How to Incentivize Your Email Marketing Opt-In: List Building Tactics

The majority of businesses use Mailchimp or AWeber to manage their email subscribers and distribution activities.  But is your business guilty of installing an email subscription form (or two) on your website and letting it languish without actively using it to recruit new customers?

Like any other tool, email marketing only works if you ‘put the work in’ and add it to your ongoing promotional and content marketing activities. You have to always remember that consumers and B2B decision makers are skeptical of any request to acquire their email. 

We all hate SPAM right?  But if you effectively communicate value that they will get by remaining a subscriber, not only will you grow your email distribution list, but you’ll start to build important inroads with your target customers, that can help lead to referrals, and new business.

Ready to get started? Our Marketing Manager and Content Specialist Lori Ann Reese will break down all the information you need to know, to get your B2C or B2B email marketing strategy started.   We’ll also identify some of the tools you can use to integrate your email marketing with social media outreach.  Think of it as the most powerful prospecting content strategy you can deploy for your business.

How Well Does Email Marketing Work Right Now?

It’s a lot of work, and as a busy entrepreneur or SMB, you may be asking yourself if email marketing is really worth the effort.

What is the potential for successful ongoing email marketing strategies, in terms of generating traffic to your blogs or content collateral, participation in your promotional events and sales conversions?

  • 30% of email subscribers have purchased from the business or brand that engaged them in a drip email marketing campaign.
  • 77% of people prefer to get permission-based promotional messages via email (versus direct mail, text, or social media).
  • Welcome emails (initiated upon a website visit or the purchase of a product or service) produces 320% more revenue on a per email basis than sales or promotional cold emails.
  • 80% of retailers indicate that email marketing is their strongest tool for customer loyalty and retention.  Followed by social media (44%).

One of the most important things to remember about email marketing, is that it is permission based.  Sure, we all react the same way when we receive a spam email from a business that we have never heard of or engaged with online.  It’s kind of offensive right? 

If you the consumer has no idea about the business sending the email, then you can pretty much bet that they don’t know you.   So, in essence, you are being treated with a herd mentality, and that’s not a great personal introduction to a product or service that you may wish to buy.

Because we know that unsolicited marketing is rejected frequently by consumers, creating a personalized journey that invites a consumer (or B2B prospect) to get to know your business, product(s) and service offering is the goal.   The first step in personalization is getting your website visitors to subscribe to your email list.

Personalizing Your Email Content

Do consumers and B2B organizations like spam emails? Nope.  But do they appreciate emails that offer them products, services or valuable information they can use to grow their business? Absolutely. When you are designing your email marketing strategy, keep your focus on delivering content that adds value. 

When you personalize your email marketing, you are looking to strike that sweet spot, where you are both subtly positioning your business as a solution to a need, while giving the reader something they can use right away to start to solve their problem.

Businesses that are not getting results from their email marketing program can benefit from separating their campaigns into highly focused segments. It is the design of personalization that is missing from many email marketing strategies. 

Creating a blanket approach doesn’t convert customers.  It is easier for your marketing team to create one campaign, but less effective than creating multiple campaigns that are strategically targeted to specific niche customers.  That’s right, each market segment should have its own campaign and content journey.

So, if you are sending blanket mass broadcast emails that start with ‘Dear Valued Customer’ and getting a flurry of ‘unsubscribe’ requests, and unopened emails, you know where the problem lies.  In 2019 we have some of the most digitally fluent consumers this planet has ever seen.  If you don’t think they recognized a blanket email… you’d be dead wrong.   That’s why segmentation matters so much, in digital marketing.

What the Heck Is Email Segmentation? (And Will It Hurt?)

Small and medium sized businesses do not have the same advertising budgets at big retailers, or large chains of service providers.  It’s natural to assume that the reason the ‘big guys’ get such great results, is that they throw a lot more money at it.   Hundreds of thousands of dollars monthly at pay-per-click campaigns or big flashy high-ticket give away contests.

Yep, they do, but that’s not the only secret to their mass marketing success.  In our experience working with many global organizations, the one thing that they do differently (and better than small and medium sized businesses) is segmentation.

Here is a simple example that demonstrates why segmentation is important.

In Denison Texas there is one epic café that we love on main street that will give your dog a treat, if you get your latte through the drive through.  Every dog gets the same treat, but what happens if your dog doesn’t like that treat? While the business is making a valid gesture that is appreciated, it falls short if your dog doesn’t want it.  And as a customer, you appreciate the gesture, but feel a little bit let down, because it doesn’t have as much value to you.

Take another café I went to in Dallas Texas.  I still remember being shocked when asked what kind of treat my dog would prefer? A soft one, or a hard one.  This case is such a basic example, but it demonstrates what happens when you customize an incentive.  And that picky chihuahua?  She loved the soft treat, and her owner left a great review for them on Google, acknowledging that fantastic service experience!

Assume the same thing when you are sending one single incentive to your entire list of email subscribers.  Do they all want the same product or service?  Probably not.  But you can (and should) create sub lists in your Mailchimp or the email software you are using, to segment these groups into their most desired incentive, content of interest and more.

Suddenly, you have added personalization to your email marketing strategy. This involves thinking about people from the perspective of their interests. 

No, you are not going to have the time to talk to each one of them about what they are interested in most, but there are some strategies you can use to help you segment your bulk email marketing list, into more actionable segments, and then provide a more customized communication and sales approach with each one.

You can:

1. Send a preliminary blanket email and have your subscribers participate in a survey, that will give you the information you need to segment them into the appropriate distribution group.  The script for that email might look something like this:

“At [ABC Company] we are interested in providing you with content we know you will find useful and enjoy.  Please take a minute to complete our survey and share what special offers and information you would like to see more of.”

Now, to get that response you want, and reduce instances of people unsubscribing from your list, you can put a little contest behind it, or reward incentive.

“Thank you for taking the time to respond to our customer survey.  To thank our customers, we will be awarding two $50 Amazon gift cards by random selection.  Prize winners will be announced on our [ABC Company] Facebook page on September 5th

Pre-qualify your customers and build referrals with segmented email marketing.

Don’t forget to hyperlink your Facebook Company page, so that they will be prompted to follow you, and watch for the contest announcement leading up to the award date.  Will they tell their friends? Absolutely! And as that customer engages with your posts on Facebook, their network of family and friends on the social channel will also see that activity too.   Now, you are reaching out organically to recruit new customers.

Based on the responses from your survey, you can then create multiple lists and organize your subscribers based on the products or services that they are most interested in.  Now, when you go to send your 1-3 emails per month, you’ll be sending customized copy that directly addresses their interest or need.  Those emails get opened, because your customers appreciate being treated like an individual, rather than marketed information that they have little to no interest in.

To keep your segmented lists growing, you can modify your subscribe form on your website, with a few check boxes that can help you sort new subscribers by actionable interest criteria.  You can also hire our development team to build a customization from that form, that automatically subscribes them into a segmented list for you. 

Wow, right?  Now you have turned your email subscription form into a powerful lead generating assistant for your business, that does all the work for you!

Ready to Get Started?

Want to get a segmented professional email program and automations set up for your website? Our team at Social Me Multimedia does more than simply install your new lead generation or sales funnel, we can help you by copy writing the sequential emails, programming them to fire off automatically to onboard new customers, and much more.

Contact us today to learn more about our integrated content and lead generation services.  We provide a free consultation to explain how your new funnel will work and support our clients with training so that they can manage their marketing activities with confidence (and get results).

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