Small business owners seriously underestimate the power of being invited into their target customer’s inbox.
Although inboxes are flooded with sales and promotional emails from retailers, there is evidence that proves that email is still one of the best ways to engage an audience and acquire customers. Case in point:
- Email marketing yields an average 4,300% return on investment for businesses in the United States. (Direct Marketing Association)
- Email conversion rates are three times higher than social media, with a 17% higher value in the conversion. (McKinsey & Company)
- Email is nearly 40 times better than Facebook and Twitter at acquiring customers. (McKinsey & Company)
After reading those stats, you’re probably starting to reconsider your email list and might even be regretting not growing it sooner and faster. In the world of digital marketing, your email list is a huge part of your online business, and quite frankly, the only thing that you control. Our social media accounts are at the mercy of the networks and platforms, but our email lists are ours to administrate as we see fit.
You’re probably thinking, Okay, Emmelie, but I have full control over my Instagram and Twitter accounts. Yes, but if Twitter and Instagram changed their algorithm tomorrow in the way that Facebook has, we would all suffer. In the matter of one algorithm change, Facebook was able to eliminate our ability to reach the community that we have worked so hard to build.
Now, in order to get the kind of engagement and reach that we are used to, you have to pay to boost posts and buy Facebook ads. If Twitter shut down tomorrow, I would be saying goodbye to almost 5000 followers. Same for Instagram. With your email list, you aren’t giving up access to and the success of your community.
What would you do if social media ceased to exist tomorrow?
It is my hope that by now I have changed how you look at email lists and email marketing. Here at SumAll, we have seen the benefits of email marketing week after week. Here is a proven system to build your list that has worked for us, and other companies.
1. Create tangible pieces of information like worksheets, infographics, and printables that your audience can download.
You’ve seen this form of content marketing and lead generation everywhere. They are called lead magnets or content upgrades. Hubspot is amazing at this. They offer tons of ebooks, guides, and whitepapers in exchange for your email address. By collecting website visitors’ email addresses in exchange for information that they really want to read, companies are able to generate leads for future products and services and nurture those leads with an email program. To get started, use BuzzSumo and/or Google Analytics to identify your best-performing content and create a download based on that topic(s).
2. Drive traffic to your lead magnet.
Use your social media channels to promote these free products and resources that you are using as lead magnets and content upgrades. Drive traffic to your content’s landing page by sharing it on all the channels you are already active on. Share and reshare on Twitter, post a photo of your new resource on Instagram, create a pin, post to Facebook and make it prominent on your website and within your blog posts. People can’t download if they don’t know it exists. You can use tools like Leadpages or your email service provider to deliver these downloads after you collect the email.
3. Create other kinds of content that you can repurpose.
Downloads aren’t the only way to collect emails. Consider hosting a free webinar with an email signup requirement. After you deliver your value-packed virtual session, don’t forget to repurpose the recording as another opt-in incentive for those who may have missed it or are new to your site. The same can be done with your Periscope videos and podcasts recordings. Make a sign-up required to view or listen to the recording.
In my opinion, building an email list is easy. Consistently adding value with every email that you send is the difficult part. When your potential customers allow you to contact them directly via their inbox, it is not to be taken lightly. Consumers are constantly bombarded with marketing messages, deals, sales, and coupons. How are you going to be different?
Updated November 22, 2017.