Aug 8, 2016
You’ve read it over and over, on virtually every digital marketing publication out there….
“Build a high quality subscriber list!”
And for good reason.
Social media platforms and search engines can release a single algorithm update or change that can completely eliminate the value of your digital marketing strategy. We’ve seen this happen, most notably with Google and Facebook.
On occasion, Google releases an update that seems to completely overturn the SEO status quo, causing bloggers, influencers and businesses that were once thriving online and enjoying significant organic search traffic and high rankings to find themselves with a fraction of the search success they once enjoyed.
A few years ago, anyone who liked a Facebook page would see nearly every post shared by that brand. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case. Facebook claims it’s due to an algorithm update which serves more relevant content to users rather than subjecting them to a newsfeed overflowing with excessively promotional posts. Detractors would argue that it’s a calculated move by Facebook to force businesses into paying to advertise on their platform.Unless the brand is willing to pay to promotetheir posts, they’ll be lucky to have 5-10% of their followers see their updates.
Email, on the other hand, is different. Email marketing allows you to engage with your audience on your terms. Once you have captured someone’s email address, you can open up a direct line of communication with that individual. Because of this, email subscribers are your most valuable followers.
But just because you have email subscribers doesn’t mean they're converting into customers.
It’s possible to accumulate a hundred thousand subscribers without seeing a substantial increase in your conversion rate. However, it’s also possible to make thousands of dollars in sales off an email list of just a few hundred.
What’s the differentiator?
Knowing how to convert your subscriber list into customers.
Once you understand the basics of building your subscriber list, it’s time to transition your focus to converting them. The following five steps can help turn your list into a highly profitable component of your marketing strategy.
You’ve likely heard the statistic that email marketing offers a 3800% ROI, or $38 return for every $1 invested. And considering that email is 40 times more effective than Facebook or Twitter at acquiring new customers, it can be tempting to try and acquire as many email subscribers as possible. But this isn’t necessarily the best business decision.
All subscribers are not created equal. Unless they’re at least somewhat interested in using your product (or sharing it with other potential clients), they’re a waste of money and energy.
If you focus on building subscribers rather than building the right subscribers, you may resort to quick growth strategies like offering monetary giveaways or free products with mass appeal. Although these activities can sometimes work with consumer products, they are certainly a frivolous endeavor for B2B brands. When you offer something with broad appeal for free, you’ll end up with participants who aren’t actually interested in your product.
Instead of trying to acquire anyone and everyone’s email address, strategically analyze how you can optimize the collection of the right emails addresses.
The Digital Marketing Institute does this by offering free resources like our ebook How to Become a Social Selling Success Using LinkedIn. This free downloadable content provides value to people who may be interested in our courses – ensuring that our email list is built around those who will benefit from a relationship with us. Meanwhile, those without an interest in digital marketing won’t waste their time by subscribing!
Make your email signup forms easily accessible, offer the right signup incentives, and provide valuable content on your blog. These are the activities that will increase the speed at which you develop relevant subscribers who are more likely to convert.
One of the most effective ways to increase the conversion rates of your emails is to segment your audience. It turns out that 77% of email ROI comes from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns that offer the right product to the right customer at the right time.
How do you segment your subscribers? By using a CRM tool like Infusionsoft, AgileCRM, or Hubspot that will allow you to track where subscribers came from, what campaigns they’ve interacted with, and how they’ve interacted on your website.
Over time these pieces of software are able to develop a very clear picture of each user, what their interests are, and the types of products or services that may actually interest them.
Once you have this understood, you can then target your subscribers with information on and offers for the right products at the right time to maximize conversions.
A great example of a business that segments is TravelZoo. This site offers fantastic travel deals all over the world – and segments their audience by location and interests. If you sign up and begin searching for deals from San Francisco, future emails will share deals exclusively from the Bay Area.
This activity ensures that people receive deals and offers that will actually be of interest to them, making them more likely to make a purchase, and less likely to unsubscribe.
If your emails focus exclusively on spamming subscribers in an effort to get them to buy, you’ll quickly lose followers and reduce the ROI of your email campaigns.
Instead, recognize email for what it is - a tool to help develop long-term relationships with followers.
To do this, start by making the emails personal. Personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%. When you use people’s names and any other information that you’ve collected from them, you’ll be able to make the content resonate more. After all, we all like being called by our names.
Next, focus on providing incredibly useful content. Offer advice and content that can entertain, inspire, and educate your audience. As readers learn to expect value from their interactions with you, they’ll pay more attention to the emails they receive from you.
Dan Norris of WPCurve.com realized that most people who use WordPress are interested in content marketing. Therefore, his email and blog provide advice on this topic and anything related to the specialism. Business enthusiasts subscribe to his emails and share his content because of the specific value it offers. Then, when these entrepreneurs realize that they would appreciate additional WordPress support, they purchase his service.
With the amount of data available to marketers today, it’s easier than ever to monitor the performance of your email campaigns. Evaluate your most effective subject lines, content, topics, and links to discover the elements of your highest-performing emails. Then, do more of it.
You never know which elements of your campaign may have the greatest influence on open and click rates. With 68% of Americans saying they base their decision to open an email on the ‘From’ name, even the name you use to present yourself in your emails can have an impact on open rates.
To maximize reader interactions, A/B test as much as possible to evaluate which titles, formats, and topics seem to appeal most to your readers – then focus on doing more of what works.
When one campaign receives a particularly high engagement rate, evaluate its different elements and try integrating aspects into your next campaign to see what seems to attract the most engagement. Every time you find an element that does well, expand upon it to try and make your campaigns even better. Over time, your data-driven approach to email marketing will result in an incredibly efficient and profitable email marketing strategy.
An excellent example of the effective use of analytics is the online shopping behemoth, Amazon. Amazon constantly tracks what titles, CTAs, and products deliver the highest conversion rates. The next time you visit Amazon, pay attention to the follow up emails you receive – everything from when you receive them, to what they show, has been analyzed down to the letter!
The final step to a high-converting email campaign is a CTA that is very clear, succinct and transparent. After engaging with a recipient through a well-crafted subject line and email, it’s time to guide them to the next step in the sales process. Do this with a CTA that includes text, images, and links.
Now that most email marketing tools allow for transactional content within the email, don’t hesitate to sell directly to them. In fact, transactional emails have 8x more opens and clicks than any other type of email, and can generate 6x more revenue.
Finally, use A/B testing and data analysis to determine the effectiveness of your CTAs. Track the click-through rate and sales delivered through your emails to evaluate what works and what needs improvement. As you discover the most effective strategies over time, you can further develop these to help grow your following and improve your bottom-line.
Many of the most popular bloggers who offer educational courses and eBooks have mastered the art of adding a clear CTA to the end of every email. After guiding you through the many benefits and perks of purchasing their program, they end with temporary discounts or limited spaces to create an incentivizing sense of urgency. These large buttons and appealing discounts make it very easy for the reader to know what their next step should be.
Now that you know what’s necessary to maximize the value of your email list, analyze your current list. How engaged are they? What have they clicked on the most in the past?
As you study what has worked in the past, and replicate your most effective activities, you’ll discover the optimal email marketing strategy for your audience.
Meanwhile, if you’ve discovered other email marketing tips that we may have missed in this article, feel free to share in the comments below. We always enjoy learning from the success of others.