Email marketing is an optimal means for small business to reach and engage their audience to drive revenue: according to research, 59% of shoppers prefer to receive communications from a brand via email. What’s more, it is an extremely cost-effective channel. While it does require some (financial and time) investment, the benefits outperform the costs quite literally: email marketing ROI is stated to be as high as 3800% (or 38 dollars for each $1 invested).
Email marketing may have a low cost-of-entry, yet it does come with its own set of challenges. Unless you’re a small business with a well-polished CRM system, chances are that you’ll need to spend time acquiring and growing your subscriber list to drive the email marketing results you desire.
Unlike large corporations, small business owners rarely have the means to run costly paid campaigns to nourish their email lists. This article will explore three tried-and-tested tactics and channels to grow email lists organically.
Website Tactics for Email
Let’s begin with the basics: there is no email marketing without a company website as you’ll need a home base where to lead your audience from. As a best practice, your professional email address should follow the same format as your homepage address. Say your business name is Northside Flowers, your website URL could be something like northsideflowers.com and your email firstname-at-northsideflowers.com.
Having a professionally constructed email address helps drive brand awareness and credibility. People are more likely to recognize that the email has been sent by a business they know and trust. As we know, getting those open rates up is critical to any email marketing program. If you’re still sending emails from a personal address, now is the time to upgrade — attaining a business email only takes a moment and the benefits will be well worth it.
A good way to determine when and where to feature an email capture section or a pop-up (where the newsletter subscription box appears as a website overlay) is to look at your user behavior. Free website analytics tools like Google Analytics can help map out the most popular pages as it is a no-brainer to include a subscription section where people frequent the most. For example, a hairdresser might get a lot of visitors on their blog where they write about styling trends, while an e-commerce business could benefit from including a prompt on the homepage or when the shoppers are checking out with their email address.
Incentivizing Sign-Ups on Social Media
Don’t just rely on your website to convey the message – harness your social media accounts for organic list growth. As you can’t sign people up directly from social posts, you should attain a customized landing page with a subscription form that is connected to your email marketing software. You can share the link regularly on features like Instagram Stories or as posts on the Facebook News Feed and don’t forget to include it to your About page or bio for always-on capture tactics.
Email marketing is a crowded space and you need to give a reason. Incentivize sign-ups by paying close attention to messaging. Here are a few ideas to consider not only on social but for your website, too.
- Offer a promo code, free shipping or a discount in exchange for a sign-up
- Hold exclusive sales or first-look to newest products to email subscriber
- Tease with members-only invitations to events
- Promise inspirational content related to your field
- Hold sweepstakes or contests, ask people to tag their friends into posts for a chance to win a prize together
Merging Online and Offline
If you are a brick & mortar small business owner or sell products both online and offline, your physical store space and marketing materials could help grow your list, too. The same incentivized tactics listed above can also apply to your offline channels. Can you offer instant gratification through a discount or hold a business card sweepstake? While it may be old school, a surprisingly effective tactic is to leave a notebook with a sign by the checkout counter to ask people to leave their emails.
If acquiring new email subscribers is a priority, consider adding related messaging to your POS materials such as posters and direct mail. You could even print it on your price tags if applicable.
The bottom line is, no matter where you decide to start hunting for those coveted emails, make sure you approach it in a systematic manner. Keep track of the most effective tactics, measure success, scale the ones that work, and pause the ones that don’t.
Pay attention to your email content and performance, too. It would be a shame to spend all that time and effort in acquiring emails but then losing them if the content isn’t either engaging or relevant. Always ask yourself: what value does this newsletter bring to my audience: will they be delighted? Educated? Surprised? Rewarded? As with all marketing, a customer-first approach will bring home that proverbial bacon.