The Easy Guide to building a powerful Email List
Let’s face it, With an ROI of over $44 for every $1 spent, email marketing is still king of the Marketing hill and will remain so for a long time to come. Compared with all other forms of marketing, email always comes out on the top.
And it’s only going to get better with time. With the advent of Artificial intelligence-enabled SaaS, your overall conversion is set to climb. Hyper Personalisation, Effective automated content, workflow automation, AI split testing, AI determined scheduling, Advanced segmentation, Recommendation engines, Machine learning, Cognitive reasoning are just some of the upcoming trends which are going to transform email marketing into a super-powered conversion tactic.
But all of the technology in the world is useless if you lack an appreciative audience. That’s where your email list comes in.
Well you say, I can purchase a database and send them emails. How long do you think you can do so before most of them unsubscribe and you end up with irreversible damage to your brand name?
An effective email list is one where your audience voluntarily subscribes, knowing that they will be receiving emails containing offers and information related to your specific brand.
So how do you build a list?
The Most Important thing is-Do Not Buy Email Lists.
The following is a step-by-step process that you can follow if you have absolutely no email list.
Step 1-Know Your Audience
So who are you targeting? Before you start targeting people in general, understand who your ideal customer is.
So now you have to create a Persona, a made-up ideal customer.
Why is this important?
This exercise gives you insight into what your prospective customers are thinking and doing as they weigh potential options that address the problem they want to solve.
Customer personas can provide tremendous value and insight to your organization. For example, they can help everyone on your team:
- Develop a deeper understanding of customer requirements and how to address them
- Guide product development by creating features that help them achieve these desired outcomes
- Prioritize which projects and campaigns to investing time and resources in
- Create alignment across the organization and rally other teams towards a customer-centric vision
Now also understand that just gut feeling and good intentions aren’t enough to create and understand your potential customer’s persona.
So how do we proceed?
Building a customer persona requires time and effort. However, the end result justifies the entire exercise. You have to collate data before determining the correct persona. You should always focus on the following points,
Behaviour- What does your customer want to accomplish? How will they reach your Business and decide that it helps them achieve their goals?
Obstacles to conversion- What can stop your customers from purchasing your services or products?
Mind-set- What kind of experience is your potential customer expecting while undergoing the purchasing process? Is the purchase an emotional decision or a logical one?
Always conduct research before you lock down your potential customer’s persona. Conduct surveys online or offline with open-ended questions. Try and identify why they realised that they needed your product or service. Collect demographic information wherever you can.
Always look at your competitors and see what they are up to. Go through their promotional material and identify their core audience. Promotional materials generally will use imagery which directly depicts the audience your direct competitor may be targeting. That’s always a good starting point however do your research as well. Chances are they may be wrong. So always do your own research.
Once you have collected the information, now go ahead and flesh out your persona. Look for common characteristics. As you group these characteristics, the ideal customer’s persona will emerge. When I say flesh put a persona, I mean create a realistic description of your potential customer. Give it a name, a job, where does he or she live, hobbies. Now not all your customers will match this persona, but this persona represents your typical customer.
Step 2- Build your website
So now that you have identified your ideal customers, where are they going to gather?
So you need a website. Basically what you need is a landing page.
What is a landing page?
The official definition is, ’’ a web page which serves as the entry point for a website or a particular section of a website’’
You can create a beautiful landing page in just a few minutes using any one of these services:
These are very powerful services with one specific goal in mind. Generating leads for your email list. Therefore your landing page must have the below-listed elements,
- A headline and (optional) sub-headline
- A brief description of the what are you offering
- At least one supporting image or even a short video
- (Optional) supporting proof elements such as testimonials, customer logos, or security badges
- Most importantly, a form on the landing page itself to capture information. If for some reason you can’t include a form on the landing page, use a large call-to-action (CTA) button to direct visitors to the next step.
Ensure that the Landing page is used only for lead generation purposes. Do not have any Main site navigation on the landing page to avoid unnecessary wandering.
At all costs, keep it simple. Avoid excessive information on your landing pages. Make it very clear what the page is about and what you want the visitor to do.
Always add value. You can have a whitepaper for download of valuable and free material. Offering something of value will help you generate more leads.
Only collect the information you require. Avoid a lengthy form. Sometimes just an email address and name are sufficient. Also, avoid the word SUBMIT on the form button. Mention whatever it is they are getting in return, like Download Now or Get your free report.
Use Exit-intent pop-ups on your website. These will be triggered the moment the customer attempts to leave or close the page. Exit-Intent popups are the way to convert abandoning visitors into customers.
This process will yield a lot of emails addresses and all of them have been provided voluntarily. This ensures that receiving emails from you will not be seen as an unpleasant surprise.
Step 3- Email Marketing Service
Developing an email list is one thing, maintaining and developing a relationship with your subscribers is another.
It is imperative that relevant emails are sent to your customer. So the next step involves signing up for an email marketing service. Now there are a variety of such services and I have listed a few of them down below.
Each of these services is amazingly powerful, with multiple features which will allow you to easily manage and segment your email list. Also, they have a variety of pricing plans available based on your requirement.
Choose an email marketing service wisely as they all have a plethora of features that you can use, however, some are really good at what they do.
Look for important features like Easy email marketing campaign creation, Automation, and diversity of available templates and the ability to customize. Responsiveness or mobile-ready templates are an absolute must as the majority of emails are accessed on mobile devices. Easy integration with your website is another must. You have to look at services that allow easy segmentation of your email list thereby allowing you to send the right email to the right audience. And last and definitely not the least, Analysis and reporting. The ability to correctly view user behaviour on your campaigns is probably the most important aspect of running successful ones. Services like Getresponse has a very advanced CRM and automation service built-in along with their already considerable email marketing capabilities.
Aweber has some very good new email template designs and a very large number of them to choose from.
Drip is a marketing automation tool that allows users to create complex automation workflows and conditional statements within email messaging. Campaigns, workflows, and triggers are well-organized and Drip is as simple or as complex as you need it to be.
Now plan your email marketing campaign. Here you need to decide your emailing frequency, type of emails, what will be included in the emails and how do you want your users to respond to your emails.
Now below are some of the pointers you need to keep in mind when planning a campaign.
- Set your emails to a fixed schedule.
- Make sure your emails are valuable to the user
- Lastly, the emails need to be relevant to the user.
Ensure that you are not blitzing the user’s mailbox with scores of emails. Make sure your emails are something they should look out for in anticipation and not dread.
How do you write an email for an email marketing campaign?
As they say, first impressions are the best impressions. And nothing says better about the content of your emails better than the subject line. You have approximately 50 characters in which you need to create a powerful enough impression that the user should want to open the email.
So what is the magic formula for a successful subject line?
Frankly speaking, there isn’t any.
Just make sure they contain details of what the user will find inside and secondly they should create a sense of urgency, preferably with numbers. For example,
- Warby Parker: “Uh-oh, your prescription is expiring”
- JetBlue: “You’re missing out on points.”
- Digital Marketer: “[URGENT] you’ve got 1 DAY to watch this…”
Make your subject line Funny,
- Groupon: “Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve)”
- The Muse: “We Like Being Used”
- Warby Parker: “Pairs nicely with spreadsheets”
Leverage their ego,
- Jeremy Gitomer: “How Have You Progressed Since the Third Grade?”
- Rapha: “Gift inspiration for the discerning cyclist”
- La Mer: “Age-defying beauty tricks”
Personalize your email subject lines where possible,
- Guess: “Mary, check out these hand-picked looks”
- Rent the Runway: “Happy Birthday Mary — Surprise Inside!”
- Bonnie Fahy: “Mary, do you remember me?”
Just make sure your subject lines do not have spammy material or tricking your customer to open the email. For instance, don’t make your subject lines sound as if you personally know your users.
If you want your email marketing campaign to succeed, then you must pay attention to the design. A well-designed email acts as a hook for your user’s attention but understand that a badly designed email will actually cause immense damage to your email marketing campaign. Another important aspect is email responsiveness or mobile compatibility.
Another design aspect is a balance between images and text. But always remember that people may have images disabled and therefore that really flashy image which was meant as a hook will just not be visible. So be prepared to have your text convey a strong message in the absence of any visual stimuli.
Make sure your email is mobile-ready. Majority of emails are viewed on mobile phones and you must ensure that they render well on these devices or else you are looking at losing subscribers. Thankfully all of the above-listed email marketing services show you a mobile version of your email as you are designing it.
Step 4- Make an Irresistible Offer
Now understand this. Email addresses are legal tender in the world of internet. The customer expects value in exchange for you sharing their email addresses. Give your potential subscribers a reason for sharing their email addresses. As I have already mentioned, do provide your customers with a free download or a white paper which will genuinely help them.
Step 5- Use Social media
Now that you have a landing page up and ready to roll, use your social media account to post a link to your landing page. Post it on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and anywhere else you can think of. You will start seeing traffic from these sources very soon.
Twitter and LinkedIn will give immense exposure if you use the correct hashtags.
Join the relevant Facebook groups where you know your typical customer tends to hangout.
These steps listed above will show results within the first month, provided they are followed correctly. Ensure that you spend time prepping for all these steps. This time that you spend creating a strong foundation will result in a very high-quality email list which you then have to nurture and groom. Selling on the internet is not exactly difficult, however, there is competition.
But remember that quality will always beat quantity and with the right techniques and some really good quality content, you will beat the odds and succeed. Remember that Content will always remain king.
Spend some money in getting the right services. Any of the ones listed above will help you work wonders. Remember that with an ROI of $44 to every $1 spent, you stand to gain a lot for your investment.
Best of luck in all your future endeavours.