You would never just go up to someone and ask for $50. But asking for someone’s email address is almost the same thing, which is why so many people are reticent about sharing their email addresses. Even worse, much of the email we all get is a huge waste of time. No wonder so many people have “throwaway” email addresses that they never check. So why would you want to be an email marketer?
First and foremost, having someone give you a legitimate email address is a powerful gift. They are volunteering to listen to your message at least once. This means that they’re promising some of their valuable time to you. So you need to deliver on rewarding them for their time investment. The reward to you can be a powerful marketing tool.
But, often times, they are rewarded with spammy offers, ugly designs and a total waste of their time. Furthermore, if they’re using their smart phone to get their emails they're also wasting their data. Now you know why people hate to give their email addresses out.
But this doesn’t have to be. If you’re promising to deliver something of value to these individuals and follow up with thoughtful, concise and beautiful emails you will gain someone’s trust. And having someone’s trust is very likely to turn into someone’s business.
Now, you’re not just asking them for their $50, you’re delivering so much more.
So how do you generate a great email list? Last week I shared seven rules for email marketing. Here are some ways you can earn a great email list.
One of the great ways to grow your list is to have contests. Asking for email addresses in exchange for a legitimate chance to win something of value is a good thing. But if your email list is about hammers and you're holding the contest at the farmer's market, chances are a lot of people are going to opt out of your mailings. Make sure your contest appeals to the people who should be on your mailing list.
For example, at Oktoberfest-Lakport we had a pretzel guessing game contest where people filled out their email addresses at this event. By being there we have some assurance that they're interested in the event.
While email is specifically about Oktoberfest-Lakeport we will talk about recipes, other beer festivals, Oktoberfest traditions and more. This will be a mailing we send quarterly just to keep the list updated until the month before, at which point we'll step-up the list to a weekly mailing to generate interest in the festival. The email is always relevant to the contestants we expect to participate.
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If you're sending to a specific interest group, such as our example hammer list, the recipients likely know someone else with a similar interest. An incentive to recommend someone else to your list is a way of growing your list with qualified recipients.
While social media can be an effective tool for marketing your product or service, it's important to remember that you're on someone else’s platform and those who own the platform can change the rules at any time. This is another reason to have a great mailing list - it's a resource you own.
But you can use integrations with social media to grow your list. Those who are interested in your business Page on Facebook, for example, clearly have an interest in your business. By inviting your Page fans to sign-up for your emails with integrations there, you can grow your list with additional qualified leads.
In the lodging business we would communicate regularly with our clients, sending them updates via email in advance of their stay and then follow-up emails after the stay encouraging them to write reviews on line and share their experience with the world.
If your business has a component that includes emailing your customers, this should be a natural dovetail into communicating with them via email. But, again, be cognizant of the needs of your recipients. If you're selling custom dog food you would likely have a greater need to communicate with the customer regularly than someone in the lodging business. Frequency matters, as does consistency.
Having owned a resort, I get a lot of monthly and even weekly emails from competing lodging properties and I just don't have that much interest in receiving these, other than seeing what they're saying to their customers.
As much as I'm a fan of Disney in general, I really, really don't see why they send SO many emails. It's just far too much content in my opinion and I just don't open them any longer.
Just like your email list, your website is something you own. You control the content, the message and the appearance. Make sure there is an easy way for visitors to your site to sign-up for your email list. It’s also important to be clear what they’re signing up for. If they’re looking for rutabagas at the farmer’s market, you don’t want them to sign-up for an email list about hammers.
This is another point. Check your open rate on your emails. If you're seeing a very small percentage of recipients actually opening the mail, this means it's time for an adjustment on your part.
Sometimes it helps to write several subject lines and test those. You'd be surprised by what a difference a great subject line makes. Sometimes a poor open rate indicates that you're missing the mark on content the subject, or the content, or the recipients and testing is the way to figure out which is the issue.
Owning and refining your mailing list can be a very, very powerful tool to keep your thrilled customers in touch with the goings on of your business. But it can also be a great way to put-off people.
If you're delivering value to your recipients and writing a quality email that hits the mark, you've done a great job.
Keeping the emails very short and concise with links to your website is the way to go and reinforces your brand. What are your email success stories as either a writer or a recipient?