With all the focus on social media, websites, and blogs these days, too many businesses are foregoing email marketing — viewing the idea that people still check email as passé. The truth is, email is still a very widespread and widely-used form of communication, and email marketing can (and should) be a vital part of your overall marketing strategy.
It’s important, however, to make sure you get it right. Here are some do’s and don’ts for developing an email marketing strategy, building your email list, and converting leads to customers in the digital world.
Developing an Email Marketing Strategy
Putting together an effective email marketing strategy is essential to your business’ success. And the most important part of building an email strategy is having contacts to email. You need to grow an email list that is not only relevant, but engaged. This means you need to be able to build a list of potential clients who will be more likely to respond to your mailings — and not just send them to the spam folder.
The Do’s of Email List Development
There are a number of smart strategies to engage when building your email list. These practices aren’t all-encompassing; some may work for you and some may not. See which ones are the most reasonable for your business and try implementing the practice(s) to develop your emailing list:
- The Physical Sign-Up: When you do community events, conventions, or even at your place of business, have a physical sign-up sheet with information about not just who you are, but exactly what recipients will receive. This allows you also to talk to people in person about your email list and what they will get out of it. Postcards and email options on membership forms are other great ways to handle physical signups.
- Sign-Up Buttons and Forms: On your website, on your social media platforms, and in every email you send, include a “Sign up!” button or form that allows people to easily register for your mailing list. This would provide opportunities to expand your client base — for example, if a client forwards your newsletter to a friend.
- Check Your Existing Contacts: You’ve probably already got a ready-made list in your existing customer database and this can be a great jumping-off point. Just be careful to include a way that people can unsubscribe if they choose, when using an unsolicited mailing list. Ask your existing contacts to spread the word and bring in others who might be interested.
- Whitepapers and Information: Create highly informative educational resources that you make available for free with no obligation. White papers, electronic resources and other pieces of valuable information can be great ways to reel in contacts.
- Run a Contest: Running a giveaway or contest is a great way to not only get signups, but to build engagement for your list as well. Offering a monetary prize, service, or even a coupon for a percentage off the next purchase for new signups is an excellent way to encourage growth.
- Mobile Sign-Ups: Allowing people to join your list with mobile devices via text-to-join options, or creating QR codes which can be scanned to join, is a great way to combine your list with modern technology.
The Don’ts of Email Lists
On the other side, there are a range of mistakes to avoid. Some of these can mark you as inexperienced; others can be outright offensive to people.
- Adding Without Permission: Adding names to your list without their okay is a major no-no. Not only will it get your emails shuffled to spam folders, it can generate negative reviews online and accusations of harassment. This is why, especially if you’re starting with a cold list, you always need to include a visible “unsubscribe” option, and take it seriously.
- Purchasing a Ready-Made List: This is a rookie mistake that can cause more harm than good. At best, your return on investment won’t cover the cost of the list. At worst, you’ll get a slew of complaints, spam shuffles and you won’t see your customer base grow much at all.
- Assuming Every Customer Wants More: As much as we’d all love it, everyone doesn’t want further communication. Make sure you restrict your lists to people who show genuine interest in continuing a relationship with you.
- Not Keeping Your List Fresh: Monitor bounced emails and those that don’t ever get a turnaround, and remove them. Keep your list fresh with only the best, most viable contacts.
- Not Doing Research: You need to know your customer base. You need to know what they want, and what you can offer them. A solid email list requires a lot of research.
Professional Email Marketing Help
From graphic design, to content, to building an email list, developing a solid email marketing strategy is a lot of work but the ROI can be great. We’d love to help you kickstart your email marketing program today!