Yes, e-mail is still a cost-efficient and high-value way to deliver your marketing messages to potential and current clients.
But only if you have a killer e-mail list.
Did you know that your e-mail list decays roughly 22.5 percent every year? This happens because your current contacts change their e-mail addresses (especially if they are work-related and they change jobs), they move to a different e-mail provider for their personal addresses or they simply opt-out of your list. Sorry, but that happens, too, and you need to acknowledge it.
Thus, even if you feel like your list is now as good as it gets, you still have to work on improving it constantly. Having a killer e-mail list is not something you can achieve overnight. But it is something that is worth working on incessantly.
Here’s how to start:
1. Never buy e-mail lists
Much like bought Instagram followers, bought e-mail lists will get you nowhere. Except for spam lists. You’re bound to get on some of those if you send unsolicited messages to unsuspecting recipients.
No matter how “targeted” the vendor claims the e-mail list is, you should know that the good e-mail addresses are never for sale. Even if 1,000 addresses can be acquired with a single click and a few bucks they won’t generate any revenue.
You can read more about why it’s a bad idea to buy e-mail lists in this HubSpot article.
But, ethical considerations aside, think about this: who is more likely to click on an article you e-mail them or even buy a product from you – someone who consciously wanted to be “in a relationship” with you or someone you are literally spamming?
What would you do?
2. Create great content
If you write incredibly good marketing e-mails, people have no reason to opt out of your list. Better yet, they will click on your links and even forward your e-mails to their friends or share them (or part of them) on social media.
As always, great content is the driver of any sustainable client engagement rate. Your contacts receive hundreds of e-mails every day. You need to be able to cut through the noise and you need excellent content for that.
To keep your contacts in your list happy:
• Create catchy e-mail titles – No one will open your e-mail if the subject line doesn’t speak to them. If you’re promoting a discount or a special offer, mention it from the get-go.
• Forget “we” or “I” and use “you” – “You can’t afford to miss this opportunity,” “Check out our latest tips to help you sell more.” You got the idea — every word in your e-mail needs to be centered on the readers and how they benefit from your newsletters.
• Don’t spam – Never, ever send more than two e-mails per week. People unsubscribe from news outlets’ lists that send them e-mails every day; what do you think will happen to your marketing newsletters? Try to stick to one e-mail per week, even less if you don’t have anything new or worth reading to share.
• Don’t be over-promotional – Of course you have to promote your products, services and special offers. But be sure to alternate them with informational/entertaining e-mails, too.
3. Ask people to share your e-mails
We sometimes forget the importance and the leverage a simple CTA can have. Naturally, you want people to forward your e-mail or share some of its content on social media.
But have you bothered to ask?
I know what you’re going to say: “I added social shares icons. Isn’t that enough?” No, but it’s a good start – always have social share icons in your e-mails.
Still, people are so accustomed to seeing the icons of various social networks that it can simply escape their mind that they could share your content. That’s where your CTA comes into play. It reminds people that “sharing is caring.” The icons are right there, so you’ve just made it easy for them to share your content.
This is extremely important because people are more likely to heed a recommendation from a friend or peer. Plus, this is a great way for you to reach the exact kind of people you want in your database: the ones who are extremely similar to your existing clients or contacts.
4. Leverage the power of social media
People who follow your brand on social media are the ones most likely to want more content from you. Here are a few things you can do to get more e-mail addresses through social media:
• Post a lead-generation offer on Twitter. Promote your eBook or white paper that requires the user to enter an e-mail address for download.
• Add a sign-up call-to-action button on your Facebook page.
• Promote an offer that requires e-mail signup on Facebook.
• Make sure to add social share buttons to all your landing pages – you want to give people who have already downloaded your eBook or white paper the opportunity to share it with their friends.
• Post offers on your LinkedIn page and in relevant LinkedIn groups.
5. Create a tutorial, course or host a webinar
There’s nothing more likely to convince people to give you their e-mail address than the promise of free education. Those who subscribe to your online course or webinar are specialized leads – the best kind. You know for a fact they are already interested in what you have to say; all you have to do is guide them in their buyers’ journey.
Better yet, people are very likely to boast on social media about attending your course or webinar. This means more qualified leads for you.
6. Create a segmentation of your database
The more personalized the content, the better. And I’m not just talking about adding the right first name in the opening line of your e-mail.
Divide your database according to the interests of subscribers, the channels you collected their e-mails through, their position in the buyers’ journey and so on.
You want to be able to send them the right piece of content at the right time. This is how you keep them interested and buying your products.
Building a killer e-mail list is all about trust
That’s right; your subscribers have to trust that you don’t share their address with anyone else and that you will not abuse their trust.
To that end, you need to be sure your security is top-notch. Even more, you need to make sure that you only send relevant content. It’s just like in blogging: if you don’t have anything interesting to say, it’s better to shut up.