Many business owners don’t realise the importance of building an email list. Most usually change their mind when they see the impact email lists have on someone else’s traffic and revenue. In this article, I’m going to share with you, the main reasons why building an email list is important and how you can start one yourself.
The topics I’m going to cover include:
- What an email list is
- Why it’s important to be building an email list
- Email marketing versus social media
- What some marketing experts are saying about email marketing
- The three things you need to start building your email list
- How to choose an email marketing service
- How to grow your list to get more subscribers
- Finding new list building strategies and resources
By the end of this article, you should have answers to all your questions about building an email list.
What is an email list?
An email list is simply a list of email addresses for people who have given you permission to send them updates and promotions from your business.
Why building an email list is important
According to Report: Australian Email Marketing Benchmarks, on average, businesses achieved a 20.89% open rate, 6.46% click rate and received $22.78 ROI for every $1 spent on email..
The people who give you their email address have already shown you that they are interested in what it is you have to offer. This is why they are more likely to convert into paying customers.
At Atomic Automation, our email list subscribers are 6 times more likely to sign up for our services that any of our social media advertising campaign including Google Ads.
The reasons for this make sense when you think about how social media platforms determine who gets to gets to see your ads. With email marketing, it’s the person who gave me their email address.
1. Email is personal
Emails arrive in your subscribers email inbox. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, determine if and when someone is likely to see your social media ad. With email marketing, there are no algorithms limiting your reach. It is very direct and personal.
2. Email is purposeful
To receive an email from you they must have given you their email address. Please don?t buy lists. You can be penalised by email service providers who could lock your account.
Someone who has given you their address is interested in hearing about what you have to say and the services you offer.
3. Email is highly targeted
As I mentioned earlier, someone has shown that they?re interested in your products. You already know what they like so you can deliver highly relevant offers to get better results. If you offer different services, you can target the people interested in each. This is known as segmentation, and we will talk more about this later in this article.
4. You own your email list
As you may have seen or heard, social media channels can and do change their rules. This can have a serious impact on your marketing strategy. What was working last week may not work next week because the rules have changed. When you own your email list, any decisions made by Facebook, Google or other platforms won?t affect you and your list.
5. Email will be around for ever
6. Email is the preferred communication channel
Every internet user has at least one email account. A Radicati report released in 2017 estimates that “By the end of 2021, the number of worldwide email users will be over 4.1 billion.”. That will be half of he estimated population for that year.
This is precisely why every smart business in the world has an email list.
Big name brands learned this lesson a long time ago, and that?s why they spend thousands of dollars on social media campaigns to get people to sign up for their email lists.
They understand that email marketing is the best long-term investment with a much higher return because people will continue to get their message at a very low cost for a longer period of time.
Your social media vs email marketing
People tell me that social media is taking over and email marketing is dead. Really? Facebook requires an email address or telephone number when you sign up for an account. If you sign up with a phone number, Facebook will keep asking you for your email address. They tell you that by giving them your email address, you can find friends, or make it easy to recover a forgotten password.
This is true but the other reason they want your email address is so they can send you targeted email messages. We often get emails from Google encouraging us to leave reviews for local businesses or offering a discount on Google AdWords.
All social media platforms are building an email list because they are smart business owners. This helps their valuation when selling their business. These companies know that emails are the most direct and reliable way of getting in touch with their customers.
Remember too that not everyone is using Facebook. Some people prefer Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Snapchat, LinkedIn, etc.?Basically your users are all over the place on different platforms. But studies show that at least 91% of consumers check their email on a daily basis. I am not saying that social media is not important. It is, and you should explore every opportunity to reach your audience.
However, you should spend more time and effort into something that guarantees higher results.
What experts say about building an email list
Don’t just take my word for it, read what some of the top marketing experts are saying about email marketing:
Many expert marketers say their biggest mistake was not building an email list when they first started out.
With all the reasons above, we hope that you’re convinced that building an email list is important for any businesses.
So, how do you build an email list?
Three things you need to build an email list
By now you should understand why an email list is important to your business. In this section we?ll look at what you need to start building your email list.
You only need three things to start.
- A website.
- An email marketing service.
- High-converting opt-in forms
All three of these are fairly easy to set up. None require any programming or design skills.
Since this this article is about email marketing, I?m not going to talk about websites.
Choosing an email marketing service
An email marketing service is designed to help you manage your subscribers. They can help you with forms, unsubscribes, and reporting along with other features.
There are lots of email marketing services. Too many to comprehensively compare in any meaningful way. Most people start out with a free service to save money. But for a lot of them, there?s a reason they?re free.
When choosing an email service provider, look for the following features at a minimum:
- The ability to send an email to individuals on your list.
- The ability to send personal, personalised emails to your list.
- A way to categorising subscribers by service interest, demographics, or content type (html vs text emails)
- Reporting features so you know who received your email, the percentage of those who opened your email and, more importantly, how many of those actually clicked the links in your emails.
- Give you some indication on how your email may be seen by spam filters.
In my opinion, a paid service is an investment in your business and, when managed properly, will pay much greater returns than any free service.
Once you have signed up with an email marketing service, the next step is to add opt-in forms to your website to allow your visitors to subscribe.
Growing your list with high-converting opt-in forms
Did you know that more than 70% of visitors abandoning your website will never return? Look at your Google Analytics reports and take note of the percentage of new vs returning visitors.
This is why it?s critical to convert each website visitor into an email subscriber before they leave. You can then send them relevant messages to keep then engaged with your business and bring them back.
Well designed and noticeable email opt-in (sign up) forms are your best tool for this. The biggest mistake people make is not having strategically place, high-converting sign up forms. Having a form that is triggered by visitor behaviour is great value. Forms that appear if the visitor indicates they may be about to leave your website can reduce the chance that they do before giving you their email address.
However, just asking for a visitor?s email address isn?t enough. You need to give something in return. There is a principle in marketing called the Principle of Reciprocity. To get an email address, we must give something of high perceived value. This is called a lead magnet. Offering a lead magnet will increase your chances of getting an email address by 20%.
Segmenting your list for better outcomes
Having the right tools is crucial, but knowing how to use them properly is what makes the most difference.?In your email marketing strategy, the most important thing you should plan out is segmentation.?Email list segmentation is the process of grouping your subscribers so that you can personalise your messages based on their interest. Sending your subscribers messages that they can relate to help you get higher open rates and click-through rates.
For example, if you are a butcher, easily identifying customers who eat pork vs those who don’t lets you send different messages to each group. You can send highly focused messages related to beef products to those who don’t eat pork.
There are a number of ways to segment your list including separate lists, groups, tags, and custom fields. How you can do this depends on your email service provider.
It does not matter what kind of business you run, what kind of website you have, or what industry you are in.
If you have a website, and you want to turn your visitors into returning customers, then you need to get them in your email list.
We hope this article helped you understand why building an email list is important and helped you get started on the right foot.
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