Email is a sort of digital currency that we use to get around online.
Want to download a free piece of content? Pay with your email. Want to buy a pair of shoes? Enter your email address to get a 10% discount and then track your order later on. Want to create an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other platform or app? Share your email address to be granted access. Email is a crucial element of our online identity and to know how to harness its power is to win big time.
If you haven’t heard “money is in the email list” phrase yet, you haven’t done your homework. Sure, social media and content marketing are incredibly powerful tools to grow your business too, but comparing them with email marketing would be like comparing apples with oranges.
Each channel serves a different purpose, so it’s hard to tell which one performs better. However, to effectively spend your marketing budget, you need to identify channels that generate the best results for you.
For example, here is how the performance of email marketing compares to the results of social media and content marketing campaigns.
Let’s say you have 2000 Facebook fans, 2000 followers on Twitter, and 2000 email subscribers. Is it the same thing? Absolutely not.
Facebook’s organic reach has plummeted by 52% last year and is hovering around 6%, while Twitter’s organic engagement is even lower (around 2%). The average email open rate across all industries and devices in 2016 was 24.88%, a smashing figure compared to Facebook and Twitter performance.
Going back to our comparison, this would come down to the following figures:
- 498 people would open your email;
- 120 people would see your Facebook post;
- 40 people would see your tweet.
Quite obviously, email marketing by far outperforms social media in terms of organic reach and has significantly more potential for generating revenue. The same goes for click-through, conversion, and direct conversion rates. Most importantly, studies have shown that email has better ROI, which is what everything comes down to in business. The areas where social media performs better than email include engagement, virality, branding and assisted conversions.
But one thing that makes email marketing so sexy is that it’s much easier to build a mailing list of 2000 people than to get 2000 new followers on Twitter or Facebook
And here’s how you can do it 10x faster.
Make it ridiculously easy to sign up
Thanks to the increasingly digitalized lifestyle, the average attention span is 8 seconds. People find it more and more difficult to focus on one thing for longer than it takes to scroll through the Facebook feed. Which is an awfully bad news for marketers who need to keep their audience glued to their screens.
If you make the signup process too complicated, people will get distracted and never complete the conversion. Allow one-click signup to ensure you’re optimizing your conversions and keeping it dead simple for the frazzle-minded to join your list.
Another element that will have a huge effect on your conversion rate is the type of call-to-action you use. Both the button copy and design will influence your prospect’s decision. A well-designed CTA stands out from the rest of the offer and is usually the first thing a visitor sees. You’ll need to run some A/B tests to see what colours work best for your website or landing page, but the rule of thumb is to aim for high contrast and eye-catching colour.
When crafting the copy for your CTA, use Joanna Wiebe’s of Copyhackers.com tip. She says the best way to put yourself in your visitor’s shoes is to use the phrase “I want to ____” when brainstorming for the button copy. Fill in the blank with words that you think best describe the benefits of your offer. For example, if you’re offering a free productivity guide, you’d start with I want to “Learn the secrets of productivity”. See, it really is an awesome tip.
Make your “bribes” tempting and relevant
A relevant opt-in offer will focus on highlighting the benefits that a prospect can’t refuse. But heads up, you will only be able to come up with irresistible bribes if you have a clearly defined target audience and know what makes your prospects tick. If you try to sell ice to an Eskimo, you will fail pretty quickly.
This is the time where you look back at your buyer personas and carefully assess your own goals. Who are the people that you’re trying to attract? What are their passions, pain points, and desires? What is it that you do or have done in the past that intrigues and motivates others? Answering these questions early will help you better define and tailor your signup offer.
The popular opt-in bribes can include access to a closed community, special offers or discounts, highly valuable content, or anything else that fits with your brand.
Images Source: SocialTriggers
Implement emotional triggers
According to the internet millionaire Jeff Walker, there are 9 mental triggers that can influence people’s decisions. Deeply rooted in our mental psyche, these triggers often work without us realizing it and are, therefore, incredibly powerful weapons of influence. These are the triggers on Walker’s list: authority, reciprocity, trust, anticipation, likeability, events/rituals, community, scarcity, and social proof.
When it comes to building an email list, many of these triggers can be incorporated into your tactics to boost their effectiveness. Here’s a little bit more about the triggers that work well in email marketing:
- Authority. A doctor, professor or judge are some of the best examples of how powerful the idea of authority is. People tend to look for help and guidance from those who are established, respected experts in their fields, as it helps them to make decisions faster and more efficiently. By positioning yourself as an industry leader, you will have a better chance convincing people to sign up to your email list.
- Scarcity. We are motivated by the perception of scarcity and often act on an impulse to get something while it’s available. Adding the element of scarcity (or urgency) to your headline or offer can have a significant effect on the conversion rates.
- Trust. Getting your prospects to trust you almost as much as they trust their friends or family members will take quite a bit of time and effort, but once you break the ice it will be plain sailing from there. Focus on developing strong relationships with your prospects and learn how to boost your credibility if it’s a little shaky.
- Social proof. If you can use testimonials, quotes, high-level statistics or case studies to demonstrate how you helped other people achieve their goals or solve their problems, your prospects will automatically place more trust into you and your offer. A very simple example of this trigger is people’s tendency to choose to go to a restaurant that has more people inside than another one that looks empty. Following the crowd requires less thinking.
- Likeability. Personality sells. If you can get your prospects to like you, selling to them (or getting them to sign up to your mailing list first) will be much easier. It’s important to keep your messages simple and relatable, write in a human way and use high-quality, professional images as well as add your own headshot where appropriate.
Make use of custom built landing pages
CoSchedule’s headline analyzer is a great example of how smart businesses implement list building tactics that also help them to raise brand awareness, build trust and likeability. Giving stuff away for free will boost your credibility and help you develop a value-based relationship with your prospects, you just need to make sure the signup process is stripped to the bare minimum.
With this tactic, the best way to capture emails and build your mailing list is by creating a separate landing page for the piece of content or tool that you’re offering. This way, you can easily put a lock on the valuable content and track the performance of your campaign.
Image Source: CoSchedule
Organize giveaways that appeal to your target audience
If you can put a price tag on the stuff you’re giving away for free, your chances of succeeding increase significantly. To seize the attention of your target audience, you must refer back to your buyer persona and study your audience to identify the prizes that would be too difficult to ignore. Ridiculously attractive offers will most likely be shared with friends and even talked about offline. It can also be an opportunity to build your social following and generate awareness, depending on how and where you decide to host the giveaway.
However, it’s worth keeping in mind that giveaways will only be effective if the main prize is something that people love and can hardly resist. If you can get your hands on products that are just about to be launched, are sold out or quite expensive, it’s more likely your giveaway will be a success. It’s probably best to run a few smaller-scale campaigns to test the concept, figure out the rules and capture the general sentiment towards your brand, and then go all guns blazing.
Utilize bots to automate email opt-ins
As one of the best performing marketing channels, email is also a fiercely competitive battleground for marketers. With so many different tactics at their disposal, they often struggle to cover the whole range and therefore, lose out on perfectly good opportunities. That’s why marketing automation is becoming a life-saving solution. If you can automate it, you should have done it yesterday.
Messenger bots are dramatically outperforming email, as around 50% of people open bot messages compared to around 25% email open rates. Another great thing about bot messages is that they’re just as persistent as email, so if they want to, people can come back to those messages later on. You can also use bots to send direct messages to new followers on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and include a link to a landing page with your offer, which is an incredibly effective tactic if you’re attracting the right kind of followers.
Image Source: Engadget
Team up with influencers
Being endorsed by a big name influencer and getting in front of their cult following will most certainly result in a sweet spike in email sign-ups. If you have an opportunity to work with an industry celebrity, seize the day. And while cross promotion is not a rare phenomenon in the digital marketing world, you need to make sure your goals and brand values align with those of the person you’re teaming up with. Otherwise, you’ll end up damaging your brand, generating low-quality traffic and trashing your list with emails that have no potential.
The most trusted and credible form of advertising is personal recommendation, as according to Nielsen, 83%, or 8 out of 10 global consumers, trust word of mouth recommendations from friends and family. Influencers often enjoy a trust-based relationship with their community and can be incredibly powerful in terms of swaying their opinion. Look for someone who has the right kind of audience and is not a direct competitor of your business.
Incentivize the email forward to a friend
Again, personal recommendations can be incredibly effective. Deliveroo offers reward money if you invite a friend who orders food for the first time. Dropbox achieved staggering growth mostly due to this growth hacking idea to offer free storage space to users who invited their friends to sign up and try the app. Uber and Airbnb are also trying to capitalize on this technique by using monetary incentives. Since these wildly successful startups seem to be happily adopting the tactic, it’s safe to assume it is generating enough revenue to cover the costs. If you can’t afford to offer incentives that involve money, find a different offer that resonates with your audience.
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Produce valuable resources
There is no need to tout the importance of solid content, every decent marketer knows it’s gold. The only problem with content marketing is that it takes time to ramp up and show results. However, producing high-quality, valuable resources is a smart and effective workaround this issue. With a custom built landing page or smartly integrated email capture forms, downloadable long-form content, worksheets and gated online tools can generate a lot of interest and help you quickly grow your email list without breaking a sweat.
There are dozens of tools online that you can use to get the capture forms up and running in virtually no time (Email Before Download, WP Subscribe Pro, App Sumo or OptinMonster). If you decide to build a dedicated landing page to gate your content and collect email addresses, check out these easy-to-use landing page builders, like Instapage or Unbounce. Some marketers choose a more aggressive approach, which is to keep the resources locked until an email address is shared. It’s a great way to identify marketing qualified leads, as the initial barrier of sharing the email address puts off everyone who is just browsing. The other option would be to offer free access to all the content and resources and utilize popups or similar tools to entice visitors to sign up to a newsletter.
Redesign your main landing page to focus on email optin form using previously mentioned mental triggers
If you’re really serious about building an email list, take your time to revamp (or build from scratch) the main landing page, keeping in mind the mental triggers that drive people to take immediate action. The focal point of a robust lead capture page should be the email optin form that unapologetically asks visitors to join the email list in return for something very special. Ensure that you’re communicating the benefits clearly — when in doubt, simply read your landing page copy out loud and ask yourself “so what?”.
Here are several examples from successful email gurus who know how to optimize the email capturing process better than anyone else.
Image Source: Backlinko
Image Source: OkDork
Image Source: VideoFruit
Image Source: PJRvs
As you can see from the examples above, the most important mental triggers are authority and social proof, so be sure to include them in your design too.
Besides incorporating the mental triggers, you should also pay attention to the mobile intrusive interstitials penalty rolled out by Google in January this year. The penalty will impact pages “where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results”. One of the examples provided by Google states that pages displaying a popup that covers the main content and appears immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results or while they are looking through the page may not rank as high.
And that’s it, we’ve covered the most effective list building tactics that can help you breathe some life into your current strategy.
If you can build your own little community of subscribers who are interested in the same things as you are, turning this email list into a passive income source will be incredibly easy. However, it’s super important to remember that you need to know why you’re building the list and how you’re going to make money off it well before you start implementing any of the tactics we discussed here. Your business idea will massively influence how you go about building that list.