How to start collecting emails and what to do with them

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No matter what kind of business you are, you can benefit from email marketing.

“Email marketing, I call it spam!” You may be thinking this, and yes, there is a fair amount of email marketing that is spam. But if you write emails like a person, and treat your email list like you’d like to be treated, you’d be surprised how well email marketing can do.

How to get emails

You can get emails both through your website and from the “real world”. On your website, you should be offering something to your visitors that will make them want to give you their email. This is called a lead magnet. It is usually something of value like an eBook, checklist, videos, email course, or could even be a discount or promotional offer.

Choose a lead magnet that resonates with your visitors. If you sell healthy meal plans, a checklist of healthy ingredients to have in your fridge is a good piece of content. But a video series on exercise may not be so well received. Try creating a few lead magnets and A/B test them to see which does the best.

Alternatively, you could do a newsletter. But don’t just slap a form on your site and say “Sign up for the latest news”. Everyone does this on their site and it’s boring. Would you sign up for that? Let them know exactly what they will be getting from your newsletter. With the meal plan company in mind, they might say “Sign up and receive weekly tips on nutrition, recipes, and ways to stay healthy”.

Here’s a useful article from Hubspot with 25 ways to grow your email list.

When creating these email forms, try to add segmentation into them. If you have a lead magnet about vegan recipes and one about cooking for the family, those people should be placed on different lists. You can start sending “vegan friendly” emails to one list, and “family friendly” emails to the other. Segment as you see fit, there are tons of ways to start dividing up your list so you can target your message better.

Collecting emails in the “real world”, like trade shows or events is as simple as printing out a sign up form with a column for “Name” and one for “Email” and any other relevant information you may need. After the event, manually input those names and emails into your email client software.

What to do with your email list

They say the money is in the list, but that’s only true if you know how to market to them properly. One important thing to do is segment your list, if possible. This means putting contacts in different categories depending on their interests, purchases, or other information.

With the meal plan company, we could segment their list based on whether someone purchases a family plan or an individual plan, whether they get a vegan plan or an athletic portion. This will help us create emails that are more highly targeted to those people.

Sending the same email to your entire contact list is fine, but you will likely get tons of unsubscribes because people are not interested in the message. If you are writing an email that is supposed to appeal to everyone, it will appeal to no one. It’s almost impossible to write something that is of interest to everyone on your list.

Once you have some segmenting in place, it’s time to create emails that target those groups. You want to be speaking in terms that appeal to the audience. Don’t talk about yourself too much, talk about the customer.

Not every email should be about selling your product. Email is a very personal form of communication, and you want to be providing value to those that sign up. You want them to anticipate your next email and be excited to open it because it has such great content.

That doesn’t mean you can’t ever sell to your list. Sure you can! You just want to use a majority of your introductory emails as ways to provide value and build trust with your audience. They’re likely not ready to buy just yet, but when the time comes they will remember your great emails and want to purchase from you.

If you’re not sure where to begin, here are some useful articles to get you started:

A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Email Marketing
Kissmetrics
8 Effective Email Marketing Strategies, Backed by Science
Buffer

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About MARKIT Group

MARKIT Group is a full-service traditional and digital marketing and public relations firm with an emphasis on social media, reputation management and monitoring, as well as brand management. Headquartered in Bonita Springs, Fla., with offices in New York, Pittsburgh and Charleston, S.C. www.markit-group.com.
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