Email lists are very powerful and have many different applications. They’re a great way to re-engage past customers, share your great content/knowledge, and keep your business at the front of people’s minds.
If you aren’t using yours (or if you don’t keep one), no judgment. Okay, maybe a little judgment, but here are some things you should consider.
First, let’s talk about how to build an email list
There are many different ways to collect customer email addresses. It doesn’t have to be a taboo subject. You aren’t being annoying by asking people to opt in to an email subscription. It’s expected. Here are just a few ways to grow your house email list.
- From leads – lead gen based businesses need contact info to even reach out to the customer. This should already be set.
- From sales – E-commerce sites should already be collecting an email for confirmation purposes so this is should be another no-brainer.
- Newsletter opt-in on your homepage or blog – include options for people to sign up throughout your site, and that absolutely includes your homepage.
- Offer a discount or promotion – provide an incentive like a coupon or special offer for people who do sign up for your newsletter.
- Ask – anywhere it makes sense to prompt people for an email address, meaning they’ll get something of value in return, do it!
Anyone who’s shown interest in your business should absolutely be captured on the house list if possible. Doing this gives you an amazing chance to provide more of your valuable content right to their inbox. When you get more advanced, you can even tailor those emails to reflect exactly what that person saw or researched on your site. We’ll save that for another post, but you can definitely contact us in the meantime if that’s something you’re interested in pursuing.
Email is one of a few ways you can do this kind of nurturing, but it’s by far one of the best. It’s one of the only channels that no one can take away from you. Contrast that with social platforms like Facebook, who can arbitrarily decide that you suddenly pay an arm and a leg to reach a list you thought was yours. For that reason, we call email part of “owned media”.
If you want to read more about Paid, Earned, or Owned media, you can read about the Marketing Stack here.
Ways to take advantage of your email list
Once you have a list built up, there are several different ways to leverage it to get the right message in front of your prospects. Obviously, the first thing most people think of is a promotional email campaign of some sort. But there are other ways that you can utilize this list. It’s pure gold.
Get set up with an email marketing service like MailChimp or run a campaign through your CRM. We like HubSpot for its simplicity, breadth, and ability to scale. Make sure you have a plan in place for how often you should be engaging your audience and what type of content you want to show them. The tools can’t do this for you. You don’t want to spam them. You want to be useful and relevant. Some different email formats to consider are:
- Monthly newsletters
- Lead nurturing emails
- Sales-focused emails
- One-off dedicated emails
CAN-SPAM Act Compliance
Make sure you aren’t breaking the law! This shouldn’t be news, but The FTC takes email spam very seriously. Don’t just jump into email marketing without understanding the laws that protect people’s privacy. There are some basic things you need to do like allowing people to unsubscribe from your list easily, for instance.
Don’t buy a list
If you want to reach an engaged, relevant, and receptive audience, don’t buy a list from anyone. Build your own email list of actual customers who are legitimately interested in your business.
Outside of email marketing, there are a few other strategies worth considering right away.
Upload your list to Google AdWords for Customer Match campaigns. You can use your list to target people with ads on YouTube, Gmail, and in more traditional search text ads. A good PPC agency will definitely be able to help you with this.
Again, if you’ve built your list the right way (nothing purchased or rented!), the people on your list have shown a specific interest in you. Utilizing AdWords to reach out to them in different spaces is one of the best forms of online targeting available to you.
Similar to AdWords remarketing, you can upload your email list to Facebook and do a few different things with it. You might want to target this exact audience with more specific ads. You can do that. Or maybe you want to exclude a particular audience, say current customers, to ensure your ads show only to people who haven’t bought from you yet. Get creative, or work with your agency, to layer in different demographic or psychographic (think “interest-based”) targeting options, along with your email list.
Going further, one of the most interesting things you can do is to create a “lookalike audience.” You can use your email list to have Facebook automatically build an audience that has similar interests and demographics to your best prospects and customers. This is a great way to grow your audience while harnessing the power of Facebook targeting.
There are similar “lookalike audience” offerings in AdWords, but you’ll need to work with your agency make sure your list is big enough to unlock those features.
No matter what your goals are, having a strong email list of potential, current, and ex-customers is an incredibly powerful tool. I’ve personally seen huge success from clients who make it a habit to regularly engage with and leverage their house email list. If you have questions about how you might start building your list or best use the one you already have, let us know.