It’s taken a while but bloggers and internet marketers are finally starting to understand the value of email lists. Email lists are one of the most effective ways to continue a long term relationship with your clients, build rapport and eventually close sales. Unfortunately because the last decade saw the rise of direct marketing through emails, the perception of them has been somewhat tainted.
Email open rates are significantly lower than they were in the past. This poses both a problem and an opportunity to your business. Firstly, this makes it harder to grow a list because people are reluctant to provide their email addresses for fear of spam. However, this also means that in a sea of messages, great content stands out and is remembered.
Email lists are very easy to create and they are cheap and cost effective. As a business owner, the earlier you begin the better, whether or not you have a large amount of content.
But aren’t email lists a thing of the past, shouldn’t I be focusing my efforts on social media?
Social media is great and has many benefits. However, if you compare social media feed updates to emails, it is far more likely that an email will be seen. There are thousands of social media updates and depending on the individuals social media use, your updates may not be seen at all. As a result, email subscribers are much more likely to chase your links than social media followers. So how can you create a great email list?
Well firstly, you will want to subscribe to a service such a Aweber. This allows you to create an automated email newsletter. It is easy to set up, customisable and charges a monthly subscription. Once you have created the newsletter, you will want to optimise your site, content and brand to encourage as many subscribers as possible. Here are some of the ways you can do so.
One of the most important ways to ensure your visitors subscribe to your email list is opt in forms. Add opt in forms to appropriate places on your website. For example, you may want one on your home page on the top right, one on the about page and one at the end of every blog post. It may seem excessive but is fine if your website isn’t otherwise cluttered.
Though this may seem obvious, we all receive emails in which the content appears to offer nothing of value. Make sure everything you send out is high quality and created with a specific purpose in mind. You should create an email marketing plan just like any other blog or content marketing strategy. There are various ways to create and promote content, the important thing is making it unique and exclusive. Blog post series, eBooks, tutorial videos and webinars are just a few examples.
Promotions can be one of the best email marketing strategies available. Look for partner websites and try and run promotions which can get new subscribers on board. However make sure the promotion is relevant. You don’t want to hurt your brand by running a promotion that contradicts your values just because the offer is available.
You can create multiple variations of your subscriptions and use any number of techniques to distinguish demographics. This makes the readers feel like the information is targeting them as opposed to them being spammed.
We mention guest blogging a lot here at Blue Frontier and that’s because it works. Placing opt in forms at the end of your guest blogs is a create way to find new readers, and if you have just given them a useful post, they will be motivated to subscribe.
Remember, the sooner you start growing your email list the better. As long as you don’t bombard your subscribers with content they will likely stick around for the long run, in which case you can create new products, services and opportunities.