Email marketing remains one of the most effective digital marketing strategies. An email campaign can reach a huge audience, it can be personalized, and it can be tracked and analyzed so that companies know which tactics are most effective at reaching their target audiences. Moreover, email marketing is cost-effective, yielding a high ROI compared to other digital marketing strategies.
Email marketing is also valuable because it engages existing customers. Why is this important? Because:
- It’s more expensive to gain new customers than retain existing customers.
- Existing customers are more likely to make purchases than are new prospects.
- Retaining customers increases profits, in part because existing customers tend to spend more than new customers.
- Repeat customers refer other customers via word-of-mouth, online reviews and social media sites.
Thus, email marketing has great merit. Nevertheless, many may find the prospect of building and maintaining an email list a daunting task. Here are some tips for cultivating a quality email list.
1) Don’t buy an email list. If your subscribers have not signed up for your emails, they are likely to ignore your emails, or worse, consider them – and your brand – annoying, and mark them as spam.
2) Build your list at every customer contact point. Make it easy for customers to join your email list by providing a number of frictionless paths to signing up. For example, there should be a highly visible way to sign up on a company’s website directly from the home page. Any customer making a purchase online should be asked to provide an email address. Provide an in-store guest book at the register where customers can leave their email addresses and other contact information. Have a clipboard available to capture emails when your company attends or sponsors events.
3) Create different types of content and ask about preferences. Create both promotional emails that offer discounts, coupons, contests or other incentives to make purchases and also informative emails featuring newsletters, blogs, research, facts or tips that people on your list will find interesting and instructive. Some people on your list may only want to receive promotional emails, and others may only want to receive informational emails. Still others may want to receive both types. Be sure to have an easy way for the user to select which emails they’d like to receive and with what frequency. Also, it is critical that you have an easy way for subscribers to unsubscribe from receiving some or all of the emails they have signed up for. Emailing a customer who isn’t interested costs money, yields no rewards and can be potentially off-putting to recipients in terms of future sales.
4) Qualify Email Sign-Ups. After someone signs up for your list, it is good practice to use a double opt-in email. This is an introductory email that contains a link which the user must click confirming his or her email address in order to remain on the list. This is a good way to make sure those on your list truly want to be there.
5) Reengagement Emails. If you have subscribers who haven’t opened your emails for months, it makes sense to stop sending them marketing emails. Instead, send a re-engagement email that asks them to update their preferences about the type and frequency of emails they wish to receive. This will keep your list current.