If there is one thing that small businesses and digital marketers keep coming back to it’s email.
To small business owners, the idea of email marketing elicits remnants of AOL’s “you’ve got mail.” Let’s not forget the CDs, the dial-up static and the very slow Internet speeds.
There is no argument that we have been inundated with emails over the years, much of it is stuff we don’t even want. The average person receives about 120 emails each day, and the entire population with addresses are flooded with close to 200 billion emails. That’s huge.
Perhaps this is the reason why talking about email marketing incites sighs, groans and rolling of the eyes. Despite the vast adoption of social media and video marketing measures, email still remains the popular choice for brands. This is because people are still using email. Indeed, we may have taken advantage of email since the 1990s, but that doesn’t mean it has met its utter demise.
Here are a few statistics to show that email marketing isn’t dead yet:
- Email marketing yields an estimated 4,300 percent return on investment.
- Email marketing is 40 times more effective at customer acquisition than Facebook and Twitter.
- 95 percent of people who receive email newsletters find them useful.
- Insert social media buttons in emails leads to a click-through rate jump of 158 percent.
Here is what econsultancy writes:
“Forget the naysayers, email marketing was ranked as the best channel in terms of return on investment, with 68% of companies rating the channel as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.
This marks a 3 per cent increase since last year, while the previously highest ranked digital marketing channel, search engine optimisation, dropped 8 per cent, possibly due to the effect of ‘not provided’ keyword data.”
So what are five fool-proof ways to drastically and effectively increase your email subscriptions?
1. Provide value
“If I sign up, what’s in it for me?” This is likely the question a user will ask before submitting their email. It’s a valid question; nobody wants to give anything away, especially their email, for free. Therefore, you should offer something in return.
The incentives don’t have to be financial remuneration. Here are a few suggestions:
- Educational content: E-Books, white papers, newsletters and the like could be offered for free, and they’re likely to be more appreciated because they have value. Of course, that value is information they can learn from and incorporate into their lives.
- Discounts: When a prospect submits their email, they will immediately receive 10 percent off of their next purchase. They’ll also be given promotions, coupons, discount codes and other cost-saving advertisements in the future.
- Appreciation: Sometimes people just want to be thanked. A token gift, an appreciation or a public spotlight can suffice to give you their email. The latter could consist of showcasing that customer in a future newsletter, highlighting their dedication to the brand.
- Pay it forward: The more the merrier. If a subscriber forwards your company’s newsletter and signs up then both of you will receive a 10 percent discount. And it goes on. Essentially, you’re encouraging everybody to pay it forward.
- Webinars: Webinars are ideal marketing and sales tool in a company arsenal. Webinars can present information about the company’s product, provide tips and insights for new users and form a community of users who can share their experience and provide valuable feedback. Planning a good webinar is a worthwhile and inexpensive investment and can raise engagement and attract new email subscribers, make sure to incorporate this tactic in your incentive list for more email subscribers.
2. Social proof your list
Social proofing is the modern day version of testimonials. Social proofing is likely one of the best techniques around to boost your email subscriptions. The reason for this is because social proofing can encourage others to opt-in.
It simply consists of doing the following:
- Showcasing your vast number of subscribers.
- Posting and highlighting testimonials, especially industry influencers.
- Placing your visitor count in an impressive light.
Essentially, any statistic that can prove just how valuable your website or newsletter is can assist you in bringing your email subscriptions list to new heights.
3. Email opt-in boxes
Indeed, it’s the simplest thing to do for any small business owner or digital marketer: insert an email opt-in box on your website. Despite its simplicity, there are several tricks you have to consider in order to get your visitors to type their email in that box. Remember, it’s not always easy to get someone to just give away their emails to anyone.
Here is where you can experiment with email opt-in boxes on your webpage:
- Interactive submit button: What would happen if you made the submit button interact with and react to the user’s action? Well, others have tried this (red border that changed to green when the mouse was moved over it), and it resulted in a 40 percent increase in the opt-in rate. It may seem gimmicky and something out of the 1990s, but it still works!
- Simplify everything: If the website visitor is having a difficult time either finding your opt-in bar or typing in their email address then they won’t bother ever signing up in the future. You have make it as easy as possible. An opt-in box pre-filled with instructions, like Enter Your Email Address,” must disappear once the person clicks in that input field.
- Users are in control: Remember, you always want the user to feel they are in control. In every scenario, allow them to choose what they receive, when they receive and how they receive it. For instance, if a user decides to unsubscribe they’ll be asked “why are you leaving?” What should be in that place is: “would you like to change the frequency of emails?” Allowing them choice is more effective, and they’ll appreciate it.
Here are a few other minor suggestions:
- Ask users to sign up for a newsletter after making a comment on your blog.
- Insert a privacy statement close to your email opt-in box.
- Place a history of your newsletters next to the box.
- Transform your About Us page into a personalized opt-in form.
- Use creative copy: don’t call a newsletter a newsletter so try “Weekly Updates” and don’t use subscribe try instead “Sign me up.”
4. Using social media
If you have more followers on Facebook and Twitter than you do email subscribers then this is your perfect opportunity to convert them. The social networks have aided businesses in this realm, and all you have to do is launch campaigns or pay more attention to your accounts.
You can leverage social media with these methods:
- Twitter campaign: Moving forward, you can promote your lead-gen offers on Twitter through a Twitter campaign. You can offer an e-book, a white paper or a free product to your followers in exchange for their email addresses.
- Facebook call-to-action: At the top of your Facebook Business Page, add a call-to-action button that links to a landing page. Again, this requires an email address to access the specific webpage.
- Pinning on Pinterest: Marketers adore Pinterest, and why not? This is still largely untapped when compared to the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can use this platform to promote offers that need an email sign-up through visual storytelling.
- Instagram conversions: Instagram for business is growing rapidly with reason. With an in-built call-to-action button in each business post, it’s an easy way to reach potential customers by building an iron-clad visual brand identity for your business. Users that usually engage with visual content similar to yours can be easily identified, targeted and converted.
- YouTube call-to-action: Similar to Pinterest and Facebook, you can take advantage of the description bar to type in CTAs and other URLs that link to your webpages. This simple move can pay dividends especially if your video goes viral!
While that sounds like a lot of work, modern email marketing tools like GetResponse allow you to insert social media buttons to your emails and tracking email social media analytics with a click of a button. This little effort can make or break your email marketing campaign.
5. Offline marketing
Good old offline marketing and advertising! Forget mobile phones, websites, social media and every other digital tool at our disposal: going offline can be just as effective in today’s environment as going mobile.
Of course, it does require you to initiate face-to-face interaction (some of the time). The idea of communicating with another human being in person may seem almost archaic for some marketeers, but it can do wonders for your bottom line.
Just what can you do offline that you can’t do online? Here are a few things that can help your subscriptions list:
- Gathering email addresses at events: Are you attending a trade show or networking event? Is there an industry conference happening? Wherever you’re planning to go to, you can collect email addresses and import them into your database. Be sure to send each and everyone a welcome email!
- Hosting an offline event: Forget attending trade shows sponsored by somebody else. Instead, host your own shindig, such as meet ups, or educational media panel discussions. By doing so, you can collect emails through registrations, whether it’s offline or online.
- The power of the QR code: In your print marketing materials, add a QR code so people can simply scan their phones to opt-in to your email subscriptions list.
- Ask for an email: In your conventional marketing campaign, encourage recipients sign up for email communications. This can be done by including a short URL on the flyer or direct mail package.
Let’s face it: some people do miss the idea of going offline from time to time. Embrace it!
The next time someone brings up the idea of email being dead, allude to your tremendous success in the field. Whether it’s sending out newsletters or seeing a jump in CTRs, email marketing is cost-effective, straightforward, and gets results every time.