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How to grow your email list

If you only had time do to One Thing for your marketing efforts, this month, you should build your email list. If you don’t believe me, you might take Adam Holden-Bache‘s word for it. Here’s a brief interview I did with him about why and how a business could build their email list. 

David: Thank you for being willing to talk with me today about the one thing you would do to help your business grow online.

Adam: Absolutely. Glad to be here.

David: Since you’re an expert in email marketing, I imagine the one thing you would do to help a business online would be around email marketing. Where would you start if you had just one thing to do this month?

Adam: Sure. The one thing that I would recommend for email marketing success is a quality database. Data is your marketing gold mine. Your email marketing efforts are only as good as your list. And always go with quality over quantity when it comes to data. The size and the quality of your subscriber list is a direct indicator of how successful you’re going to be at reaching your email marketing goals. If you have a small list, you’re just not going to be able to achieve as much success as if you have a large, high-quality list. Especially if it’s one that’s highly engaged and highly active.

David: How would you even begin to develop that list?

Adam: Collect data everywhere that you can. I think that people are not as forward thinking about where they can be collecting data. There are hundreds of places you can collect data. Some of the things are obvious, like from your website. You also want to collect data everywhere you can:

  • Do surveys.
  • Collect data at offline and online events.
  • Have people register for downloads.
  • Collect it at point of sale.
  • Collect it on all your social channels.
  • Tweet out links to your email list with a teaser about what your next newsletter includes.
  • Put it on your email signature and in your personal emails.
  • Put it on all your print ads and direct mail pieces.
  • Put it in your mobile apps.
  • Put it on your blog.

There are many places that you can collect data that people just aren’t taking advantage of.

grow-by-33-percentWhen you do that, you’ll see a lot of growth in your database. That’s important, because there’s a lot of marketers saying right now that their list is growing slowly. 83% of marketers say that their list is experiencing slow growth or neutral growth or is shrinking. A lot of that is because around a third of your email list is going to become invalid over the course of a year. Most of the stats say somewhere between 23 and 33 percent of your email addresses will become unused or they’ll change. People will leave the business address. They’ll abandon their account and start a new one. Every year you have to grow your list by that 23 to 33 percent just to break even and not experience negative growth.

It’s important to make it easy for people to sign up. Give people a reason or a benefit to sign up. Make sure you deliver on what you promise after the people do sign up. That way, you’ll create an engaged and responsive email subscriber list.

David: Yeah, I hear what you’re saying. I can feel the pressure of a busy business owner or a taxed marketing department saying, “I don’t have time to develop this list. I’ll just buy a list from somewhere.” What do you think about that?

Adam: I never recommend buying a list. It always leads to negative results. I have never seen a purchased list do better than break even on ROI, and those have been few and far between.

What I always tell people is that instead of putting money into renting or buying a list, do something that will attract the right audience to you:

  • Do some content marketing. For example, write a white paper.
  • Put out some educational content – something that’s helpful.
  • Do a webinar. Get people to sign up or get people to register for a download. Then, promote that through your social channels.
  • Promote it through paid search or social media promotions.
  • Promote it through other ways that can drive traffic to your content.

When you rent a list you get one time delivery of a disruptive email that is going to land in someone’s inbox who has never heard of you. They don’t know your brand. They don’t know your business. They don’t know what you’re marketing. You’re trying to sell to those people by being disruptive. There’s a very small chance that that’s going to work.

Instead, try to attract the right audience. Do it through ways that will help you get the quality leads you’re looking for. Then, have a lead nurturing program in place to develop those quality leads and convert them into customers.

David: You mentioned a whole lot of different ways to get and build your email list. What is, hour by hour, the most efficient one of those methods to develop that list?

Adam: I think there are two things that I would recommend.

The first thing is your website. You need to have sign ups everywhere. People are used to having a sign up page somewhere on the site. Maybe in the right column or somewhere on the home page. Put it in more places than you think. Those tend to get results. Have it in your header. Have it in your footer. Have it in the middle of a blog post. Create an opt-in popup window when people first come to your site. You can set all these things, too, so they appear once and go away on subsequent visits, so it’s not overly intrusive to visitors. I’ve seen a lot of statistics that show popups on websites generate a 200 to 400 percent increases in sign ups.

increase-signups

The second things it to provide downloads or online events around content, such as webinars. I’ve found that some of the best leads will come by people registering to download a white paper or people registering for a webinar. If you put the content out there and people want to receive it, they will give you their information. And they expect that they will be marketed to if they provide their information in exchange for something valuable. As a marketer, you have to approach that tactfully. But if you keep delivering them good information on the topic they’re interested in then you’ll grow that relationship.

David: Thank you. I hope it goes unsaid how much respect I have for you when it comes to email marketing. I was especially excited to hear about the book that you’re producing here coming up. Can you tell us a little more about that?

Adam: Sure. First of all, I’ve been a marketer in the email space for over 15 years now. I’ve managed a lot of email campaigns for a lot of brands. I’ve specialized in the B2B marketing space. I’ve done a lot of writing on B2B email marketing including blog posts and white papers.

About two or three years ago I got the idea of aggregating all that writing and putting it into a guide for marketers. Where I ended up was with a book called ‘How to Win at B2B Email Marketing, A Guide to Achieving Success.’ I think guide is the right word for it. It brings people through all aspects of the email marketing campaign. It starts with having a goal and how to achieve your goals. It has information on data. It talks about the email message and all it’s parts. It covers testing and analysis. I think it’s a pretty good resource for marketers who are interested in using email to achieve business success.

It’s going to be available at the end of October. It’s available now for pre-order at b2bemailmarketingbook.com.

I’m going to be speaking at some upcoming events in the area including the BMA Carolinas luncheon on October 15th. If anyone wants to come out and check that out, I definitely would be interested in having you join me there.

David: Thanks. I signed up once you told me that you were speaking. I hope other people can come, too. Thank you so much for your time. I appreciate you just giving me a few and talking about this. I think it was super helpful.

Adam: Thanks for having me. I appreciate the invite and look forward to hearing what people think about the book. If anyone would like to reach out just email adam@b2bemailmarketingbook.com.

 

Do you have trouble building your email list? Share your questions, in the comments, below. Do you know any other ways to build an email list? Share them with us, too.

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