P.S. These tips are perfect if you have a shoestring budget or you’re new to digital marketing.
It was reported by Ascend2 in 2016 that 54% of marketers said increasing their engagement rate was their top priority when it came to email marketing.
Increasing your email engagement rate depends on two things. You first need to collect the email addresses from a relevant audience, and then you need to share content that they’re genuinely going to find interesting. It’s as simple as that.
Just take a moment to think about which emails you bother to open and which you immediately delete. If the subject title doesn’t immediately grab your attention and the preview text is irrelevant, the chances of you opening the email, nevermind interacting with the content inside, is pretty slim.
If you don’t have something genuinely interesting to share with your email list, don’t bother sending an email. Just because you haven’t sent an email in a week or a few weeks, doesn’t mean you should just send one for that reason alone.
Not only do you want to build your email list, you want to retain your existing subscribers. It’s great if you’re getting new subscribers every day, but how many are you actually able to retain? If, after your first email to them they unsubscribe, that highlights your email content is perhaps a little lacking.
In this post, I’ll talk through two sections. The first is how you can build your email marketing list and the second is how you can find out what they want out of your emails, helping you retain and grow your subscriber list at the same time.
How you can build your email marketing list
Make it easy for users to subscribe to your newsletter
If you don’t do this, you’re really not helping yourself. There are many free pop-forms and widgets you can implement into your site. You don’t need any coding knowledge, it’s straightforward and a really useful tactic to catch new subscribers.
I currently use a tool called Hello Bar. They offer a free version, enabling you to create a pop-up form and create a variation so you can measure which version of the form performs better. If you have a WordPress site you can download their free plugin, or, alternatively, you can copy and paste a small section of code into the body of your website.
This tool, or any pop-up form tool, is perfect for experimenting with wording to see what your audience better responds to. You can decide whether to show your pop-up as soon as the user lands on your site, or you can add a time delay to the form.
When you’re creating your form it is crucial you are concise, highlighting the value the user will get if they sign up to receive your emails.
If your message is vague such as ‘sign up to receive our newsletters’ you’re not giving your users a reason to sign up. Openly highlighting the value of your emails is key to capturing your audience’s eye and increasing your newsletter sign-up rate.
Once a user signs up to your newsletter, what happens to them currently? If you aren’t sending them a welcome email, you’re missing a trick. Simply sending a welcome email with links to your latest content to keep them busy until your next newsletter comes out can help engage the new subscriber instantly.
Create gated content pieces
This is a great way to build your email list. Putting a form in front of your most valuable content pieces is a mutually beneficial way to expand your email marketing list. You’re offering something of value in return for their first name and email address.
The key to this strategy is, of course, creating excellent content that your audience wants to access but the form you use to guard the content can also impact your conversion rate.
If your form is asking for a list of information the length of their arm, this might put them off resulting in a page bounce.
Asking for their first name and their email address is perfectly sufficient at this stage. With their first name, you can personalise your email content (this helps increase email open rates) and, of course, with their email address, you can send the email!
With many of us now carrying our smartphones around with us at least most of the day, emails are easily accessible. So why wouldn’t you want to invest in building a robust email marketing strategy for your business? Can you afford not to have the opportunity to reach your audience almost immediately?
How to find out what to put in your emails
OK, so you now have the knowledge and the tools to start building your email list. Now, what do you put in your emails?
I’ve already mentioned in order to engage your email list you need to share relevant and above all else INTERESTING content. How can you find out what they find interesting, though?
Well, firstly, you could ask them. If you already have a few subscribers, whether it’s two or 200, ask them what kind of content they like. Sending out surveys doesn’t have to cost the earth, in fact, you can use SurveyMonkey to ask up to 10 questions for free.
If you haven’t yet built a list to be able to ask them what they want, visit keyword planner tools (Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Answerthepublic.com) to find out what search queries are being carried out by your audience. If you’re able to deliver a solution to a common problem for your specific audience in email form – how helpful are you going to be? Very!
So whether your audience struggle with money and need a cost-effective solution (which you can help them with) start putting content ideas into a spreadsheet and note down which work which didn’t. Take it from here.
It is a very trial and error strategy but it’s a strategy that can help you deliver the return on investment (ROI) you’re after from your digital marketing efforts.
Got any questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with your email marketing questions: firstname.lastname@example.org