Email marketing is so important — and, I would argue, even more valuable than ever before. In a time where we’re inundated with status updates, tweets and filtered photos, email is still the lifeblood of how people connect online.
Think about this: a few weeks ago, Gmail went down for about an hour … and the Internet freaked out.
ABC has a great recap of some of the tweets posted during the outage – and it’s crazy. For everything we hear about the death of email and how social media is the new way people connect, a lot of people didn’t know what to do when they couldn’t get into their email.
So how do you develop and grow an email marketing list that allows you to stay in touch with your audience and customers in a meaningful way? Here’s a few ways to get started.
We know that content is the best way to sell, but it’s also key to building an email list. If you have something of value that can’t be found elsewhere online, ask for an email address in return for access to it. It could be a white paper or research report, a premium video or podcast, or just a great piece of content that really helps your customer.
Here’s why this works: people who are willing to give you their email address are already more serious potential customers than those who aren’t willing to make the exchange. An email list in the tens of thousands is useless if most of those people aren’t interested in what you have to offer. Focus on the quality of your list, not the pure numbers.
This title sounds a little broad, but if you’re interacting with your customers in other ways — selling them items in your e-commerce store, registering them for events, or inviting them to become members of your community — use that opportunity to ask them if they’d like to join your email list.
Like in the earlier example, you’re already connecting with a more serious partner, so it’s not out of line to ask them to subscribe while they’re engaging in another transaction. (There’s a lot of great WordPress plugins and Mailchimp integrations that make this process seamless.)
You know that you need to tell people what to do online — you can’t expect them to figure it out on their own. There’s too much to be distracted by for you to assume someone will find your nice newsletter subscription page and fill out the form.
We like using a modal overlay to ask for your subscription to our newsletter. In fact, we like it so much that we did a ridiculous photo shoot to make you laugh when we ask for your email address. Modals are great, but here’s the thing: if they pop up within the first 5 seconds you’re on the site, it’s getting X-ed every single time. Give people a chance to digest what’s happening on your site and why they should consider subscribing.
In summary: people continue to live and die by their email. While everyone’s off focusing just on social media, stand out with an even better email marketing plan (and some awesome email designs). Keep growing your list – and make it a top priority.