Expert Internet Marketing Advice for Small Businesses
Why do you need to build as large and targeted an email list possible?
Simple. Out of all your online marketing activities, email campaigns generate one of best returns on investment.
But dont take my word for it. 66% of marketers surveyed for the Email Marketing Industry Census of 2017 described a 'good' or 'excellent' ROI for their emails.
And some more UK email statistics from a survey of 1.1 billion permission-based emails from Sign-up.to - they relate to average email campaign performance:
That means that youre communicating with just under 15% of your subscribers, even if they dont click any of your links. Youre also keeping yourself in front of your target market and making sure people dont forget about you.
Of course, the more subscribers you have, the better. How can small businesses get them?
The first impressions of the website your visitors arrive on are enormously important. If it looks spammy, or its very slow, if there are mis-spellings or grammatical errors, theyll bounce right off. Getting these basics right will get you off to a great start.
Ill not say too much about content, as its been said a million times over in other articles. Of course, it needs to be consistently good, and the kind of content that keeps people coming back for more.
However, it also needs to be very targeted. Forget about appealing to the widest possible audience. Keep in your minds eye who your ideal customer is and what solutions you can solve for them when youre scheduling and creating your content. And find out the kind of content theyd like to see by:
Andy Crestotinda reports that Orbit Media saw a huge 750% increase in newsletter signups when they changed their newsletter signup from a link to a very simple box
вЂ¦ where the user could register there and then on the page.
Email marketing companies like Mailchimp and AWeber make it easy to incorporate a sign-up form onto your site. With AWeber you can choose a template for your form - unfortunately this isnt the case with Mailchimp.
That same Andy Crestotinda recommends keeping in mind the Four Ps when it comes to more detailed signup forms:
Email sign-ups that jump out at you after a few seconds and grey the page are known as 'evil pop-ups' in Mailchimp, and for good reason in many cases.
However, the image above is a pop-up on Urban Outfitters. Its good looking one and you can even choose the kind of information you want to receive and sign up with one click.
I personally dont find this one annoying, but others will, and depending on what industry youre in it will either attract lots of new subscribers or send them away in a huff. Definitely worth testing, though.
As Ive mentioned, dont be shy in placing your forms. Have them on every page.
Use a hello bar at top of your page and add to the top of a right hand column, at the very least. There are also footers, under blog posts and other strategic places to consider.
Heres a great article on where to place your sign-up forms on Social Triggers.
Whether thats a discount, a coupon or news of an upcoming sale, added value is a fantastic incentive for people to sign up to your emails.
Heres an example from the Jackson Coffee Company website. Theyre offering a coupon for a free drink, plus a report on brewing the perfect cup of coffee. That 'FREE DRINK on us!' really stands out:
And the sign-up form up close:
If youre offering an e-book, have an image of it. Or include a professional picture of yourself if youre a trustworthy-looking individual. We all respond to a good image so it makes sense to test them out.
Beware, a bad image can have a negative effect.
If your visitor ends up on a separate sign-up page rather than a form, thats alright, (although you should have those in-page forms as well).
If you have a separate page, make sure most or all of the key elements are there that will convince your visitors that its going to be in their best interests to take the plunge and subscribe. Lets look at this page on Sustrans:
On this page, I wouldnt necessarily ask for the surname, although Sustrans probably have a particular reason for doing so. Use as few fields as you can get away with.
I would definitely make the Sign Up Now button more of a contrast to the background, but apart from that, its a good page:
Theories abound as to what works with call to action buttons.
Im afraid the only real way to find out is by testing. Here are some things to try out:
Some important items of text to include in the vicinity of your CTA button are:
Include a simple statement in your emails asking your reader to forward them on to someone if they think itll be useful for them.
And importantly, include a link to your sign-up form so they can do that easily.
Heres a blog post on how Aweber attracts 36.5% of their subscribers through links in their emails.
Just today, I signed up for a Stephen King newsletter because Id seen a Facebook post promising something exciting (Im hoping its a book reading):
And post an excerpt from your latest newsletter on Facebook, encouraging your followers to sign up to find out what happens next - you have a massive 63,206 character allowance in Facebook status updates to do this.
вЂ¦and ask your readers to enter their email addresses to sign up to it.
Heres a excellent article from online contest software providers Incentivibe on how to get the most from your contests: How We Increased Conversion by 700% Using Giveaways to Capture Leads.
By running the contest only on your website, youll gain targeted subscribers who may well stay with you after the contest is finished. Expect lots of unsubscribes when its finished if its an open competition on social media.
Use Twitter and Facebook to remind people that you have a newsletter to sign up to. And do it regularly.
Advertise your new free e-book, offer a contest entry or offer to tweet like Project Eve have done in the tweet shown above.
You can set this up easily with most of the major email marketing services by visiting their Facebook pages and following the directions. Here are a few links:
Make the most of the email signature by including a really good reason why a person should sign up to your emails, and of course include the link to your sign-up form. Youll be able to get this from your email provider.
As well as setting you up as an authority in your field (if its done well), free webinars can be offered in exchange for an email address. If you make a recording, think about hosting it on your website and asking for an email address to watch it.
Theres lots of good information on how to set up your webinar in Host a Successful Webinar.
Internet marketers tend to concentrate on the web, but as you know, theres a whole offline world that you could be making use of to increase the numbers of email subscribers you have. Here are a few suggestions:
Growing an email list can appear to be a daunting prospect to a small business, but its one of the best ways to cultivate an audience that will grow to know you and look forward to your mailings if youre giving them something of value as well as telling them about your new products or services.
Have you discovered any clever ways of attracting more subscribers that youd be willing to share? Wed love to hear them below.