Category Archives: Email Marketing Tips

Draw in customers with engaging, relevant email content

Draw in customers with engaging, relevant email content

Although email remains a more effective marketing tool than Facebook or Twitter, the current online landscape is informed in many key ways by social media. Users go to their favorite networking sites to share practically every detail of their lives, from important events like getting engaged to more everyday occurrences – what album they're listening to, for instance, or the healthy breakfast they made themselves that morning. On these social platforms, people follow other users who post content that is relevant to them in some way, whether it be from a friend with similar interests or a business that specializes in products they might use.

It's natural, then, that when the customers on your email contact list read your messages, they want to feel that information of value is being shared with them. Far from overshadowing email, social media offers marketers lessons in how to effectively frame their promotional campaigns to create engaged customers.

Email engagement on the rise
Marketers will have to work hard to achieve that goal, of course, but research suggests that consumers are becoming more and more willing to be won over by marketing emails. Epsilon's Q2 2013 North American Email Trends and Benchmarks report revealed that 51 percent of email list subscribers were active during the second quarter of this year. 

Just over half may not sound like much, but it represents a steady increase from previous quarters. Email activity registered at 50.1 percent in Q1 2013 and and 49.9 percent in Q4 2012. Meanwhile, the overall email open rate in Q2 was 28.5 percent, an 11.5 percent increase over the same period in 2012.

These statistics come as positive news for marketers – but the need to stay vigilant and active in promoting engagement among email list subscribers remains pressing.

"Engagement is not a linear process; it's a continual loop that requires a lot of work, but yields loyal customers with higher lifetime values," noted Judy Loschen, Epsilon's vice president of digital analytics.

The yin and yang of the subject line
There are many tools at your disposal as you bolster your efforts to create a more active customer base. It's always a good idea to perform simple A/B list tests on promotional messages and vary certain factors of the email's design and content between the two segments. One of the most crucial email components to experiment with and perfect is the subject line.

Shuba Srinivasan, a marketing professor at Boston University, spoke with CRM Buyer about the importance of subject lines as a determining factor in consumers' first impressions of the brand.

"They need to be inviting enough to not give away the whole email, concise enough that they fit on the screen of all devices and clear enough that people know why you're sending an email," Srinivasan told the news source.

Consider spending some extra time with your subject lines in an effort to achieve the kind of delicate balance that Srinivasan outlined: If you give away too little, you could risk customer confusion, while a flat or strictly informational subject line might result in boredom and disengagement.

Be smart about segmentation
The "likes," retweets and other interactive components of social media make a wider set of consumer information readily available – and often, marketers can leverage that information to create more narrowly segmented email marketing lists.

In a column for Business 2 Community, Krista Bunskoek from email marketing solutions vendor Wishpond gave a helpful example of how marketers can utilize social media data.

"Your business includes online movie rentals. Segment your movie product emails to targeted Facebook fans who like movies (or even get more personalized with particular genres of movies)," Bunskoek wrote.

With analytics tools that process information from social sites, any marketer should be able to implement strategies like this one.

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Aim for a low unsubscribe rate in holiday email campaigns

Aim for a low unsubscribe rate in holiday email campaigns

Black Friday is now behind us – but the holiday shopping season has just begun. Important as the day after Thanksgiving is for retail sales, companies can't risk putting too much focus on that one 24-hour period and thereby downplaying the crucial weeks leading up to December 25. Email marketing plays a vital role in attracting the kind of customer attention that will result in conversions for your brand.

As such, it's key that marketers implement techniques that will help customers stay engaged with companies' content and promotions rather than unsubscribing from their email marketing lists. Consider these simple tactics as you bolster your efforts to keep unsubscribes low and conversion rates high this holiday season.

Understand why contacts unsubscribe
Although the need to discover the root cause behind customers' choice to opt out of your emails may seem obvious, it's an often-overlooked necessity. Alexis Anderson, director of marketing and partnerships at email marketing firm PureWow, recently told Mashable that she's seen a connection between high-volume email campaigns and increased unsubscribe rates.

"We can map spikes in unsubscribes back to large email campaigns – it's a natural transaction in email marketing, and we're able to easily and accurately plan for it," Anderson told the news source. She went on to point out, however, that this is a relatively common occurrence in email marketing, and the benefits of reaching a large base of customers often make up for the loss of contacts.

In order to get a clearer, more micro-level grasp of why people in your email database unsubscribe, it may be necessary to retrieve and analyze more personal information from them. Mashable noted that marketers can build a brief exit interview into the opt-out process. A simple, multiple-choice answer set can help you get a better understanding of whether customers are unsubscribing due to too-frequent emails, irrelevant content or other factors.

Engage as early as possible
It's likely that customers who unsubscribe from your email list during high-volume sends feel that the promotions and information being offered simply don't apply to them, so when it comes to making sure your newly acquired email contacts see your brand as a source of relevant, engaging content, there's simply no time to spare.

Cassie Lancellotti-Young, vice president of client optimization and analytics at email marketing solutions provider Sailthru, spoke with Mashable about the importance of sending engaging content to new email contacts from the moment they're acquired.

"Even the best marketing programs fall victim to this issue," Lancellotti-Young told the source, although she went on to note that it's "mission-critical for marketers to develop compelling onboarding series that go well beyond just the customer's first week."

Given how busy email marketers lives are during the holidays, it can be easy to forget to employ strategies that pay this kind of individual attention to new contacts. In an effort to fend off quantity-over-quality syndrome, marketers might consider developing holiday-themed email onboarding campaigns for customers who join their firms' email lists during the month of December.

Take time to reflect
Similarly, it's vital to apply the same levels of conscientiousness and targeting to your December emails as you employ throughout the rest of the year. In a column for Business2Community, Vocus Marketing Strategist John Hayes argued that marketers should reflect on the quality of their emails during the busy holidays.

"Ask yourself why you are sending your subscribers each email. If it's because you believe they will be engaged by your offer – hit the send button. If not, it's time to go back to the drawing board and plan something better," Hayes wrote.

If you implement strategies like this, you may find relevance comes more easily than you thought.

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Don't let quantity trump quality in holiday email marketing

Don’t let quantity trump quality in holiday email marketing

For email marketers, the holidays are a time of considerable pressure. Cluttered inboxes mean stiff competition for customers' attention, and in such an environment, it can be easy for marketers who've developed sophisticated campaigns in the past to forget those best practices and bombard their email marketing lists with batch-and-blast style messages that lack subtlety and effective targeting. Rather than letting the holiday shopping season throw you off your game, consider employing a few straightforward techniques that can help your customers differentiate the signal from the noise.

Stay relevant
The principle that not all customers on your email contact list are interested in the same promotions holds just as true in December as it does year-round. In a post for Marketing Land, Adobe's Director of Deliverability Alyssa Nahatis pointed out the effectiveness of real-time marketing, which tailors messages based on customer location and other factors, in the competitive holiday season.

"By sharing meaningful content, consumers are more likely to be engaged and open the email," Nahatis wrote.

Adopt an informative tone
Your marketing emails attempt to persuade customers to buy a product, of course, but that doesn't mean they have to be transparent in their methods. Drew Berard, senior director of brand management for Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway, revealed in a column for EContent that one of his recent email campaigns enjoyed a 126 percent open rate when a message sent to 11,000 contacts was opened 13,000 times. 

In Berard's opinion, one of the keys to the email's success was the authoritative, information-based tone it took.

"It did not hard sell. It simply informed," Berard noted. "It goes back to the age old principle of adding value to your audience's life and that will come back to you tenfold in loyalty and purchases."

Optimize for mobile
Marketers are well-aware by now that they can't ignore the mobile shopper, but new research suggests that customers who make purchases on smartphones and tablets may be even more valuable than previously believed. A recent study by GE Capital retail bank revealed that 40 percent of consumers are more likely to increase the purchases they make with a given retailer if that company offers them promotions they can take advantage of on their mobile devices.

As such, marketers who fail to design emails that look good on smartphone and tablet screens risk losing the business of this considerable customer segment to the competition. Consider how you might tweak your email campaigns with the goal of increasing mobile sales in mind.

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How doctors can create email marketing engagement

How doctors can create email marketing engagement

It's taken the health sector a while to to catch up other fields in terms of what technology it uses to keep in touch with patients, but that's now begun to change: Health care is going digital. The advent of electronic medical records, which have seen an impressive rate of adoption over the past year or two, is reshaping the way doctors and hospital administrators manage their facilities – and how they interact with patients.

Electronic health record technology gives doctors a wider set of tools by which they can market their services to patients. Many of the new software solutions have secure digital messaging built into their design, so it's easy to communicate with patients electronically about personal health matters or to send them messages of universal interest – a change in hours over the holidays, or a reminder about the importance of flu shots during the colder months. As such, your patient database can easily become an email marketing list.

Establish regular contact
Since many doctors still communicate primarily via phone calls and postal mail, your patients may not be used to receiving email from you. It's important that you get them comfortable before you use email to market to them. Be sure to establish email as a convenient way you can provide patients information relevant to their health.

Josic Media recently suggested that allowing patients to respond to your digital messages is a great way to foster trust and ultimately make marketing via email more effective.

"If you build a two-way communication with them, you'll get better results for your promotion," the source wrote.

Become an authority
When it comes to health care marketing, however, your patients' ability to contact you through email isn't the only component necessary to build trust. You'll also need to establish yourself as a reliable source of authoritative information about health-related issues.

Doctors can move toward this goal by linking their emails to a blog curated by themselves or their staff members. In a post for Business2Community, marketing and technology expert Zsolt Bicskey pointed out that blogs are essential for increasing the authoritative tone of marketing efforts, and doctors can promote blog content through a variety of channels.

"You can write a blog, share it through social media and even have it hosted on a broader health care website," Bicskey wrote.

Furthermore, Josic Media noted that physicians can use email to send patients relevant health tips and advice. 

The more engagement you create among your patients, the better results you can expect from your marketing efforts.

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Increase the relevance, quality of your marketing emails

Increase the relevance, quality of your marketing emails

Email is one of the oldest resources in the technological toolkit, and marketers have been using digital messages to send promotions to customers almost as long as email has been around. With its low cost and high return on investment, email is an obvious choice as a key marketing channel, and many firms find they can't afford to ignore it.

However, because email marketing is such a longstanding and essential tool, companies may often let their strategies go undiscussed and unevaluated, thereby failing to use email effectively and adapt their campaigns based on the results. If you're looking to re-up the energy your promotional messages may be missing and re-engage your email marketing list, it may be time to consider whether you've been taking full advantage of what email can achieve.

Relearning email marketing's strengths
Marketers are well aware of the rise of social media as a channel by which firms can communicate and share directly with customers, and if you're using both social sites and email as marketing platforms, it's important to take a step back and consider what each tool does best. Email is great in certain areas of marketing where social media just can't perform.

Customer education, for instance, is a marketing tactic that calls for the use of email at some level. In an interview with the Next Web, Saptarshi Nath, co-founder of Indian re-sale ecommerce startup Bootstrapp, said that his firm used email to share resources by which customers can learn about the company.

"Email newsletters linked to our blog content provide us this opportunity more clearly than social media," Nath told the news source. "As for offers and deals, we're generally able to reach only about 1 to 5 percent of our target audience via social media, and so we use email to reach customers who aren't regulars on Facebook."

Another noteworthy factor that differentiates email from other channels is the level of privacy it implies, the Next Web pointed out. While social messages are seen by many, recipients still perceive email as being directed expressly to them. As such, marketers should take advantage of the opportunities for targeting and personalization that email presents them.

"Brands should be respectful of this and avoid being too impersonal, too frequent and too irrelevant," William Grobel, manager of marketing and insight at Deloitte, told the Next Web.

Relevance is key
In fact, some field experts are suggesting that relevance is more important than many of the data points email marketers have traditionally relied on to gauge their successes. In a post for Business 2 Community, Monetate Content Marketing Director Rob Yoegel argued that relationships are more important than click-through and open rates when it comes to acquiring and retaining customers. He noted that Email Experience Council Co-chair Luke Glasner talked about the need for engagement in email during a recent webinar.

"The onus is on email marketers to develop good list management and list hygiene practices as well as engaging content," Glasner said, according to Yoegel. Glasner went on to note that historical metrics – open, click-through and conversion rates – have to be combined with real-time behavioral data – what kinds of devices email readers are using, for instance – in order to fully achieve relevance.

In a recent column for ClickZ, Derek Harding, CEO at Innovyx, discussed the need for marketers to improve email quality in order to increase engagement. Noting that about 10 percent of major brands have inoperative links and images in their marketing emails, Harding suggested firms learn a lesson from the publishing and software industries, where having a perfect product by the time of release is paramount.

With more polished emails, the customers on your targeted email lists are likely to hold your brand in higher regard.

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Targeted campaigns make email marketing more adaptive

Targeted campaigns make email marketing more adaptive

One of the trademarks of our mobile-equipped, technologically rich culture is the multitude of platforms on which people can broadcast any and all personal matters to their virtual communities. Social media enthusiasts post everything from major life events to the mundane details of their daily routines on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, while others take to Instagram to play the role of photojournalist for their own lives.

Since the personal is at the center of of this new online landscape, email marketers have to learn to adapt their promotional campaigns to appeal to their customers' sensibilities – and creating more targeted email lists is one of the key ways firms can ensure they are keeping abreast of the times. 

The end of the email blast
In an age where social media lets everyone feel that there's a spotlight just for them, impersonal email campaigns are sure to set marketers up for failure. Instead of sending a high number of email blasts to the entirety of their email marketing lists, brands are taking a more focused approach.

Adam Sarner, an analyst at research firm Gartner, recently told Internet Retailer that email marketing trends are emphasizing quality over quantity, and as part of that endeavor, marketers have to target their promotional messages more effectively.

"The market doesn't see email volume as where the value is anymore," Sarner told the news source. "They're sending less email, but starting to take advantage of things like predictive analytics, segmentation and offer management to email the right campaign to the right recipients."

Luckily, providers of email marketing solutions are already adapting their offerings to this trend. Internet Retailer also spoke with Matt Belkin, vice president of customer strategy and business development at Adobe. The firm recently altered its pricing strategy for Adobe Campaign to allow marketers to create more customized messages. Now, users won't be charged extra if they want to coordinate across multiple marketing channels, Belkin told the news source.

Get personal
Given these factors, email marketers only stand to gain from finding ways to make their customers feel important, as though they're being spoken to directly by the brand. In a post for Business 2 Community, Kevin Lindsay, the director of conversion product marketing for Adobe's Marketing Cloud products, noted that basic customization can go a long way.

"Many brands have found staggering results from some­thing as simple as adding the recipient's name to the subject line call to action," Lindsay wrote.

The Adobe marketer also recommended that firms consider using dynamic content – that is, tailored marketing copy based on customers' previous behavior – as a way of increasing customer engagement. Strategies like this help recipients feel like the brand emailing them knows and understands their habits and preferences.

Targeted marketing for the holidays
Marketers who are just getting started with personalization and segmentation may be wondering how they can quickly incorporate these techniques into their email campaigns. Luckily, the holiday shopping season is an ideal time for retail marketers, in particular, to employ new, more targeted tactics.

In a post for Marketing Land, Cara Olson, a marketing executive at digital consultancy DEG, outlined a series of ways in which firms can segment their email contact lists to boost holiday sales. One segment should contain the brand's best customers, she suggested. For this group, which should only be about 10 percent of the total email list, marketers can send promotions that reward brand loyalty. Meanwhile, marketers should create other segments based on contacts' past activity – whether they made a purchase last year, two years ago or have yet to do so – and market differently to each group.

By playing to the culture of the personal, you can create email campaigns that may prove more likely to boost holiday revenue.

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Make email the center of a multichannel marketing strategy

Make email the center of a multichannel marketing strategy

Although many have predicted that the surge in the popularity of social media would spell the death of email marketing, that's been far from the case. Studies have only reaffirmed the value of email marketing lists over social networks when it comes to converting contacts into customers. 

That doesn't mean, however, that it's advisable – or even possible – to simply focus on email and ignore all other Web and mobile platforms. Rather, an effective email marketing strategy will take social media, blogs and other types of sites into account, making use of them to create customers and increase engagement while still keeping email as the centerpiece of the firm's promotional campaigns.

Why email remains indispensable
The central position email must hold for marketers is based on its ability to create dynamic customer relationships that benefit companies in the long term. For instance, while the customer lifetime value of those who make purchases based on email promotions is considerably higher than the overall average, Twitter customers prove to be less valuable than most.

Firms who attempt to do their marketing on social media and put email aside quickly learn these principles. David Ball, internet marketing director for the Harlem Globetrotters, recently told MarketingWeek that his efforts to draw more sales for the sports club by increasing its social media presence proved largely ineffective. Fans on sites like Twitter and Facebook did not seem receptive when encouraged to make ecommerce purchases. Email, however, continues to be the club's most reliable marketing channel.

"We find email is the best marketing platform for direct marketing, we see great conversion because people are used to it," Ball told the news source.

The Globetrotters' marketer has adapted his strategy based on the results. Instead of relying heavily on social sites for marketing, he's opting to use data derived from the platforms to create engaging messages customized for certain segments of his email contact list.

"This year I want to get to know our customer better and segment and target the right messages at them, whether it's a discount, tickets or our summer schools," Ball said as quoted by the news source.

Integrating email with social, blogs
Ball's strategy – using social media to enhance email marketing – is one that many marketers are adopting. In a column for Florida Trend, FastPath Marketing President Ron Stein discussed how tweets, blog posts and other online content can help a company communicate its brand and reinforce the value customers receive when they sign up for its email list.

"It's a fair exchange – your prospect gives you their email address and you deliver value in return," Stein wrote.

Marketers can ensure that they continue to hold up their end of the deal by providing customers with high-quality content in every email, as well as by offering downloads of valuable information in the form of eBooks, whitepapers or other reports, Stein suggested. He also recommended that companies design their websites so that their email list signup forms are even more conspicuous than the icons that link to their social media pages.

Sony broadens its platforms
Electronics titan Sony recently integrated email and social media in a unique way that proved highly effective. According to EConsultancy, the firm sent out a series of emails that highlighted its activity on the social site Pinterest. This effort resulted in an email open rate 67 percent higher than expected and a click-through rate that was 16 percent above Sony's goal. Not only did the company gain followers on Pinterest – it also increased awareness of its brand and created greater engagement with its emails.

There are many ways to integrate email with social and other platforms in a multichannel approach. Marketers simply need to find the combination that works for their brands

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Do's and don'ts for email marketers this holiday season

Do’s and don’ts for email marketers this holiday season

Competition in the email marketing realm is as stiff as ever this holiday season, especially with the new Gmail layout's separate tab for promotional messages making it harder for marketers to win a prominent place in their contacts' inboxes.

As such, it's important for marketers to keep themselves on-message and on-target for achieving the desired returns on investment this November and December. These six email marketing tips can help you create campaigns that will have your email list engaged and responsive as they make their important purchases.

Don't over-send
Finding the right frequency for email sends can be a long-term challenge. If you're still struggling to optimize the timing of your promotional messages, consider opting for fewer sends rather than overwhelming your customers with too many emails in too short a timespan.

Mobile email marketing firm Elite Email recently affirmed the validity of this principle.

"Over sending emails annoys your audience and causes people to unsubscribe. Don't become spam," the company told marketers.

Write a great subject line
Of course, if you cut down your send volume, you'll need to make sure that your emails grab your contacts' attention and stick out from the crowd. One of the most effective ways to optimize your emails for engagement is to craft perfect subject lines, and there are a few proven techniques you can take advantage of.

Business2Community pointed out the psychological effectiveness of phrasing subject lines as questions. By asking the contacts in your email database whether they've chosen the perfect gift for their loved ones, for instance, you can engage your contacts' individual needs and concerns without knowing very much about them.

However, more forceful subject lines can also be effective, the source noted. Commands – "Don't wait," or "Reserve your spot today," for example – avoid pushiness while still being direct, offering customers some welcome clarity amid the sea of promotions flooding their inboxes.

Don't forget to segment
No two consumers are exactly alike, which is why it's key for marketers to use the richest data available on their contacts and tailor the messages they send to their customers' interests and habits.

Segmentation lists based on demographic and purchase habit data help ensure that your customers will find your promotions relevant and engaging: It's easy to see why a woman who received one too many emails advertising men's products would unsubscribe. Furthermore, Elite Email suggested that marketers take the December shopping season to discover which holidays their contacts celebrate and temporarily segmenting their lists based on that criterion.

Keep it simple
While sophistication is the name of the game in email list segmentation – the more complex data marketers have, the better they can target consumers – simplicity is vital when it comes to the written copy and visual layout of your emails. Especially given the sheer volume of competition your emails are facing, it needs to be immediately clear to a reader what the promotion is offering.

"Some businesses try to say too much in one email, meanwhile nothing gets the focus. Multiple emails with more focus on individual products to customized lists perform much better," Elite Email noted.

Marketers should also be sure to create streamlined, uncluttered layouts that look good on mobile screens.

Don't be impersonal
CAN Spam compliance isn't the only way marketers can win the trust of their email contact lists. Elite Email suggested that promotional message have a person's name in the subject line, assuming that it will be clear to customers that the sender is a representative of the brand.

Marketers can also make sure they are personalizing content by sending promotions based on products contacts have already expressed interest in – an item saved but not purchased in an online shopping cart, for instance.

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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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How to grow your email marketing list

How to grow your email marketing list

Your email marketing list is one the most effective business tools you have at your disposal. However, acquiring that list is not just a one-time investment, but rather a moving proposition, as your number of contacts should grow along with your company and its needs.

In your efforts to collect new subscribers and retain existing ones, stick to these four principles, and you won't find yourself running out of ways to maintain a dynamic, ever-expanding email list.

In-store registrations
Retailers of any size shouldn't ignore the opportunities for growing their email contact lists within the four walls of their physical locations. 

A recent study by ExactTarget found that 20 percent of retailers have sales personnel ask for customer email addresses at the register. The tactic was found to be effective by 57 percent of companies who used it.

The popularity of this practice makes it a highly useful asset: With requests for an email address now a common part of making an in-store purchase, most customers won't be put off or annoyed by it.

You might also opt to ask customers at checkout if they'd like to provide their email addresses in order to sign up for a loyalty program or card. While only 18 percent of retailers are using this method, 67 percent found it to be an effective technique, the study showed. Meanwhile, 13 percent of companies are giving customers the option to have their receipts emailed to them, and 55 percent of those retailers said the practice had been successful.

Mobile and social media
Social content is one of the most popular strategies for growing an email list. ExactTarget found that 45 percent of marketers were collecting contacts via Facebook, while 39 percent promoted company materials via social media that required viewers to enter their email addresses for access.

With social media being widely used on smartphones, it only stands to reason that marketers should have a mobile email contact generation strategy, too. According to the survey, 13 percent of firms required email addresses for company mobile app registrations, while 12 percent provided the option for customers to sign up to the email list within the app itself.

While mobile email capture techniques aren't as widespread as social media and on-site methods, trying them out could give your company an advantage as the smartphone and tablet trend continues to grow.

Optimize your website
Designing your company's Web page so that it gives visitors plenty of opportunities to enter their email addresses is an indispensable strategy. And while mobile email registrations may put your company on the cutting edge, failing to optimize your website for email captures will set you behind the competition.

Websites are by far the most popular platform on which companies grow their email lists. The ExactTarget study revealed that 74 percent of marketers had embedded an email sign-up form on their companies' sites, and 52 percent made certain features of the site accessible only to users who provided their email addresses.

Keep your emails creative and engaging
Even though word of mouth is the oldest marketing strategy, it remains an important tool to utilize. The best and only sure-fire way to get your email contacts talking about your campaigns is to send them the most well crafted, engaging messages possible.

In a post for HubSpot, Ginny Soskey recently highlighted a series of highly effective email campaigns. She pointed to social content site BuzzFeed as a prime example of tight, punchy email copy. Meanwhile, athletic app producer RunKeeper perfected the art of the newsletter with an attractive, dynamic layout perfectly suited for both Web and mobile browsers.

Ultimately, communicating your brand in a memorable way is the best method for attracting subscribers.

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