Best Practices To Increase This Valuable Asset
The size of your email list depends on both how you acquire the email addresses and how you use them afterwards. Most companies have room for improvement on both fronts. For instance:
Put a signup box (not a link to a signup form) on every page of your website (not just the home page). If you only have one signup box, make sure it’s visible right away without scrolling.
Ideally, there’s a signup box or link at both the top and bottom of the page, so one is always in view, no matter where visitors are on the page. To really maximize signups, consider also using a pop-up window.
Logical places to ask for email signups are at the end of a catalog request form and at the end of the order form. Confirmation emails offer another option. Or you can add an invitation to subscribe at the end of your company email signature.
Many companies overlook offline opportunities to ask for email signups. Possibilities include in your catalog, on packing slips or package inserts, when taking phone orders, and at trade shows.
Post Past Newsletters
To show new subscribers what to expect, post past newsletters on your web site. Doing so will help your search engine rankings, too.
Offer new subscribers a free report, free shipping, or 10% off their next order. I’ve even seen one web site that makes different offers in different signup boxes. Don’t deliver the incentive until the signup is confirmed.
Make It Easy
Using a signup box increases visibility and increases response. Don’t make people go to another page, and keep information requests at a minimum: email address and name.
Send a Confirmation
Make your new subscriber feel welcome with a well-crafted confirmation note. Tell them what you’ll be sending them, and how often. If you’re going to ask for additional information about preferences and demographics, this is the place to do it – and make it optional.
Keep your subscribers coming back for more by giving subscribers useful information instead of promotions in half your mailings – year-round, not just when you expect them to buy. Emailing sporadically or only in season keeps you out of sight, out of mind, which in turn increases spam reports.
Watch out for unsubscribe numbers that trend up and open rates that trend down. These metrics indicate that you’re either overmailing, or not delivering content of value.
Segment When Appropriate
According to one study by Jupiter Research, sending marketing communications that are more relevant to your audience could increase net profits an average of 18 times. For more on this subject, see How and Why to Segment Your Email List on www.letsgrowblog.com (September 1, 2008).
Pay attention to the details of growing and nurturing your email list, and you’ll be richly rewarded with an affordable way to generate many additional sales.