Maintaining and growing a strong email list is a key tool in a salesperson’s arsenal.
In fact, the average person spends four hours a week opening, reading, and responding to emails.
And while Facebook has increasingly moved towards paid advertising and away from organic, email can still get you in front of customers without requiring a hefty ad budget.
But when it comes to cold emailing and other forms of sales email, your success rate is always going to be linked to the strength of your list. You can craft the best content in the world, but if half of your emails are bouncing and the other half are irrelevant to the recipients, you’re just wasting time, effort, and money.
Email marketing databases degrade by around 22.5% each year as contacts change jobs, opt out, and abandon old addresses, so it’s vital to regularly clean your email lists to ensure your content is reaching real people – and the right people. Fortunately, email list verification tools make this a super easy process.
Keeping your list fresh means constantly working to grow it by adding new email addresses.
Use incentives and clearly state benefits
If people are going to give up their prized personal information – in this case, their email address – they need to know they’re getting something worthwhile in return. One of the simplest and most effective ways to do this is by ensuring your new subscriber is going to see value in exchange for filling out a form and sharing their email address.
This means making your emails worth receiving and reading. Where relevant, consider offering exclusive discounts for mailing list members, free trials, or early access to sales, or run regular competitions via email. This should be pretty easy to set up via your email marketing software.
No one wants to end up with an inbox full of junk or irrelevant content. That’s why it’s essential to clearly state what benefits customers can expect to receive when signing up to your email list.
Ensure that the signup form lists the benefits of subscribing. Let them know if you regularly offer exclusive sales, free trials, or discounts to customers, or if you run competitions. This should incentivize the right people – those interested in your products and services – to part with their precious contact details.
Create great content
Another way of offering value via email is by creating genuinely useful downloadable gated or bonus content in exchange for email addresses. Consider what expertise you have in-house that your target audience would find useful enough that they’d be willing to part with their email address.
To prevent high levels of unsubscribers, high-quality content should be offered throughout your email campaigns. This is particularly important where email addresses were initially exchanged for access to content – it’s already been proven that providing similar content will continue to hook in these recipients.
Tips for elevating your content include:
- Conducting exclusive qualitative and quantitative research, offering novel insights into topics important to the customers on your email list.
- Using visuals (but be careful not to overdo it). Visuals can make content more engaging, but stuffing your content full of graphics that don’t add value can make it seem less personal.
- Offering personal insights. People are much more likely to engage with email marketing when they feel they’re communicating with a real human they have a relationship with. Provide opinions and insights into your working life, and ask questions to boost engagement.
When it comes to campaign content, remember, data is king. You can easily A/B test different elements to find out what works for your audience. This can be two completely different emails, or simply the same email with two different subject lines or CTAs. See which options perform best before rolling the campaign out to your wider email lists.
Utilize social media
If your company has a decent following on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, social media can be a seriously powerful tool in growing your email list.
Here you can promote your gated content campaigns using organic and paid promotion, as well as running competitions and offers through Facebook that require an email address to sign up. Be sure to add a call-to-action button to the top of your Facebook business page that links to a signup form.
It’s also worth spending time contacting promising leads through LinkedIn to gather valuable email addresses. While this type of behavior might not be welcome on Facebook Messenger and Twitter’s direct messaging service, LinkedIn is designed for business networking, and prospects are often happy to be contacted by relevant brands.
Use personalized pop-ups on your website
Pop-up advertisements on your website can be used to help grow your email list – but only when done right. The random, irrelevant pop-ups famous for irritating internet users in the 2000s are a thing of the past – now it’s all about personalization.
Create a pop-up on your site that states the benefits of signing up to a mailing list, with a simple, built-in form for entering email addresses. Remember, the more frictionless the journey to signing up, the more people will do it.
Marketing expert Brian Dean believes strongly in this email list-building technique. However, his stats show that pop-ups only achieve success if they’re relevant to the page they appear on. He found that if the page is about email lists, the pop-up will boost conversions by 65% if it offers new email tips.
Segment your email lists
Growing your email lists means retaining your subscribers – otherwise you may only be replacing those you’ve lost. A proven way to keep your list subscribers engaged is by ensuring that you’re only sending them relevant content.
This is where segmentation comes in.
Segmentation is an easy way to achieve personalization without the time drain of crafting a separate email for every single recipient.
Segment your email lists into smaller lists. Depending on your needs, you can segment in terms of job roles, your relationship with the contact, where they are in the sales funnel, or their buying behaviors. There are infinite ways to segment email lists – you just need to find the right one to drive your business outcomes. Then, instead of sending one catch-all email, create tailored emails for each group, ensuring every recipient is always receiving the most relevant content for them.
Encourage sharing and forwarding
Focus on making your emails shareable: ensure your contacts love your emails so much that they’re regularly forwarding them on to friends or colleagues, thereby organically increasing the reach of your emails and growing your email list.
Include social sharing buttons and – vitally – an ‘Email to a Friend’ button within your emails. Ensure you always include a text CTA motivating recipients to subscribe to your emails so opting in is as simple as possible for those who receive your emails without already being on the list.
Sujan Patel is a partner at Ramp Ventures. He has over 14 years of marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.