Of all the digital marketing channels, e-mail marketing is often considered the grand-daddy of digital. It’s not uncommon to hear phrases like “does anyone even read email anymore?” or “no one wants more spam in their inbox.” The truth of the matter is…e-mail isn’t going anywhere and it can be an extremely effective marketing channel when done well.
3 E-mail Stats to Know:
- On average, businesses make $38 for every $1 they spend on e-mail marketing.
- People are twice as likely to sign up for your e-mail list than engage with you on Facebook.
- 86% of customers would like to receive promotional emails at least monthly from the companies they do business with.
In order to take advantage of the benefits of email marketing though, you need an email list and we have a few thoughts on what small businesses can do to build their lists.
Network and Ask
As a business owner, you’re likely already networking and making new contacts, whether they be new clients, potential customers, or new businesses associates. Instead of just taking a business card and putting it into your rolodex or your personal e-mail contacts, simply ask, “hey, would you mind if I added you to my e-mail list?” This is an easy way to keep your contacts up to date on what you’re doing in hopefully a non-spammy way. Similarly, if you’re holding events, make sure there’s a sign-up list at your booth or table.
If you have an e-mail list sign up on your website, give users a reason to sign up. While there will always people who want to keep up with your business and will sign up without an incentive, sometimes potential customers need a little push. Can you provide users with a discount, free content, a discount of some sort?
Partner with Other Organizations
If there are other organizations or businesses that have customers that fit your target market, then consider co-hosting events or going after subscribers more directly by “guest e-mailing” to each other’s e-mail lists. This would involve you composing an e-mail that provides value to another organization’s e-mail list while also encouraging them to sign up for your e-mail list for more content.
Create an Experience Worthy of WOM
It’s fine if your e-mails primarily consist of company updates and promotions, but those aren’t the type of e-mails you as a consumer would forward on to someone, right? Those aren’t the types of e-mails that make you eagerly tell your friend “you HAVE to sign up for this e-mail list.” An e-mail list that has that sort of buzz usually has two features:
- The e-mails have exclusive content (i.e. there’s content in the e-mails that can’t be found anywhere else)
- The content within the e-mails are either very helpful or very entertaining
My favorite example of e-mail marketing is Craigslist. It was started by a guy who just wanted to help locals in his area. He gathered information about local social events of interest to people like him (folks in the tech sector) and created an e-mail distribution list. Members began using the list to include notices about job openings and real estate. Word of mouth picked up and the list grew so huge that Craigslist.org was born.
Now, that was in 1995. In 2018, it’s so much harder to come up with information to include in an e-mail that isn’t easily found via a Google search. But there’s fun to be had in the challenge, right?
Take a moment now to craft the unique selling proposition of your e-mail list, a.k.a. why do users HAVE to sign up for it. Write it down and throw it in the comments section for us. The Marketing MyWay team is looking for more e-mail lists to sign up to.