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How to boost email lists in 2017

Successful email marketing depends upon a strong and healthy subscription list. IAN SPENCER outlines some strategies that retailers can use to expand their online mailing lists in 2017.

Amidst the many digital-related strategies available to retailers, an increasing number of businesses are realising that email marketing still works; however, the power of making it successful is through ensuring there are relevant subscribers and that the subscription list is constantly expanded to maximise reach.

Every mailing list needs to start somewhere, which means if jewellers are only now sending their first few emails to a small subscriber list then they shouldn’t be put off. Unless businesses have the money to increase their lists quickly, they will need to work on organic growth; this takes time, effort and a lot of patience before results become evident.

Retailers must always be expanding their lists to make them worthwhile.

Here are six simple ways to boost email marketing numbers in 2017.

Offer a downloadable guide

Free guides work across all industries – a jeweller could offer a complimentary guide for keeping jewellery clean in exchange for a consumer’s email address, for example. Alternatively, a garage business could provide a free car maintenance guide. 

Businesses should not fear they are giving away information for free because it’s likely that nine out of every 10 people who take the guide either won’t read it or won’t follow it. Over time, multiple guides can also be printed as hard copy books to be sold in-store or given away with a purchase.

Run a competition

Everyone likes a competition where they stand a chance of winning either something they want or something they need.

A competition could be as easy as a prize draw where each new subscriber goes into a draw to win a free ring valuation, check and clean. The giveaway doesn’t even have to relate to the business so why not offer movie tickets or an iTunes voucher?

There is nothing wrong with this kind of encouragement – hundreds of big brand retailers do it every day. The cost of investment can be minimal but the exposure and reach such a competition could yield is massive. Just remember to promote it.

Provide a discount or free gift

Following from the previous point, most businesses can offer something for nothing without it really impacting the bottom line.

It does not have to be an expensive gift or large discount; it just needs to add value, which could mean a complimentary pack of cleaning wipes or a gift-wrapping service.

Make it easy to join

Too many businesses hide their sign-up forms on their websites, thinking forms are wasted space because they won’t lead to an instant sale.

If the average customer connects with a business eight to nine times before they buy something, adding them to a mailing list might quicken this process and all it takes is for the customer to tick a box.

This will also allow retailers the chance to slowly sell to customers via amazingly-crafted newsletters.

Forward to a friend

Word of mouth is sometimes dismissed but its power has been proven time and again. Businesses should encourage existing subscribers to make their friends, family and colleagues also join the mailing list. Retailers should be making efforts to incentivise their current customers to bring more subscribers to the table.

There are many ways to incentivise users to introduce friends who might then turn into buyers. Some examples include providing special discounts on their next orders or offering free gifts.

If at first one doesn’t succeed…

Retailers can’t expect potential customers to do what is asked of them the first time they are asked. For some, a free guide is going to be enough while others may need a discount or physical gift to join the email list. For the rest, well, it might be a combination of a few things.

It can take many associations with a business before some customers wish to sign up to anything. Do not fear asking more than once or offering consumers different reasons to join.

This year is going to be a challenging one for online marketing with more competitors now understanding why they should be investing in areas like social media advertising and SEO.

It makes sense to generate more business from existing customers, rather than continually chase new ones.

Retailers would be wise to ensure email campaigns are planned, prepped and ready to really roll in 2017.

Ian Spencer

Contributor • IS Digital Marketing

Ian Spencer runs IS Digital Marketing and specialises in SEO, Google Adwords and online marketing strategies. Learn more: isdigitalmarketing.co.uk

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