It’s no secret that email marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to grow a business in 2021. Due to scheduling software that enables emails to be automated, the process of sending emails has become easier than ever. When done correctly, email allows your brand to reach the right audience at the right time with a limited investment of time and money. However, considering that the average consumer receives about 121 emails per day, email fatigue has never been more prevalent.
With an increasingly wary audience, it’s hardly surprising that brands in 2020 struggle to maintain an engaged list of subscribers. However, with the right strategy in place, you can grow an email list that goes beyond the vanity metrics and genuinely draws positive engagement for your brand. Here, we unpack the 5 steps you need to take to build your email list from 0 to 1000 voracious subscribers.
First: Nail Your Niche
Understanding the target audience for your email list is the most crucial step to attracting signups. Building an email list of random contacts is no difficult feat; the challenge lies in connecting the right audience to your content. Understanding the value that your emails offer will help you connect with those that will benefit from them most – and your ability to draw this connection will ultimately make or break the success of your email marketing in the long run. After all, building a huge email list is pointless if your content fails to be relevant to your audience. They’ll eventually hit that “Unsubscribe” button and never look back.
So, before you set out to build your email list, take some time to understand who your email list is intended for. Carve out their demographics, careers, interests, pain points and needs to create a profile for your ideal audience member. This will help you understand the kind of content that will captivate their interest and make them engage with your emails.
More importantly, conducting this extra bit of market research will help you narrow down your marketing efforts to the spaces where your audience is likely to be present, whether it be a particular social media platform, forum or event. The bottom-line is to find out if the niche audience you’ve carved out has a particular meeting place, and go there.
Set Up Lead Magnets
Now, in order to start collecting subscribers, you likely need to set up the best lead magnets you can. A lead magnet is simply an offer that you give out to prospective customers in return for their addition to your email list. You have probably signed up to these yourself in the past – we all have. Done right, they can be extremely effective for drawing sign-ups to your email list.
A good lead magnet has a strong call to action (CTA), which people click through to sign up to the newsletter in question. It should also have a landing page and importantly a thank you page, to show that you appreciate their interest. Finally, you should ensure that it actually solves a real problem, as that is going to be what excites people for real.
At the end of the day, your lead magnet should provide a real incentive for people to want to sign up for your newsletter. With inbox spam on the rise, people are generally wary of just distributing their email address to anyone who asks for it. You have to be able to provide something of value to that person to make them want to sign up for your list. This comes down to understanding your niche thoroughly. For example, if you know that your audience consists of real estate agents based in Chicago, an eBook or whitepaper that covers real estate trends in Chicago for 2020 is likely to catch their interest – perhaps even enough to offer you their email address in exchange for being able to download it.
Brainstorm the kind of incentives your business could offer to your target audience in exchange for their email address. Whether that’s a free resource like an eBook, blog posts, free shipping, a discount, or free trial, offering this incentive will make the process of building your email list significantly easier.
Focus On Offering Unique & Valuable Content
Regardless of whether you’re running a blog or selling a product, your emails need to provide genuine value to your audience – not only to draw people into subscribing, but to make sure that those who do will be looking forward to each new email. If you don’t put in the hard work to create an email that stands out within the sea of emails in their inbox, it doesn’t matter how many subscribers you have; they’re simply not going to stick around, and your email list will soon dwindle.
To create something great, focus on creating the best narratives, as these are what draw people in most of all.
A key piece of the puzzle is to find ways to drive traffic to your lead magnets so that this traffic can then be converted into email subscribers. The methods to do this might differ depending on your industry. Here are a few effective options:
Start a blog
If you’re willing to play the long game for a big return, start a blog for your company and create unique content based on keyword research. This will help you uncover topics for blog posts that will attract your target audience and help you rank on search engines. Although this is the most time-consuming way to get traffic to your site, it also has the largest ROI and will provide you with a steady stream of recurring traffic in the long run.
Run a contest on social media
A tangible prize is another way to entice subscribers to your email list. By this point, you should understand your audience fairly well – and if you do, you likely know the kinds of tangible goods they’d be hard-pressed to turn down. Consider running a contest or hosting a giveaway social media, where you offer your audience the chance to win a tangible good of their interest in exchange for their email address.
If you know that your audience is likely to hang out on a particular social platform or forum like Facebook, Quora or Slack, consider building a reputation on these platforms by starting a Facebook or Slack online community or becoming a regular contributor to forums. This is essentially another avenue through which you can provide value to your audience in order to gain their trust before asking for their email address. By creating an online space where people look forward to hearing what you have to say, you’ll be able to pitch your email list to a warm audience.
A/B Test Your Landing Pages
Getting a bunch of traffic on your signup page but failing to convert those visitors into subscribers? Your landing page is likely the problem.
When it comes to creating signup pages, there are a few common errors that prevent you from reaching your full conversion potential. The first to consider is breaking the cardinal rule – asking the visitor to complete more than one action on your landing page. This can often lead to a confusing experience and can dilute the conversion power of your page.
If your primary goal is to build an email list with your landing page, make sure that it is the only call-to-action on your page. And while you’re at it, try to keep the fields in your sign-up form to a minimum and create a frictionless experience for your visitors by using one of the professional Google Forms alternatives to manage your registrations.
Ultimately, you should A/B test the key elements of your landing page – everything from the call-to-action button, the copy, and the signup form itself. Tools like Google Optimize, Optimizely, and VWO will allow you to set up your first A/B test in a matter of minutes. In time, these tests will allow you to determine what works to improve your conversion rates – and what doesn’t.
Vrinda Singh is the Growth Marketing Manager at Paperform. She’s been fortunate enough to build campaigns, content, and strategy for companies like LinkedIn, Finder & Schneider Electric in the past. When not at work, she enjoys the soothing chaos of reality TV.