As most of us know, it costs businesses more money to attract new customers than to maintain an existing database. Focusing on customer retention is a valuable long-term solution for increasing your businesses revenue and maintaining sustainable growth, but it’s not always easy to cultivate brand loyalty.
One way to do it, is to create content that adds value to your customers’ lives. While there are several ways to do this, email marketing is one of the most powerful ways to reach your audience, if done correctly.
We’ve all subscribed to a newsletter or two at some point in our lives because we wanted to know more about a particular service, person or product. The biggest brands like ASOS or even cosmopolitan cultivate customer loyalty, and in doing so, create brand advocates, by providing valuable content such as special offers, promotional materials, news and events in their branded newsletters.
There is no easy way of growing an email database – it takes patience and a clear understanding of your ideal customer to build a quality database.
In this blog, we’ll cover a few tried-and-tested strategies to build an email database.
Only ever send valuable content (and never spam!)
Think about your own emails which you open and those you delete immediately. You probably never waste time opening emails that you don’t believe will provide value to you or your business in some way. So why would you expect your customers to be any different?
When you ask for your customer’s email, make sure that whatever you’re sending them, whether it’s exclusive news about a product or service, a coupon or early access to a new product or an insightful ebook, adds value to their life.
Create a promotional pop-up ad
A pop-up might sound annoying at first, but timed pop up ads are a great way of building an email list. The pop up ad can appear either when a visitor lands on the homepage or after they spend a certain amount of time on a landing page.
A popup with relevant content on a page that gets a lot of traffic has a higher chance of gaining subscribers. For example, you could offer a discount on a particular product page, or a site wide discount for first time purchases.
All the visitor has to do is type in their email address to receive it. When setting up these ads, make sure your current email subscribers are excluded from these popup ads to avoid irritating them.
Create a timed pop-up survey
Sometimes a website visitor needs a few moments to get to know your business before you can start pushing registration forms on them. To build your email list, you could try reaching out to visitors on specific landing pages with surveys related to that content. A simple survey with a yes or no question is the best option to start with since most visitors are often deterred from signing up when the form is too long and they don’t have the time.
A great example of this is the survey used by the University of Alberta to increase their email list. The popup ad worked so well that they saw their subscriber list grow by almost 500% in one year.
Pop-up surveys like these only appear when a website visitor remains on a landing page for a certain amount of time, say 10 seconds. At this point your visitor has shown interest in the content, so ideally they should be more inclined to sign up for your emails. If you feel like the ad is working, you can refine the content and add more information.
Offer free resources
This is one of the best ways to gain potential customers. Everyone wants to learn more about things they are passionate about and free, relevant information from a credited source is something no one would pass on.
Offering your customers ‘knowledge based products’ such as ebooks, interviews with industry leaders, case studies, tips, and presentations provides them with the kind of valuable content that they want, and making it freely available (they only need to sign up for it) much more desirable.
Promote your email newsletter on your social media channels and email signature
You might not have an extensive list of email subscribers, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a network to communicate with. If you have even one active social media channel with a large fan base or businesses you communicate with over email, why not use those connections to build your email list.
You could try pitching a newsletter on your social media accounts – the people who follow you already like you, but aren’t necessarily people who would sign up for emails. Give them the option and review results to create targeted emails for this audience.
If you’re not keen on promoting email newsletters among your social media followers, you can include a clickable link in your email signature that directs to a blog post or landing page with subscription CTAs. You are in constant communication with a diverse group of people via email, and when they get value from your mails, they may want to explore the option to click a links and get to know your business better.
Social media contests
Another way to collect emails on social media is by running competitions on your pages and asking people to enter with their email addresses.
Here are just a few ways you can multiply the number of email leads your contests generated by making them as participant-friendly as possible.
- Offer multiple prizes
Offering multiple small-value prizes is an effective way of garnering more entries. Why? Because people weigh their chances of winning before they enter a contest. So more chances of winning, the better.
- Support your community
You can offer prizes or opportunities that support your community through sustainable, products or services. A free meal at a local restaurant or a chance to get involved with a charity.
- Vote for your favourite
This is great for holidays. Here you can ask people to post a picture of either themselves or a friend or pet that is dressed up according to a theme. And then everyone has to vote for the winner. (The trick here is to get participants to register with their emails to take part in the competition.)
Host a networking event
Lastly, if you want to take things offline and try something different, consider hosting an educational or networking event that draws prospects to your business. Not only will this help you meet new people and gain new contacts, it also helps to create an engaged community. If you’re not comfortable doing this on your own, you could co-host with other key influencers in your industry or industry bodies.
Now that you have the basics covered, you’re ready to start building your list of email subscribers! And once you have a substantial list, you can continue to build on the brand loyalty and even use your customers as advocates to further promote your business, by way of referrals. If you want to get started now, but don’t have the time or you’re simply not sure where to start first, don’t worry, we’re here to help. Simply book a digital strategy advisory session with our digital specialists and they’ll help you get on track, the right way.