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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