E-mail is one of the best tools for professionals and small businesses. Social media is not going to replace e-mail, so you really need to pay attention to your e-mail marketing. It can give you one of your best return on investments.
If you’re in social media, some people have said social media is going to replace e-mail. This is not true. The main way social media counts, like LinkedIn and Facebook etc., is that they communicate to you through e-mail.
The best overall marketing program is to have an integrated marketing strategy, e-mail being one part of it.
But all the other elements should definitely be there. Here are ten ways to grow your e-mail list.
#1: Ask Everyone You Know to Join Your E-mail List
You probably have an e-mail list built up already, so whatever e-mail system you’re using, whether it’s Outlook, Gmail, etc., set up some system to distribute your e-mails. Then, ask your current e-mail list to be the starting list in your marketing e-mail list.
#2: Make it a Priority for Reception to get Emails
Whatever system you have for greeting people, if you have a receptionist or a cashier for example, make sure that they work to collect e-mails. I heard a story once about an IHOP that made collecting e-mails a real priority. They would offer specials, and the sales in that store did much better than comparable restaurants. So make it a priority, an absolute priority, across your business staff to collect e-mails and, of course, have permission to send them communications.
#3: Create Valuable Content
Here are a few examples of some content. For example, here’s a veterinarian, and right on their website is a blog where they’ve got free advice, free content, and excellent articles about caring for your cat or your dog. That’s what people are searching for.
Hastings Veterinary Clinic’s website includes a blog caption in the header (www.hastingsvet.com). You can provide that information right on your website and your blog.
Another example is creating a video. There is one called Whiteboard Wednesdays and this is a management consultant providing information. This is another example of good content.
#4: Add an E-mail Sign-Up on Your Website
Make sure you have an e-mail sign-up on your website, and they can be just as simple as free blog updates or a free newsletter – something that’s dead simple. In some cases it’s best to place it high up on the right-hand side of the page so it’s visible to people. You can also have a pop-up window to capture e-mails when people first arrive on your site.
There are pros and cons to pop-ups. Some people hate them, others say, “But you do get better results when you use the pop-ups.” So even though some people hate them, if you get better results with pop-ups, then do it. If you want to try it, try it.
#5: Offer E-mail Newsletter Sign-up on Facebook, etc.
You can also put the sign-up call at the end of great content. For this particular example, think of an excellent article and at the bottom is, “Sign up for more.” Offer your e-mail newsletter sign up on Facebook, Twitter, and so on.
#6: Carry a Stack of Business Cards with You and Ask People for Theirs
This is real simple. Carry a stack of business cards and just basically exchange cards with like-minded people. Obviously, just adding a bunch of names that don’t make any sense isn’t of any use. Instead you should try to go to any kind of networking meeting, exchange business cards, and add them to your e-mail list.
#7: Create a Special Offer, e.g. Free eBook
Creating a special offer gives your audience incentive to subscribe to your e-mail list. For example, you could create a free e-book i.e. a how-to guide, or you could offer a kind of case study report, or any really valuable information that people download. You capture their e-mail, and now you have them in your database.
#8: Have a Simple Enrollment – Not a Life History
Make sure your enrollment form is fairly simple. Don’t just get their e-mail and let them subscribe. If they want to contact you, they know how to get a hold of you, so asking them for their name, address, phone number, number of children, and such – that is going to reduce the number of people who are going to sign up.
#9: Use a Reputable E-mail Service to Get and Maintain Credibility
Make sure you use a reputable service to distribute your e-mails. Constant Contact, MailChimp, and Emma are all fairly common and fairly inexpensive.
Unless you’ve got a huge mailing list, it’s going to be $25 to $30 a month for the service. There, you can use newsletter templates and manage your database. They have an easy way to opt out, all in compliance.
#10: Encourage Referrals
Ask other people to refer you. That’s a great way to get people who receive your information for them to pass on to other people. It comes with an endorsement, which is the number one thing people trust.
Bottom line: if you’re looking for more sales, you should absolutely put e-mail into your marketing program. Make getting contacts a priority. Use a reputable e-mail system, like Constant Contact or Mailchimp. Create great content in your newsletter. Make it easy to subscribe. Keep it real simple, then monitor your stats and adjust accordingly.
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