5 Steps to Building Your First Email List.

Let’s face it.

It is getting harder to get seen. With all the direct and indirect competition out there, it’s costing small businesses more and more to get your message out there. Billboards, ads in the newspaper and on radio used to work wonders, but the ad spend attributed to traditional marketing in 2014, is up to 40% more than using inbound marketing via digital platforms.

Coming up with ideas to connect and engage with your customers can be a drag.

With everyone claiming to be a marketing expert, it can be a bit of work to actually find a strategy that works. Many agencies pitch the standard, ‘we do SEO’ pitch out there. But just how effective are these tactics?

A July 2014 study compared the four major marketing strategies/channels: social, email, paid traffic via PPC, organic traffic using SEO. While SEO brought the most new visitors with 54% of the businesses polled, email marketing attracted a close 51%. With those customer attraction rates, it’s no surprise that organic search and email marketing present the best ROI for your marketing budget.

With Google’s frequent algorithm changes in a bid to serve customers better, and Facebook’s increasing cost of ads, it’s in your best interests to be diverse with your marketing strategy. Herein lies the power of using simple email to reach out to prospects and existing customers.

Now, there are right and not-so-right ways of collecting the emails. There are companies that sell email lists, but why buy them when you don’t know who will be reading your emails? Do you really think a 64 year old grand mum in Torquay will jump at your offer for the latest model of your laser-guided machining table saw? Probably not.

Almost any business can benefit from email marketing. Done right, you can engage the right demographic of interested prospects, who have given you permission to contact them. Our experts at Search and More have the following tips for building your first e-mail list:

1. Choose the right email service provider (ESP).

There are many ESPs available, all trying to compete on flashy features & add-ons. The truth is, most times, you don’t need ALL the features they offer.

a. When choosing your email provider, focus on the features they offer that WILL benefit your business, such as:

  • Easy social media integration,
  • Easy to use form templates,
  • Precise tracking,
  • Ability to schedule sending of emails.

b. How do their fees fit into your budget? If you have a small list, some ESPs offer free accounts, but as your subscribers grow, there is a fee attached to using their service.

c. Is this ESP known for a high delivery rate i.e. your emails get sent straight to the inbox with HTML and text intact?

2. The opt-in page must use crucial elements.

Such as an attention-grabbing headline, the benefits of opting in, an explicit call to action and the opt-in form itself. Knowledge of your industry and potential customers will help you create these elements.

Your form must be visible on your site. Data from eye tracking software shows that the top left corner of any site receives the most attention. If your CMS doesn’t allow you place an opt-in widget in that area, make sure the form is above the fold.

3. Use a mobile responsive design.

You may have the slickest website design, but if the page elements are in conflict, it’s pointless. How many times have you visited a site on your mobile device and the header overlaps the navigation bar? And after a few seconds, a pop-up appears and covers the whole screen?

You usually end up clicking away and that business has lost a prospect. Choosing a design that works on both desktop and mobile devices is important for attracting email sign-ups.

4. Always ask for the sign up.

Some visitors to your website may still ignore the opt-in box if your call-to-action isn’t compelling. Give them another chance to sign up when they are about to leave your site. You can use a timer or an exit pop-up to show an opt-in form at just the right time.

5. Offer a useful incentive.

Convincing people to sign up may require a little bribe. You can create a report on FAQs in your industry or offer access to a white paper your firm produced. You can also take advantage of upcoming holidays and offer coupons. Your email list will respond best if your offering is perceived to be higher in value than what you may be asking them for.

Email marketing is over 40 years old, and yet still delivers phenomenal ROI. Taking the easy (lazy) way out and buying “one million emails for only £20.99”, can lead to your firm being blacklisted by your ISP and being labelled as a spammer. With consistent effort and patience, you can grow an engaged list that eagerly await your next email. Contact Search and More today and let us take charge of your list building.

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