8 Strategies to Grow Your Email List

Thursday, February 19th, 2015
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As an online merchant, it is crucial to have a robust and accurate email list since email marketing is the single most cost-effective form of direct marketing available and provides the greatest return on investment. So…what is the best way to grow your email list?

The single best strategy to obtain someone’s accurate email address is to ASK! Give people the option to opt-in because volunteered information is always best. You should be asking for people’s email addresses everywhere you can – website, feedback forms, phone conversations, in-person/POS interactions.

What is the best way to ask? Customers and prospects are always thinking what’s in it for me? So it is important to make sure there is a value exchange. This value can come in many forms such as expert reviews or advice, updates on new product releases, in-depth knowledge, special discounts, etc.

When asking, be sure to reassure your customers and prospective customers by explaining exactly what you are going to do with their email address, and how their privacy will be protected. You don’t want them wondering if you are going to share it, sell it, email them every day, or anything else. Reassurance is key to getting the right email address as opposed to a temporary or alternate email address which you do not want. Focus on quality over quantity. Now that you’ve got the basics down, here are 8 strategies to enhance your email list growth:

1) Provide a sample – avoid surprising your customers or prospects by including a graphic or link to view an example of the content before they subscribe.
2) Simplify – Make it easy to sign up and avoid distractions or barriers. Limit the opt-in form fields to the minimum necessary and collect additional information post-submission, either on the next screen or at a later date.
3) Explain – If you are asking for specific information beyond the basics, such as a birthdate, explain why you are asking for this information.
4) Reward Accuracy – Place the burden on the subscriber to enter accurate information by offering an incentive such as a coupon that can only be redeemed via an email sent to the email address provided.
5) Ask Everywhere – In addition to online forms, don’t be afraid to use offline tactics or other creative approaches to obtain new subscribers.
6) Audit – Perform full email list audits quarterly to correct any typos
7) Utilize Technology – Use technology to analyze new email addresses in real time by enforcing a basic standard that every email address has to meet. (Every email has an “@” sign; does not contain spaces; contains at least one period after the “@” sign; etc.)
8) Plan for Email Changes – Acknowledge that people change their email addresses all of the time – they’ve switched jobs, changed ISPs, graduated from school, abandoned due to spam, company email change, etc. Cover yourself by making it easy for subscribers to update their own information; ask for an alternative email and be sure to explain why; consider using an Email Change of Address (ECOA) service.

To summarize, first focus on the basics:

• Remember to ask everywhere
• Offer a decent value exchange
• Provide reassurance during sign-up process

Once you’ve nailed the basics, you can begin using these 8 strategies to grow your email list today!

Currently an eCommerce Account Manager at Nexternal, Matthew enjoys helping businesses succeed online. Prior to joining Nexternal, Matthew spent years implementing innovative marketing campaigns for a world renowned design firm and is particularly passionate about online marketing and entrepreneurship.