Email lists are a fundamental marketing tool in today's digital landscape. They're a valuable way of engaging with customers, building relationships, and driving sales.
In today's post, we'll take a look at the impact email lists can have on your business and how you can work to deliver personalized and targeted messages right into your client's inboxes.
Understanding your audience
The cornerstone of good email marketing is to understand your target audience. You need to know what your buyers like — what makes them, quite literally, click.
To build a loyal customer base, you first need to gain a good understanding of their interests and preferences. There are more than a few ways of that, including:
Market research: Market research gives you insights into your industry, competitors, and potential untapped customer bases. Your research can be geared towards demographics (age, gender, location, etc.), as well as psychographics — interests, values, behaviors, and the like.
Existing data: Internet analytics tools are a great way to gather data from your website, from social media platforms, or from other marketing channels, with an eye to understanding your audience's preferences, browsing habits, and engagement patterns.
Surveys/feedback: With surveys and feedback forms, you can get your customers to tell you themselves what works for them or doesn't. What could be better than hearing it straight from the horse's mouth?
Social listening: Go on social media, online forums, and review sites. Check out relevant YouTube video comments or, yes, even Reddit subs. There's a wealth of information just lying around the web if you know what to monitor and where to look for it.
Competitor analysis: While they say you should never blindly imitate your competitors, it pays to keep an eye on what they're doing — their audiences, their marketing strategies. What is their messaging like, and how do they engage with their customers? These and similar questions can provide useful insights into your own target audiences.
The importance of email marketing
Email marketing is particularly relevant for small businesses and startups, as it's both effective and cost-efficient. But, if you're doing it right, it will never cease to bring you value no matter how big your company gets.
There's plenty to say about the value of email here. But if we were to list just a few key ways it helps you, we could say it:
Helps you connect directly with your audience. With email, you can reach people directly, as well as tailor your messages according to customers' preferences and purchase history.
Allows you to build relationships. If you consistently deliver real value — whether that's timely updates, offers, or interesting content, — you'll find it easy to establish trust and loyalty, which in turn will increase your customer retention.
Is cost-effective. When you compare it with other marketing channels and ad campaigns, email marketing is extremely cost-effective. With a minimum initial investment, it nonetheless offers a very palpable ROI. In fact, a recent Litmus report points to an average return of 36:1. That is, for every $1 spent on email marketing, you'll make $36. Not too shabby, eh?
Increases conversion rates. Emails have a proven conversion track record of around 3%. While this may not seem impressive at first glance, get a hefty email list, do the math, and you'll see it adds up to a neat plus on your marketing game. In fact, surveys have shown shown that as many as 59% of buyers are influenced by email in their purchase decisions.
Strategies to create an email list from scratch
So you're bought into the whole email list thing, but don't know where to start? Well, perhaps we can offer a few handy ideas.
1. Sticker giveaways
Yes, we continue to think stickers are awesome, but that's only because we've seen how well they work up close. And using them for capturing your customers' emails is a no-brainer, really:
Design a few stickers. Not just any stickers, mind you: we're talking stickers that your target audience will find irresistible! Give it some thought, get creative, and — of course — make sure they relate to your brand or niche.
Create a giveaway (duh). Then promote it on your social media, on your website, or heck, even on your product shipments.
The catch! Ask participants to sign up for your email list in order to enter the giveaway — or make it optional. Because remember: nobody likes to be tricked into these things. If you decide to make subscribing mandatory, at least make sure to tell them loud and clear that unsubscribing is a breeze and they can do it at any time.
Honor your side of the deal and make sure your giveaway winners get their stickers.
2. Interactive quizzes
Everyone loves a good quiz — whether about news, popular films, or fun facts. But for our purpose, you want to create quizzes that connect directly to the industry or niche you operate on. Just make sure they're fun and not too long. Then share them on your site, on social media, and in ads.
Once you've got your quizzes figured out, add a final step where you request participants to provide their email addresses to get the results or rank on the leaderboard. Again, do all you can to avoid the impression that you're coercing users into giving up their emails. Best not to get started on the wrong foot.
And remember, quizzes are something that people just love sending to friends and family. Make sure yours is super easy to share.
Also, if you're looking for a way to get started creating your own quizzes, you can try Quiz and Survey Master — a great Wordpress plugin that will take the hassle away from your quiz-creating endeavors.
3. Email list swap
An email list swap involves partnering with another business or marketer in a similar niche to exchange email subscribers. Here's how it works:
Find a reputable partner with a complementary target audience and email list.
Collaborate on a joint promotional campaign where both parties promote each other's email lists.
Set clear expectations and guidelines for your list swapping, including the number of subscribers to be exchanged and the duration of the partnership.
An important caveat here: Make sure you didn't tell your clients you'd never share their email. If you did, well, then this step is just not for you.
4. Collaborations or partnerships
Try collaborating with other businesses or influencers in your niche. This can be a brilliant way to tap into existing audiences and expand your email list.
Try things like:
Guest blogging: Feeling the creative mood? Write a guest post for a popular blog in your industry. And don't forget that sweet call to action to join your email list (offering goodies like promo codes or access to special discounts is a good way to seal the deal).
Co-hosted webinars: If webinars are up your alley, you can partner with industry experts or complementary businesses to host events that will both provide value to your audiences and encourage sign-ups. Talk about a win-win.
Social media cross-promotion: Talk to influencers or other businesses on social media. There are a myriad ways you can cooperate and generate value for everyone around, including joint giveaways or simple shoutouts that will drive traffic to your email lists.
Spend a few hours on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and other platforms to find influencers in your niche that can be great collaborators.
5. Pop-up forms
Nobody loves pop-ups per se — they're like someone holding you by the sleeve when you want to leave the damn place. But there's evidence pop-up forms can work. Try and see for yourself.
There are plenty of ways to use them. Exit intent pop-ups can grab the email of a visitor that might otherwise never come back to your site; time-based pop-ups allow you to not scare off visitors that have just only made it to your website. And similarly, scroll-based pop-ups let you present your form to readers that have already shown an interest in your content and are thus more likely to sign up.
As always, though, be sure to keep a few best practices in mind:
Offer value. This can be a discount, exclusive content, or a freebie in exchange for an email sign-up.
Use a simple, friendly design for your pop-up. Don't be obnoxious.
Don't overdo it. One pop-up, every once in a while, is tolerable. Several pop-ups, or having the same one pop again every time like a mosquito that won't die? That's a surefire way to alienate users.
6. Landing pages
An optimized landing page can be a boon to your email list conversions. But you need to do it right. So it's more of the same:
Keep the design simple, clean, and focused on your call to action.
Clearly communicate the value proposition of joining your email list. Again, that could be early access to new products, special promo codes, promotions, and so on.
Use persuasive, straight-to-the-point copy and visuals to encourage signing up.
A/B test different elements — headlines, CTA buttons, and form placements — to optimize your conversions.
Carrd is a user-friendly and free platform for quickly creating landing pages.
7. Lead magnets
Believe it or not, this time we're not talking about our very own custom magnets. No, lead magnets are simply the "carrots" you offer in exchange for email addresses. That is something that actually is attractive or valuable to your target audience.
Examples of effective lead magnets include:
E-books or guides related to your industry or niche. For instance, a fitness or health product website might offer users a free weight loss program or a recipe book for healthy snacks.
Downloadable templates or checklists for a specific need your users are likely to have. An example would be a financial guru that offers a budgeting or expense-tracking checklist.
Exclusive content. This could be anything from video classes to exclusive industry reports, case studies, and so on.
Also, remember: Lead magnets can be more than just a way to entice visitors to subscribe. They can provide value in their own right and be shared by your users, thus pushing your marketing strategy a further notch up.
It's never too early to start building your email list, and there's no wrong way to get started doing it. Whether you love the sticker giveaway idea or just want to annoy your customers with a well-timed pop-up, you have plenty of options to choose from above — and many others waiting for you out there.
So pick the strategies that work best for you and make them a focus of your marketing efforts. You'll be reaping the rewards for a long time to come.
And, just before you go, I guess it's our move: Did you know we have the best weekly promos in all of stickerdom? Of course, the way to get access to them is by subscribing to our newsletter — click here for that.