Your best bet will be to give away something that’s valuable to your target market; for instance, a high-value digital asset on a niche topic. You can give away products (we’ve all seen contests where the prize is a free iPad or gift certificates), however this strategy often leads to entrants who are more interested in the money than in what you have to offer.
Offline events like trade shows are highly anticipated growth opportunities for professionals in your industry. Demo your latest product at an appropriate conference and collect signups in-person. Once you're back at the office, import these signups into your contact database. Be sure to send these contacts a welcome email that confirms their opt-in to your list. (See #8 in this blog post for tips on sending welcome emails.)
You can’t begin to personalize your campaigns if all you have is an email address, so work to figure out what data you already have. Do you have information on past purchase behavior, length of time on your email list, customer status, or geography? All of these areas can be leveraged for personalization, which will, in turn, improve list quality. Where does this information live? Is it in your CRM, e-commerce platform, or somewhere else? Integrations can help you combine your email list with outside information.
Your content should focus on how you can fulfill your customer’s needs, so make sure every email you send provides value. Most importantly, refrain from telling them how great you are, but instead make your email messages all about them. If your brand helps them accomplish something or be something better, they’ll turn into ambassadors for you without you even asking.
We’re not shy about asking people to opt-in in the middle of a post, because we do it contextually. We’ll talk a lot more about content upgrades later, but for now, our posts are still high level, so it doesn’t quite make sense to make elaborate opt-in bonuses. Instead, since we’re outlining what our blog will be about, it makes sense to mention we have an email list where you can keep up on our journey.
For subscribers who may have been on your list for a longer period of time, a small incentive or discount will often get them talking. Marketers should capitalize on word-of-mouth marketing by incorporating email sign-up on viral components, such as features that allow site visitors to forward products, services, wish lists, information online, notifications and more to their friends.
This can be a controversial topic, as many would consider this an interstitial. And some might not prefer this method as it might not be seen as the most user-friendly. However, if done correctly, they can have some serious sign-up power. Online learning management system Fedora, now rebranded as Teachable, deployed this strategy on their homepage to increase sign-ups for a promotional webinar.
Shoot a quick screencast video… If you’re on a PC, use Camtasia. If you’re on a Mac, use Screenflow. These are tools to record what’s happening on your screen. You can use them to present slideshow presentations or give a tutorial on how to do something on your computer. For example, when I teach WordPress stuff, I turn on ScreenFlow and just record my screen as show people how to set things up. It’s simple.
The most obvious and logical place to find interested email subscribers is on your website itself. If users are visiting your website (regardless of whether they purchase or make a transaction), they have an interest in the information or content that you're providing. Every page of your website should include an email sign-up box that allows users to join your mailing list. We'll discuss the best practices for creating that email sign-up box later in this section. However, every visitor to your website is a potential email subscriber.
We recently personalized an email campaign based on subscriber’s individual location. We created different images for people in the UK, USA, and Australia and tested them against a generic version (with just one location-agnostic image) to see if personalized images worked better. By making the images in our email campaigns personalized to the subscriber’s location, we were able to increase our email click-through rate by 29%.
Your best bet will be to give away something that’s valuable to your target market; for instance, a high-value digital asset on a niche topic. You can give away products (we’ve all seen contests where the prize is a free iPad or gift certificates), however this strategy often leads to entrants who are more interested in the money than in what you have to offer.
Before people hand over their email address, you’re going to have to offer them something enticing in exchange. This could be a free eBook, access to a Webinar, or the promise of discounts or deals exclusively for your subscribers. You could even repurpose some of your existing blog content and turn it into a guide or resource list. Whatever you decide to offer, just make sure it’s something people will recognize as holding true value!
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