This is the third part of the 3-part series about email list building strategies. Check out the first post about designing a powerful sign-up or opt-in form and the second post about 5 ways to get content clarity. The point of this series is to share some best practices. Rather than offering specific tools, I’ll let you decide how you’d like to implement these email strategies. If you know what you need from a software tool, then you don’t need me to tell you which one to choose.
Before jumping into the core focus of this post, I’d like to share a quick tip with you…
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The best promotional tool you are not tapping into is your existing tribe or community. There are people already on your list, getting great content from you, and happy with the experience.
What do your sign-up process and emails look like?
The sign-up process can be a big deterrent for prospective subscribers, but also the easiest for you to tackle and improve. I suggest going through the step-by-step process or user experience that your email list subscribers go through. Here are some key strategies that may simplify and improve the user experience.
1. Review & Update the Confirmation Page
Right after entering an email address into the sign-up form, your subscriber is brought to a confirmation page. Review what’s on that page. Is the information useful? Consider including directions or what to expect copy on this page (i.e. “You should receive an email confirmation in a moment.”)
2. No Double Opt-In
If people are choosing to opt-in to get emails from you, then turn off the double opt-in that is likely to be the default setting in your email platform. However, include a clear call to action in the first automated email to new contacts so that you know they are getting your emails.
3. Best Time of Day and Day of the Week
There is a range of opinions on this topic, but it comes down to what works for your audience. If you are brand new to email marketing, check out this CoSchedule article about email send times. My experience has been best on Tuesday mornings, but again… that is for my business. Put yourself in the subscriber’s shoes to figure out a good time, do some A/B testing, and outright ask people.
4. Unique Subject Lines
Every day we are bombarded by emails from both those we know and promotions. The welcome email should be clear and direct but after that… creativity strategies count. Consider how you stand out from the crowd with the thing people see first – your subject line. There is a thin line here, so I’ll warn you about getting too creative. There are some things that work better than others. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about it…
5. Segment Your List
This approach works for many people, but not all. Consider the kinds of emails that you send out and the people on your list. Is there any clear line of differentiation that should be set?
For example, your blog/e-newsletter subscribers may be very different from your online course buyers – they have different expectations of you and your content. In that case, it is wise to keep these folks segmented but to offer a cross-pollination of lists (i.e. up-sell the course to your blog subscribers and tell your course buyers about your e-newsletter).
Another approach to segmentation is based on opens. You can send your monthly newsletter to the entire list. Then resend the email (with some small tweaks such as the subject line) to all of those who did not open the email the first time 4-5 days later. This is an especially helpful methodology for event promotions. Many email platforms have this as a built-in feature, but some of the platforms require you to do this manually. Our favorites are Zoho Campaigns and Active Campaign.
STAT: Business and Finance emails have an industry average of 20.47% Open Rate, via Mailchimp.
6. Less is More
Clarity over creativity in your email content. If you get too fancy with the way you word things or try too hard to be unique and creative, then you may lose the audience. Simple messaging and layout get a higher read rate and a much higher click-through rate.
So when you want to ask your existing subscribers to forward this email on to a friend (which you should do), keep the messaging simple with something like “Pay it forward to a friend by sharing this.”
7. Surprise and Delight Emails
This is especially helpful for new email subscribers. When someone gets something free or exciting for no reason at all, it makes their day. Consider something you can give away (a digital download, credit, or gift card) that would offer a surprise to your new subscribers and delight them.
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