Email lists have been the bread and butter of online business presence for about as long as the internet has been readily accessible. In the past, it was fun and exciting to receive a new email accompanied by the phrase “You’ve got mail!” Users would rush to their inbox to see what new and exciting gift was waiting for them.
Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Email is so common today that getting a real letter in the mail is often more exciting. Because of this development of time, businesses are faced with the problem of not only gaining but maintaining a solid and reliable list of email subscribers who will actually look forward to seeing a business name in their inbox. While it is certainly harder than ever to get someone to open your email, fear not: all it takes is a little creativity and a good set of typing fingers.
Start with Quality Emails and Diversify
There is nothing worse than a full email inbox, littered with the same three business names over and over, running the same promotion and offering nothing of substance. Everyone has that one mistake, the one subscription they filled out and regretted as soon as the third notification popped up. “Why did I do this?” “How do I cancel?”
Don’t be that business.
The goal is for subscribers to want to read your emails. Simply getting a foot in the door, or email in the inbox as it were, isn’t enough. Provide your subscribers with quality, relevant content that keeps them coming back for more and anticipating your weekly email blast.
Emails should contain more than just excellent subject matter if the goal is growing an email list. They should also encourage sharing amongst friends, and can benefit from links to landing pages encouraging people to subscribe. Try adding these links to the signatures of regular business emails for an extra boost. Email lists can also benefit from diversity and narrow field marketing, such as separate lists for different types of content.
Social media continues to prove itself to be a useful tool to the marketing strategies of all businesses, big or small. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube are all excellent sources for getting a business name out there and recognized, and are great devices for building a sustainable email list. Try adding a call to action “Sign Up” or “Subscribe” button to any of these websites your business may be represented on, or consider running promotions that require an email submission.
The Business Website
Though it may seem obvious, many businesses make it quite difficult to find the required information to sign up for updates and newsletters. Make sure this information is visible and readily accessible, even if it means adding a subscribe button to every single page of the site.
Blogs are also a great way to build email subscriptions. By posting an informative, helpful blog post every now and then on a website, consumers are assured that the business is active and concerned with the needs of its clients. They’ll want to sign up and will look forward to more information whenever you post it.
Partnerships and Promotions
Powerful email lists require more than an online presence. It is necessary to spread the word in the real world as well. This can be done a number of ways, none of which are as easy as simply asking consumers to sign up (though that can still be beneficial). Try partnering up with a sister business (real estate and insurance, food truck with a bar, etc.) and hosting an event together to share customers. This is a great way to find customers who are already interested in a service similar to your own. Use these events to gather emails, create online promotions, or hand out business cards with QR codes on them that link directly to a subscription page online.
Maintain the List
Once your list has been bulked up, it’s important to maintain it. Reset each quarter or year by allowing current subscribers to opt into a new list and delete the old addresses. This may seem counter intuitive, but quality returns are far more important than sheer quantity. Keep the list updated, keep adding new subscribers, and always provide quality content that customers can look forward to.