Our inboxes continue to become inundated more and more with emails that feel like nothing more than noise. And email filters continue to redirect marketing-based emails into the abyss. Both give the impression that email, as a marketing medium, has run its course. But the reality is that a well maintained email program rises above the noise and filters and provides a return on investment unmatched by most other marketing channels.
According to Campaign Monitor, “Even with the explosion of new technology, marketers keep coming back to email. The reason is clear – for ten years in a row, email is the channel generating the highest ROI for marketers. For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI.”
Consultancy McKinsey & Company concurs, stating that “E-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media – nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined. That’s because 91 percent of all US consumers still use e-mail daily, and the rate at which e-mails prompt purchases is not only estimated to be at least three times that of social media, but the average order value is also 17 percent higher.”
Does this mean small businesses should abandon their social campaigns and focus entirely on email. Absolutely not! Social remains a growing channel – particularly when backed with great content and influencer support. In fact, small businesses must include social more than ever in their marketing plan. But they must also ensure not to let up on email as it remains an incredibly profitable marketing channel.
The key to a successful email marketing program is a high quality email list. According to BOLDFACE CEO Randy Fenton, “Our marketing success is largely attributed to having an email list comprised of BOLDFACE fans. Those that have opted in to our list open our emails and engage with our brand at rates that outperform other outreach activities. So the larger the list we are able cultivate the greater success we’ll have marketing BOLDFACE products.”
Based on the overwhelming success of email when compared to other marketing channels it is surprising how many small businesses have failed to optimize their Web sites to develop high quality email lists.
The following are five tips to help small businesses attract fans to their email list.
- Make the email opt-in box one of the first elements a visitor sees. While it is true that leading a horse to water will not make it take a sip, how many horses would pass up a refreshing drink after a long journey? The same is true of visitors to a Web site. Visitors that have gone to the trouble of clicking on a link have found the nature of the content of interest. The best time to attract a new subscriber is when interest is high. For that reason it is important to place an email opt-in box at the top of each page. The key to growing an email list is to make the process as easy and pain free as possible. Placing the email opt-in box at the top of each page eliminates the reader’s need to figure out how to subscribe.
- Limit the information collected. Based on the stories involving online information breaches consumers are increasingly hesitant to give up too much information. As such, an email opt-in box that limits the information solely to email address may be more palatable to cautious visitors. Collecting too much information may scare off potential subscribers.
- Finish each article with a call to action. There is nothing like great content to inspire a reader to subscribe to an email list. Having a subscription box at the end of each article is a great way to increase email subscriptions. A reader that gained from the content will want to engage on an ongoing basis to gain timely access to more great content. An opt-in box at the end of each article maximizes subscriptions from satisfied readers.
- Sell it with social proof. There is nothing like social proof to boost email subscriptions. Bar owners create social proof by keeping people in line. “If the line is that long that must be the cool place to hang out” say passers-by as they get into line. Similarly, Web sites should make use of social proof to encourage others to follow. Social proof can be established by posting testimonials, showing an impressive visitor count, revealing a large number of subscribers or other statistic that demonstrates that people find the site valuable. Using social proof subscribers beget subscribers.
- Use bribes. Successful email subscription campaigns make use of special offers. Visitors to a site may not be willing to give up their email unless the price is right. While financial gain is not necessary, some form of incentive may be necessary.
In the example above a pop-up box provided by a vendor such as OptinMonster is presented to the visitor. The pop-up box provides an offer for something of value to the visitor. The visitor is provided with an offer for a free e-book. While full length books are not necessary, something of value to the reader may be needed to encourage subscription.
For example, this post of 5 Tips to Maximize Email Subscriptions converted into a pdf may be valuable enough to Web site owners to encourage email subscription. Other examples can be access to videos, white papers or any other content of value. The best way to determine the content to offer is to understand who the site’s target audience is and what that audience would find valuable.
Web site owners should see immediate results after implementing these five tips. The use of these techniques should convert a greater number of visitors, providing greater marketing opportunities and improved profitability.