With the advent of social media, you might assume that email marketing is a thing of the past. But that could not be less true.
Email marketing should be a central pillar of your content marketing strategy.
It has lots of benefits over social media and organic search:
- Email puts you in control. (Just obey opt-in best practices)
- Email converts better than social media
- Thus, Email can have a better ROI on average
- You have total design control in email
- Email will be around forever
All well and good…
Except, if you are like most new websites you might not have much of an email list to start off. So how do you convert website visitors to email subscribers?
Also, how do you convert qualified readers to your email list so you don’t end up with spam complaints and poor opens?
Here’s what you can do to convert readers to email subscribers without irritating them in the process.
1. Make Signing Up Easy – From Any Piece of Content
When you want readers to sign up for your email marketing campaign, making it easy for them is a good place to start.
Place registration fields on all relevant pages that clearly state what a subscriber will receive, whether it’s marketing tips, product promos and discounts, or company news and updates.
Most importantly, let your language guide readers in rather than forcing a subscription just to view your content or access your website. Many companies use large pop-ups with confusing wording that implies to site visitors that registration is necessary.
The worst offenders try hiding the button to close the ad or putting opt-out language in teeny-tiny text.
While this tactic can get page visitors to sign up, it will also make them feel forced and resentful, which is not the attitude you want in prospective email subscribers.
2. Follow Through on Your Content Promises
One of the most common ways to prompt web visitors onto a mailing list is to offer an incentive, like an ebook or informative podcast.
In general, this method tends to be effective, ensuring that only those truly interested in your products or services end up on the list.
Unfortunately, many companies leave the end product as something to be desired, sending new subscribers a pamphlet with big font rather than a thoughtful, comprehensive e-book.
When you offer something to your subscribers in exchange for signing up, make sure it’s worth their while. If you are running contests or specials to get users to subscribe, keep incentives, discounts, and offers going to ensure readers don’t feel tricked by the promise of a payout.
3. Build Personal Connections with Content Language and Tone
Many businesses believe that formal, professional language is the best way to promote themselves as an authority.
But in truth, overly formal content can create a barrier between companies and readers, taking merit away from the message you’re trying to send.
It’s okay to put personal spin on emails in order to make subscribers feel as though they are valued and appreciated on a familiar level.
Consumers are far more likely to invest time and money into a company they feel connected to, making the ways in which you frame your communication vital to keeping readers on your list.
If all of your emails are dry and boring, your readers are much more likely to disregard your correspondence as irritating and unnecessary.
4. Use Multiple Email Lists
If you sell more than one product, there’s a good chance that your email subscribers will have different wants and needs.
While some communications, like site discounts and company updates, can go to everyone, consider separate mailing lists based on products and services.
Targeting gender-specific or item-specific communications at people who are not interested is a good way to lose subscribers, making it important to create content that people will want to read.
Most consumers lead busy lives and are on many mailing lists, making it all the more important that you target your communications to the right audience.
When readers are bombarded by irrelevant messages, opting out starts to look better and better.
5. Invest Time in High-Quality Email Content
One of the quickest ways to lose email subscribers is to provide poor quality content.
Whether your emails are regular blasts about sales and new merchandise or blog links and article teasers, whatever you’re sending needs to be worthwhile. Poor content stands out vividly to readers, creating a negative impression that can put the reputation of your company at stake.
Readers equate lackluster content with a lackluster business, meaning that every grammar error or run on sentence that finds its way into your content marketing might just be the proverbial nail in the coffin of how your readers view you.
By investing in high quality content, you can provide readers with something that lives up to what you and your business have to offer.
6. Make your Email Marketing Interactive
People love talking about themselves; it’s a part of human nature. Email marketing is generally one-sided: companies send emails, and subscribers can peruse them at their leisure.
However, when things aren’t working out as you hoped, it’s time to open up to your readers and let them talk to you instead of the other way around.
Periodically requesting opinions can yield insights that go beyond what analytics can tell you, letting you hear back from your subscribers on exactly what they want to receive in their inboxes.
Survey questions can ask anything from preferences on numbers of emails per week to the content customers want to read, giving you a clear path for your strategy.
In addition, asking for questions creates a connection between readers and businesses, making it more likely that your subscribers will stick around.
A Quick Final Note – Be Authentic
Email marketing has the potential to be extremely effective, but only when handled properly.
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is to trick readers into subscribing through false promises or site access, leading to unhappy readers who will send emails straight into the trash.
By always treating readers, customers, and potential customers with respect, you can create an email marketing campaign that will make sure your emails are not only received but opened, read, and utilized too.