Category Archives: Email List Generation

Businesses always look for ways to grow their email contact lists

Businesses always look for ways to grow their email contact lists

The science of email marketing has come along way since its conception at the beginning of the digital era, but one thing has remained the same: When it comes to contact lists, having access to more names in an email database increases marketers' chances for a successful campaign. While a lot of time and energy is devoted to crafting perfect subject lines and engaging newsletter content, there is no replacement for having an expansive set of email addresses flood customer inboxes.

Thankfully for marketers, a recent article from Josic provided a number of methods to turn a meager contact list into an abundant supply of receptive readers. For many strategists this means returning to the basics of email marketing. Far too many marketers fail to make their intent clear when they offer the opportunity for individuals to sign up for an email newsletter. Simply asking online readers to "sign up today" will not convince anyone to type in their contact information.

Exclusivity and clarity are essential for growing an email contact list
Email marketers can never be too transparent when it comes to giving consumers the information they need to make a decision. Because the customer has already expressed interest in a brand by exploring a site or social media page, strategists should feel confident in what they have to offer. Josic suggested that every blog post on a company website should offer a call-to-action for interested readers to sign up for newsletters and additional content. 

While some individuals will subscribe to an email chain out of genuine curiosity, many skeptical readers will want a better reason to provide a business with their email addresses. Business 2 Community urged businesses to create incentives that will make it difficult for visitors to resist signing up. Examples included free ebooks and reports, but the best incentives offer access to exclusive content that can only be viewed in a user inbox. Who needs to be emailed information that's already online to view at any time? Marketers providing exclusive email content are likely to see their contact lists expand rapidly.

The digital whims of the modern Internet user are impossible to predict. That is why Josic emphasized the importance of including opt-in boxes no matter where a reader clicks on a site. This will give readers the opportunity to subscribe whenever the feeling strikes. Smart marketers will also place the occasional pop-up box in longer articles and give first-time buyers the chance to subscribe after they make their initial purchase. Strategists will also take advantage of social media platforms to drive traffic back to company websites and let users opt-in from there.

The logistics of successfully managing an expanding contact list
Businesses that find their email database overflowing with names and information may have difficulties utilizing their resources effectively, according to Business 2 Community. Marketers need to specify the kind of data they require and find ways to sort new addresses using tools such as customer relationship management (CRM) software. Once this data has been sorted, companies should keep track of which recipients open emails, click back to the website and eventually make a purchase. 

Setting realistic goals is a big part of any successful business. That is why Business 2 Community urged email marketers to set list-building targets for their teams to pursue on a given time horizon. When the desired number is reached, companies should examine their data to determine which opt-in methods were more effective than others in driving site traffic and sales. This information will be key when launching the next campaign. 

Create an engaged email marketing list

Create an engaged email marketing list

When marketers talk about building an email list, they generally mean something beyond the initial acquisition of a set of email addresses. Companies' email lists shouldn't be static. Rather, they should be constantly growing as more people sign up to receive high-quality email content and promotions from brands that excite them.

Creating that kind of growth and energy isn't a simple proposition. It requires an active, hands-on approach, as marketers need to implement multi-pronged strategies for encouraging signups so that more customers are being added to their lists than are unsubscribing. Sticking to a few best practices can help ensure your email marketing list expands rather than contracts.

Craft exclusive, useful content
One particularly effective way to encourage signups is to offer information, offers and content via email that aren't available elsewhere. This means not only differentiating yourself from your competitors but also making sure your messages don't simply repeat copy from your website. In a post for Business2Community, business expert and blogger Alex Strickland discussed how appealing exclusive content can be to potential customers.

"By providing those on your mailing list with information not available on your site, your customers are more likely to read each message, and begin looking forward to them," Strickland wrote.

Design your site to promote signups
Of course, contacts who sign up to your list organically are likely to do so from your website. As such, it's key that you optimize your landing pages for the purpose of growing your email list.

Small business writer Megan Totka recently wrote in a column for Small Business Trends about the effectiveness of using a blog page as a way of drawing in email subscribers. She recommended including a feature box prominently on the page so that readers can easily provide the company with their email addresses. Furthermore, offering some kind of free download – a whitepaper or eBook, for example – in exchange for email addresses is likely to encourage signups, Totka noted.

Get simple
At all costs, avoid making the email signup process unnecessarily complicated. In a post for iMedia Connection, Act-On Software Senior Writer Monique Torres noted that page-loading delays as short as one second in length have been shown to lower conversion rates by 7 percent. She also pointed out that asking for too much information is likely to generate resistance from customers. Instead, require only the minimal data for email list subscription – name and email address – unless you're specializing the content in such a way that requires a greater set of information.

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How bloggers can embrace email marketing

How bloggers can embrace email marketing

As the popularity of blogs continues to grow and readers rely on highly regarded Web writers for cutting-edge industry news and insights, bloggers may be looking to expand their customer bases so that they can more effectively monetize their sites. An email marketing list can be an excellent tool for online writers who want to take a multi-platform approach to getting exposure for their content.

Involve readers
Turning your blog's reader base into a set of email contacts can be very effective. Visitors already trust the blogs they frequent for high-quality content, so it should be comparatively easy to encourage them to subscribe to your email campaigns or newsletters.

In a post for Social Barrel, social media and mobile technology writer Francis Ray Balolong suggested that bloggers take advantage of user-generated content in their efforts to gain email subscribers. Writers who curate a company blog, in particular, can promote contests and promotions through their Web pages as a way of getting readers to provide their email addresses.

Stay consistent
Veteran bloggers are already well acquainted with the necessity of updating their sites with a steady stream of content, so that readers view their blogs as a consistent, reliable source of information and a center of energy and excitement they can take part in.

"Offering engaging, informative news and interaction enables you to stay relevant and top of mind," Vin Turk, senior vice president for audience development at Madison Logic, wrote in a column for Marketing Profs.

As such, bloggers venturing into the world of email campaigns should take care to create a schedule of email sends that they can keep to consistently.

Think creatively
Since writers' bread-and-butter is the creative framing of their material, adapting that skill to crafting effective, engaging marketing emails should prove a very manageable feat. Bloggers who want to grow and engage a readership and customer base through email campaigns should be sure to apply the same care and thoughtfulness to their promotional messages and newsletters as they do to their blog content.

However, it's important to keep email copy clear and concise. While readers come to your blog of their own volition, their inboxes are inundated with promotional messages, and as such, attention spans for email content can be shorter. In a post for Practical ECommerce, USAData Email Marketing Manager Carolyn Nye pointed out that only 20 percent of revenue from marketing emails comes from their creative components.

Avoid clutter
Keeping that principle in mind, it's important that your email layouts stay clean and easy to read. Balolong warned against overuse of images in email templates, pointing out that visuals have to be effectively placed in order to get readers to click through or convert.

Furthermore, Nye pointed out that taking too much time to design a complex layout can damage the cost-effectiveness of email marketing.

"I've seen marketing departments agonize over images or debate the perfect font color. I've seen them drag out the process so long that the offer actually lost revenue because it wasn't deployed on time. Make sure your creative is effective," she wrote.

Consider optimal frequency
Finding the perfect number of emails to send per week is key for all marketers, and it can be especially important for bloggers, because their sites also serve as a source of content. Too-frequent email sends can result in readers feeling overwhelmed by a particular blog or company.

"Increasing frequency just to capture additional sales can … be detrimental if you sacrifice your customers' expectations and tolerance levels," Nye pointed out.

Consider coordinating the your email sends and blog posts together. For example, if you publish to your blog on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, you might send emails on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That way, followers will be reading and expecting your different content platforms on different days.

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Recipients can help spur greater success with email marketing lists.

Recipients can help improve targeted mailing lists

Targeted email lists help businesses find new customers and maintain relationships with existing ones. However, merely acquiring a list isn't enough to boost engagement and purchases. Rather, lists require constant tweaks and updates to ensure each one is performing to its potential.

Email list maintenance: Where do you start?                    
A recent article from Business 2 Community explained that one strategy companies and organizations can implement to better manage and tailor their email marketing lists involves handing over some degree of control to recipients. 

For example, the news source said marketers could establish email subscription centers. All communications going to a customer's inbox must include the option to opt- out of receiving the messages, but why not offer exiting recipients a few options that could get them to stay, including choosing the frequency with which they receive messages or contacting them directly to deliver a personal touch?

One action firms can take is including a button that recipients may click, called "Manage my Preferences." Business 2 Community highlighted how men's clothing line Bonobos accomplished this successfully.

"Through the use of appealing language and humor, Bonobos is savvy about offering options that decrease a subscriber's likelihood of unsubscribing," Business 2 Community wrote. "As a result, Bonobos retains 25 [percent] of those who would have otherwise opted out."

Sometimes the problem may be your content                                            
If businesses are seeing an exodus of recipients, establishing a subscription center may not be enough. Companies facing this issue could be targeting recipients incorrectly, failing to segment them by interest and demographics or simply not providing content that grabs ahold of their attention.

Folio magazine suggested breaking a few​ of the tried-and-true rules to see if anything sticks. For one, many businesses are advised to avoid the term "free," as it often has the effect of shuffling messages straight to spam. However, the news source asserted that in some cases, using this word can work.

Additionally, test out both HTML and text versions of the same email. "Text may but ugly, but ugliness did not stop Frankenstein's monster from getting a bride," Folio noted.

Winning over an email marketing list is just as much about industry best practices as it is knowing your customers. A targeted, dynamic message is always more likely to win over consumers than a generic blast.

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Top 2 email marketing tips to live by

Top 2 email marketing tips to live by

Businesses are using email lists for marketing purposes more often than ever before as the digital landscape evolves and becomes more integrated into day-to-day activities. However, companies cannot simply build an email database and hope for the best. Instead, decision-makers must be proactive to establish a targeted list that is reliable and will continue to be relevant in the long run.

The simple truth is that there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to email marketing. This was highlighted in a recent Business 2 Community report, which noted that consumers will typically hold some organizations in higher esteem than others. In other words, there will inevitably be a multi-tier level for brands and being too aggressive may cause prospective customers to drop companies a few levels.

At the same time, there are some general email marketing tips that organizations can follow to build the most effective strategy for them.

Become the consumer
In many cases, organizations build a great divide between themselves and consumers. While this may be good practice for a broad range of business tasks, creating a chasm in marketing can be dangerous. Business 2 Community noted that decision-makers should assess whether they would feel comfortable receiving the amount or quality of content that is being produced by marketers. If not, initiatives should be adjusted.

Enterprises also need to evaluate the niches of their targeted email lists to determine whether contacting certain recipients is appropriate.

Build strong content
Engaging content is one of the most fundamental aspects of any marketing initiative, as failing to capture the audience's attention or awareness will result in less effective promotional campaigns. Experts often say that every email sent as part of a marketing project should have a call to action that enables prospective clients to immediately communicate with service representatives.

A Global Industry Analysts report revealed that companies have no intention of giving up on email marketing initiatives, as the market is forecast to generate nearly $17 billion in revenue by 2017. While establishing email mailing lists and databases can be an effective way to improve these types of marketing efforts, it is important that decision-makers recognize not all clients are created equal. As a result, enterprises need to take the time to develop customized initiatives that cater to the various needs of their specific customers, not necessarily the consumer landscape in general.

Improve your email lists to boost customer happiness and higher clicks.

Create engaged customers with dynamic email mailing lists

There are many components to creating an effective business email marketing campaign that both improves client engagement and benefits companies' bottom lines. One of the most important of which is a high-quality email distribution list. These lists depend on elevated customer relationship management (CRM) strategies to maintain effectiveness. So, how can firms go about supporting their targeted email lists?

Analyze each lead for content clues             
According to a recent article from MediaPost, exercising good CRM practices when it comes to email marketing lists requires businesses to evaluate individual lead sources. In addition to partnering with qualified and reputable email list providers, firms should investigate where additional leads are coming from. For example, where do they have links to their list sign-ups posted? Are these only on company-controlled spaces such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn? Or are they also featured on affiliated websites?

"So if you perform this evaluation, you will automatically identify the sources of any risky leads and eliminate those sources, as well as identifying your best-performing lead sources and subsequently increasing budget to those sources," the news source explained.

Customize content                            
While marketers may craft content strategies for their email marketing lists' preferences and needs, the article posited that companies can become even more hyper-tailored to consumers' desires. One tactic that can be used involves contouring sign-ups or initial emails to allow recipients to indicate the types of messages they would like to receive, such as promotions, discounts, special events and industry news.

In this way, businesses can boost the effectiveness of their communications as well as the likelihood that specific messages will be opened and acted on. Because the messages being sent to specific inboxes are dependent on recipient feedback, customers will start to keep an eye out for missives from a company, the news source wrote.

"That's the kind of email that stands out in the inbox. That's the kind of email that wins on the email-marketing battlefield," asserted Media Post. "Don't you want to score a victory? You can do it as long as the customer experience is at the core of every engagement, from acquisition through customer lifetime. Because good lists make for happy customers."

You have the leads, you have the list – what's next?
While email marketers are unlikely to succeed without quality lists of leads and customers, they similarly will find it hard to get ahead without finding a way to creatively engage with those addresses.

There's a danger for email marketing messages to become stale. In order to prevent list attrition, firms need to identify methords in order to keep content fresh and new. Business 2 Community recently offered several suggestions for marketers to change up their communications.

One strategy to power creativity is to subscribe to other businesses' list. In this way, firms can see what industry leaders and competitors are doing to figure out what tactics customers like and which are likely to leave shoppers cold. Furthermore, marketers shouldn't limit themselves to lists that are specific to their industry. As the news source explained, "There is no reason why a travel agent cannot learn a trick or two from a restaurant chain or an insurance broker. We are all in the business of selling, after all."

Consumers are and should be businesses' greatest source of inspiration. With that in mind, when asking recipients which communications they would like delivered to their inboxes, companies can also solicit feedback on topics and products. Tailoring content and structure to what they want, like and need will help any company spur greater customer loyalty and thus improve bottom lines.

How can marketers avoid being labeled as "spam" and a "promotion?"

Spam vs. promotions: Can both labels be avoided?

While laws such as the 2003 CAN SPAM Act define what spam is as well as the rules and regulations businesses must follow when sending messages to their email distribution lists, consumers have an even less forgiving idea of what constitutes such communication. This requires companies to use a highly critical eye when determining which business emails make the cut and get sent out.

What do consumers not want to see?              
Sometimes understanding what irritates recipients, causes them to consider a communication spam or turns them off from reading a message can be more helpful than looking at the best example of what they do like. In a recent article on ClickZ, the source cites two of the worst content tactics, "batch-and-blast" and "spray-and-pray." While the terms are different, the underlying problem is the same: The email is not personalized; it doesn't engage with recipients and it certainly doesn't seem to understand anything about the audience.

This is an especially large problem in a society where personalization is becoming the norm. Analytics are enabling companies to track consumers shopping preferences and target ads to them directly. However, by choosing to mass-email potential shoppers, businesses not only risk damaging their reputations, but also hurting their bottom lines and having their attempts at communication marked as spam.

Avoiding the "spam" label is complex       
If it weren't complicated enough for marketers and organizations to avoid violating regulations or being tossed out by recipients, Google's recent changes to its messaging provider Gmail have thrown an even bigger wrench into the process. While Gmail is only one email provider, a report from AYTM Market Research revealed that 60 percent of individuals use the host as their primary email account.

Google's three tabs – Primary, Social and Promotions – seek to make it easier for account holders to access those emails they most want to see. But where is the line between "promotions" and "spam?" And how can businesses return to the "primary" folder?

Legally, any email message that is properly formatted and offers recipients the ability to unsubscribe is not in violation of the CAN SPAM Act. Under the new Gmail system, any communication that offers an unsubscribe button will go to the Promotions folder, creating another problem.

Will anyone see marketing emails?
One of the worries marketers have espoused following the changes is whether people will even bother to look under the promotions tab.

"The short answer is 'who knows,'" The Business Journals wrote. "The changes are so new that studies have not yet been conducted; however, it will be surprising if this new layout does not decrease the number of people who see and therefore open marketing emails. One thing is certain: it looks like there is no getting away from the promotions tab."

Companies such as Groupon and Gilt Groupe offer one unique example of how marketers can avoid the "black hole" of the promotions tab, Businessweek wrote. The two businesses are simply asking their email marketing lists to prevent them from being lumped in with other ads by dragging their communications from the promotions tab to the primary tab, ensuring this is where their messages go from thenceforward.

Regardless of the manner in which marketers and organizations decide to best appeal to consumers in light of these new changes, they should always prioritize the "opt-out" feature. The last thing businesses want to do is build ill-will among recipients by continuing to send them unwanted messages. This is a sure way to be sent straight to the spam folder in people's inboxes.