If you’d like to advertise social media pages, do so in blog posts or even through email.

We need to defeat distractions if we want conversions.

In her book, The Art of Choosing, leading expert on human choice, Sheena Iyengar, found that people presented with too many investment options on their 401K’s opted not to invest at all.

“Participation rates quickly fell from a high of 75 percent for the smallest plans, which had four funds..reaching a low just above 60 percent for plans with 59 funds,” Iyengar wrote.

Don’t let the customer choose, instead choose for them.

Strong Email Campaigns Lead to More Emails

Crap rolls down hill, when it rains it pours; you’ve heard them all. Email marketing works in a similar fashion, except in this case it’s your success that snowballs.

Once you see a semi-regular amount of new email leads, it’s time for a slight shift in marketing.

A study of 400,000 sent emails revealed that emails in the 99th percentile for message forwards were 13 times more likely to include a “share button” as their call to action. Further, it found news and helpful content was the second most common topic of viral emails.

When people forward an email to a friend it becomes trusted. Your company gains a de facto positive review and boost of trust throughout that person’s entire email network.

Be sure to also include a link to a landing page or other lead generation form in any email you send out. This will be the gateway for potential customers to enter their email and grow your list.

We recommend a free piece of sample content in emails tailored for forwarding. Your subscriber is likely to see it as useful and send it to friends, while their friends will value it because it comes from a trusted source. Also add an link for potential leads to provide their email in exchange for more content.

The best part about email forwarding to build your list? You don’t even have to try that hard. Ninety-five percent of the emails examined generated some level of forwarding.

Cater to Your Audience

Now that you have a strong grasp on how to rake in those email addresses, let’s take a look at how to further increase your return.

We already have emails turning into email addresses. That’s great, but chances are you’re still not operating at your full potential.

Our next goal is to target what your audience wants to see; and the way to find that out is simple. Just ask them.

Long forms on your website can help decipher which of your content and products interest people. They start with the basics; name, email, age, etc., but ask specific question related to your business. A realtor may ask for income information, while a clothing manufacturer may want location data.

Here we rely on a theory called inertia, or the belief that once someone starts down a path they are not likely to stop. If a lead begins filling out a long form, chances are they’ll continue until it’s over.

We can then apply the gathered data to determine what customers would like to see from your website. People may respond better to coupon give-a-ways than fashion tips, and so you could assume a monthly coupon newsletter would bring in email addresses.

The data is also important for generating leads through your email campaigns.

Hubspot saw their email clickthrough rates increase by 16 percent when they started personalizing emails based on demographic information.

With this guide you now have a plan of how to grow your email marketing list. We’ve given you the basics, and now it’s up to you what becomes of our advice. Start off small, or dive into demographic data, the choice is yours.

If you’d like to get our take on any other marketing ideas, or are looking for a quality, professional service to handle your online SEO and brand, get in touch with me. I spend time studying online marketing so you don’t have to.

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