When we start using email marketing, we are guilty of being impatient. We expect record-breaking results – yesterday.
The problem with this mindset is that, at the very beginning we are invariably disappointed with the size of our email list.
A small list does not constitute failure
Of course, a good balance between quality and quantity is necessary for successful email marketing. A large list gives good results, there’s no arguing that, but it can take a long time to build it, and that’s completely normal.You might be thinking “I can just buy a list, right? That way I would get the results I want right away!”
Buying a premade list is not recommended. Why? Because like fast food, “fast lists” are just as bad. They make it hard to comply with Canada’s Anti-Spam Law – CASL (even if you buy a list from Jo Schmo, you and only you are responsible for making sure the list is CASL compliant). In addition, purchased email lists are more likely to be perceived as spam by recipients. Imagine receiving an email one morning from a company you don’t know, trying to sell you their product. Would you be interested in what they are offering of would you just disregard the email? If you’re like me, you get annoyed and delete the email without even knowing what’s inside. If you don’t like receiving unrecognisable emails, don’t send emails that way. Don’t do to others, what your wouldn’t want done to you!
For effective email marketing, it’s better to opt for a small list that will get you guaranteed results worry-free, rather than an overwhelming list that will get you minimal results, and might also cause problems and frustration.
“So, how do I build my list?”
I’m glad you asked! There is no magical way, or definite answer that will work 100% of the time. The best advice is this: Add subscription forms everywhere you can, and make them enticing. Your newsletter is interesting, but people who visit your site or social media don’t know it yet! Don’t hesitate to use eye-catching copy that will entice people to give you their email. Here are some examples: “Be the first to hear about our exclusive promotions! “Subscribe to our email list, and get 10% OFF”. In addition to adding it to your website, Facebook page and other social media platforms, you can also have it available on a tablet at your workstation. By having a hosted form open on a web page, it’s easy to ask customers for their email address and let them know that they will receive a request to confirm their subscription in their inbox. Your customers will simply have to click to confirm they want to receive your newsletter, they will then automatically be added to your email list.
Don’t hesitate to collect business cards you receive at networking events! Don’t forget that it is good practice to send them an email following your meeting, advising them that they will be added to your email list (since they are interested in your content).
It’s all in your tone
The era of email sales is over. The current consumer wants to have a business relationship with you, and not feel like a wallet with two legs. So why not diversify your campaigns. Be helpful. Become the go-to person in your field. Position yourself as a pillar in your industry. The more relevant you are, the more people will talk about you and recommend you to others. You will see your list grow with minimal effort. Content marketing will become your best friend.
You already have a network
Your existing customer database is a great starting point for a quality list. Your current customers, past customers (the ones you’ve been in contact with less than 24 months ago), your suppliers, your contacts … anyone with whom you have an ongoing business relationship can be added to your email list. Bonus tip: They are already interested in your products and services, which also makes them your best publicity. Don’t hesitate to make them exclusive offers to spoil them a bit. You will be sure to turn them into your most loyal customers.
Contests … a good strategy?
Yes and no. In my opinion contests are a double-edged sword.
The average consumer is usually attracted to contests by the mention of prizes and free stuff. Chances are you will get an influx of subscriptions following your first contest. If you want to use this strategy, offer a prize that will promote your company and your services! Don’t offer a free trip to the Caribbean if you own a bookstore for example. Give them a free book, so they can talk to their friends and family about it, which will eventually result in extra sales. Don’t forget to add a checkbox to your contest form. Without it, the email addresses cannot be added to your email list. The box must not be checked in advance, in order for your form the be CASL compliant. The person has to make the conscious decision to enter the contest. In my opinion the contest is in an excellent complementary strategy, but not necessarily something to use as a main strategy. It’s never good to put all of your eggs in one basket!
Try exclusive content
When you send your customers intriguing content exclusive to subscribers (video capsules, relevant information, exclusive articles …) you can be sure that if they subscribe they are actually interested in your products or services. This allows you to give them a taste of what you are offering, which gives you a better conversion rate. We live in an era where information is at our fingertips and is available quickly. Customers want to know what to expect before investing money into a service or product.
In conclusion, the use of good practices to build your email list is the main strategy to adopt. A list of active clients or prospects will give you better results and will ensure your compliance with CASL, and prevent you from spending money on a useless email list.