Despite the changing ways we receive and consume content, the one thing that's always constant in our lives is email. It's been around for as long as we can remember and it's something that we pretty much check every single day, be it our personal or work accounts. In theory, it's the perfect way to reach your audience, but the challenge isn't just making sure people read it, but also increasing the number of recipients.
The entire purpose of email marketing is to either promote yourself or something that you're offering, but how do you ensure that the number of people reading it goes up? There are a number of ways you can do it on the cheap, and won't require a major change in your overall strategy. All you need is to do some work and have a little bit of imagination.
What's The Incentive?
First of all, what reason will people want to read your email. Is it informative, do you curate articles, is it updating them about deals and offers they won't find anywhere else? What's the justification for them to open it up and read it in the first place? If you don't have a pull or incentive, then what's the point? This is also important for when you're getting people to sign up to your email in the first place.
Use Your Existing Contacts
If you already have an email database, whether it's big or small, there's certainly no harm in emailing them once to let them know about it. If you state that it's a once-off and provide a clear way for them to sign up to it properly, you'll get a number of people signing up to it, provided the content is up to scratch.
Like all things, there's a right and a wrong time to send your emails and most often, it depends on where your audience is. If this audience is based in one country or timezone, then your problem is simplified, but if they're spread out in different parts of the globe, then you will need to experiment a little. As a rule, the afternoon and evening is usually the best time to send your mail.
Make It Easy To Sign Up
You should make it as easy as possible for people to sign up to your email and ensure that the process is quick and easy. You can opt for a pop-up box which appears to those visiting the site for the first time, which is the strategy a lot of sites and blogs use.
Alternatively, you should set up a landing page where people can sign up, but you should also place a sign-up box on every page on your site. It doesn't need to be front and centre, but you should make sure it stands out and is immediately noticeable.
The good thing about having a landing page is if your emails are popular and you're getting positive feedback, you can ask people for testimonials to include on this page, therefore giving people more reasons to sign up to it. Whatever approach you end up taking, the next tip is…
Keep The Process Simple
The more hoops you make someone jump through, the less likely they are going to get to the end. Therefore, you should make the process as simple as possible. Keep it limited to just a name and email when they're signing up. If you really need more details than that, keep the number of required fields as low as possible. Remember, the more details someone has to fill out, the less likely they are going to complete the form.
Run A Competition
If you can afford it, running a competition is a brilliant way of building up your database. Wherever you run the competition, be it on Facebook, Twitter or on your site, you can have people enter by entering their email and building up a database there. How many people enter is entirely dependant upon the prize you're offering and how well you can promote it through your social media channels. Speaking of which...
Promote It Through Social Media Channels
This is rather obvious, but so long as you don't attempt to spam people with numerous updates about it, then it's a good idea to encourage signups by mentioning it. Posting status updates is the obvious way of going about this, but you should look at creating a Facebook tab promoting it, or include it as a banner image through LinkedIn. There are many creative ways to promote through social media so make sure you use all of them to your advantage.
Release eBooks or Reports
As always, giving something valuable to your audience is the best way to grow your database and if you can put the time in, releasing a report or writing an eBook is a great way of doing this. If you only ask visitors to provide their email address, you will find that the number of downloads will increase. Of course, you will have to promote this through word of mouth and your social media channels to ensure that as many people know about it as possible, but the rewards are there.
Do Some Guest Blogging
Ever notice that any time a celebrity does an interview with a major TV station or media organisation, it's to promote a show or movie that's just being released? Promoting yourself works the same way, but while you won't get a prime time interview, you can offer to guest post for blogs and sites within your niche. For one, it gets your name out there and secondly, it also allows you to promote yourself and include a call to action within your summary so if you're promoting an eBook or a newsletter. Most blogs are happy to accept guest posts so identify a few within your industry, find out what their criteria is and if they're accepting guest posts and work from there. Provided you offer a topic or post that would be useful to their audience and don't write the same thing twice, you should get some enthusiastic responses.