Despite the rise of social platforms (Instagram, YouTube, Clubhouse, TikTok), email marketing campaigns remain one of the main communication channels. It fits all types of businesses and audiences and fulfills numerous functions: grows the contact base, promotes products and corporate events and builds long-lasting relationships with the brand.
However, it does all this provided you’ve collected your contacts the right way and constantly watch over its validity. Although collecting and maintaining a healthy contact base is a long and effort-consuming process, it doesn’t have to be complicated as long as you know email marketing best practices. Check the below list of advice on how to build a good email contact list that will generate leads and customers.
1. Publish a subscription form on your site.
The easiest and the most obvious way to start collecting email addresses is to add a subscription form on your site. Add it to every page of all sections, like catalog, blog, help resources, etc. As a rule, forms are placed at the bottom to give a user some time to explore your site before asking to subscribe. However, if you have long pages and it takes much scrolling to get to the bottom, consider placing a form above the fold. Alternatively, put two forms on the page – on top and at the bottom – to capture users with different behaviour.
Note that if you opt for two forms, it’s better not to ask for a subscription anywhere else. When a user only opens your page and gets instantly attacked with multiple forms, pop-ups, bots, and animated banners asking to subscribe they can get overwhelmed and go looking for a quieter place to shop. Avoid being too pushy and demanding.
As do forms itself, make them as simple as possible. People don’t like filling long forms, and two required fields with name and email address are typically enough to start the conversation going. If you feel like you need extra details (location, age, preferences) to send more personalized emails, ask them later or make the corresponding fields optional.
2. Add a subscription form on social media pages.
Facebook allows to add a subscription form straight on the main page of your account. In Instagram, you can add a link to your site form in bio. In YouTube, there is a section About where you can also enlist all your platforms, including the site or blog with the form. If your company is active on Twitter or LinkedIn, add the corresponding links to the account description and don’t forget to mention the available subscription option.
3. Implement email confirmation.
Email confirmation is actually a step that follows subscription, but it’s essential to grow a healthy contact list. Collecting contacts isn’t enough to run successful marketing; collecting relevant contacts interested in your product is what matters. You can have 100,000K on your mailing list, but if half of them are no longer active, invalid or are spam traps, you’ll be wasting your time and marketing budget.
Email confirmation helps avoid such problems. After a user has filled the form, send them an email asking to confirm their address and add them to your campaign lists only after they successfully do it. This will not only save you money but also protect your domain reputation and overall deliverability.
4. Offer new subscribers a practical gift.
It’s not hard to guess that a little incentive can prompt a user to give their email address more willingly. But to do so, it should be practical and easy to use at the moment of subscription. 10% off for a limited collection that will be released in eight months doesn’t sound as appealing as 10% off the first order that can be made right now. Few will use a free meal coupon if it can be used only when buying a business class ticket.
A discount for the first purchase and free shipping are the most common perks that apply to most products and are most likely to be used. If you sell online products or services that don’t need shipping, offer an extended trial period or access to limited content as a reward for subscribing.
5. Create gated content with limited access.
Gated content is content with restricted access, and a user can see only part of it. To disclose the rest, they need to provide their email addresses. Such practice is popular among media publishers, content writing services, analytical platforms, and B2B blogs. Gated content can include feature articles written by prominent journalists, collections of rare photos, reports with industry benchmarks, advice by field experts, conference videos, etc.
Mind though that gated content will generate you new subscribers only if the info you’re giving access to is really valuable. Before starting to craft such a piece, find out what is important for your audience and why it will make them let you into their inboxes.
6. Collect emails during registration with online events.
Online events include a big variety of activities depending on your type of business: webinars, workshops, Q&A, masterclasses, etc. Registration for the event automatically presupposes the user leaving their email address. 99% of brands then add these addresses to their contact lists and start sending them marketing emails. But not all users understand why they suddenly start receiving campaigns from the brand they once got in touch with during the Q&A session. Many unsubscribe after the first email, and this doesn’t contribute to the brand’s sender reputation and deliverability rate.
To avoid this, consider adding the opt-in checkbox to the form with the notifying text. By selecting it, the registrant gives you permission to send them marketing offers. Such an approach may slow down the base growth but will improve its quality. It’s definitely easier to nurture the leads who are initially interested in your product and get to your contact list by choice.
7. Clean up your contact base on a regular basis.
A clean up of a contact base is the process of checking whether the current email addresses are valid and available for sending campaigns. Apart from detecting spam traps and fake addresses, email list validation helps identify inactive subscribers who haven’t responded to your emails for a while.
Even if all of your subscribers once agreed to hear from you, with time, they may lose interest in your offers for different reasons not necessarily related to your product. You need to learn to let such people go. If the user hasn’t opened your emails for over 6 months, send them a series of personalized reactivation campaigns and check whether they are active on other channels (browser notifications, app, SMS, social media). If your reactivation emails are ignored and the user shows no activity elsewhere, remove them from the list.
You can do such cleaning manually or use an email validation tool. There are a number of them on the market, so choose the one that covers your needs. Apart from scanning your base, such platforms often offer additional functionality like email server testing or blacklist monitoring. Explore the options and use the relevant ones to keep your contact base healthy and your open rate high.
To Sum Up
The below are basic tips on email list growing, but the marketing arsenal isn’t limited to them. It’s possible to collect email addresses offline, through collaboration with partners, during the app registration of first purchase. The main thing to note is that no matter what method you’re using, the person should give permission to send them your materials. Otherwise, you’ll fill your base with cold and uninterested contacts who’ll hardly ever transform into buyers.