How To Build Your Online Marketing Email List

2020 has been quite a strange year for retailers. Many who have resisted making the full transition to e-commerce are finding themselves forced to rely on it. Curbside pickup is a new norm. Shipping is now something retailers cannot live without. Along with e-commerce comes the need to use email marketing to increase sales and communicate with customers.

If your business didn’t already have a robust list of customer email addresses, you may find yourself wondering where to even begin. This article is meant to help you begin growing your email marketing list and keep it thriving.

Social Media

Hopefully, by now you have some presence on social media. Use the audience you have built there to start building your email list. Facebook offers the ability to add a signup button on your page under the cover photo. Make sure you’re taking full advantage of that.

Post on social letting your customers know that you’re beginning an email program. Be honest and authentic (and promise not to spam them) and you may be surprised how successful a social campaign can be. You can boost posts and run ads directed at those who follow your page, those who live locally, or those who might be interested in your product or product genre using interest targeting.

Ask for referrals

Your current customers are a great resource for bringing in new customers through word of mouth. With those referrals can come new email addresses to add to your list.

Add a signup form to your website

If you don’t already have one, this is very important. People are coming to your website because they’re interested in what you sell, so you should make use of that interest. Have a clear call to action to sign up for emails that gain subscribers access to special deals and coupons, product announcements, and other fun things.

The signup form should be in a conspicuous place on your site, or perhaps in a pop-up. Ask only for the most important information, such as name and email address. If you start asking for too much information, people will often abandon the form. Remember, you can always create campaigns later that dig a little deeper, such as asking for their birthday for a special birthday discount.

Consider a direct mail campaign

Many have tried to declare direct mail dead since online marketing took precedence, but that is not necessarily true. Bad direct marketing is dead. If you can create compelling offers to local people who are likely to shop with your business, direct marketing can still yield sales.

You could try using direct mail to encourage people to sign up for emails to gain access to special deals and promotions. Use a short URL or QR code that takes customers to an email signup form (make sure that form is mobile-friendly!) where they can opt-in for your email marketing.

This can work both ways, too. Once you’ve built a solid customer list, you can export that to use in direct mail campaigns, doubling your visibility. Sometimes, email inboxes get a bit crowded, and a well-designed piece of direct mail could actually stand out in the mailbox!

Segment your list early and often

One of the keys to success in email marketing, regardless of list size, is segmentation. Segmentation is grouping your email marketing contacts based on similar defining traits. Those traits could be any number of things depending on the goal or subject of your email campaign.

For example, you could be sending an email about a product that is back in stock, or a new product that complements another product. In this case, you could segment your audience by those who’ve purchased that product SKU and cater your messaging directly to them. The email wouldn’t feel relevant to your entire audience, but would feel personalized to those who have made the purchase.

Don’t Forget List Hygiene

List hygiene is a great practice to implement right from the beginning. There are a couple indicators that you should remove email addresses from your list so you can get the most out of your email marketing campaigns.

Email bounces

Sometimes customers give bad email addresses. Sometimes there is a typo in what they entered in your form. Sometimes they shut down an email address to consolidate, or they leave a job that they had emails going to. Any of these could be reasons your emails bounce.

Email service providers use the percent of emails that bounce as an indicator that your email marketing list is quality. Too many bounced emails could get your domain penalized. It’s important to set a cadence, perhaps monthly, to remove bounced email addresses from your list.

Inactive email addresses

If your last-ditch effort of a winback campaign doesn’t work to reactivate a customer, you may just have to resign yourself to the fact that they’re no longer interested. That’s okay, but in that case you shouldn’t continue to email them.

This is particularly important if your email service provider charges by the number of emails sent or has a plan limit on emails. You don’t want to waste your money on email addresses with zero ROI.

So implement these different approaches and before you know it, you’ll have a healthy-sized database to rely on for your marketing purposes!

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