Email has been around for so long that it's near ubiquitous. There are adults out there - people who are your future subscribers - who have no memory of a time before email. So it can be easy to forget just how important email is to your agency's success. After all, if email is nearly invisible, how effective can it really be?
The short answer? If you want to be successful, you cannot ignore email.
The average return on investment (ROI) for a well-thought out and powerful email campaign is ridiculously high: for every dollar you spend, you can earn $40 back. Forty! Still want to focus on everything outside of your email strategy?
We didn't think so.
But before your strategy is kicked into gear - before you can measure how well your work has come to fruition - you need something more basic: subscribers. Without a strong subscribers list, you could be making the best marketing choices in the history of the field, but you'll be screaming them into an empty room. You need to do whatever is within your power in order to make sure that your list is growing daily. How do you do it? We're glad you asked!
A sadly common mistake made by so many in your position is a lack of reciprocation for potential subscribers. Too many potential subscribers are put off by the fact that they are expected to give you so much information. Even just giving an email is quite a leap for many people - and rightly so. We've all had moments of frantic realization that we have signed up for far too many newsletters. It's a nuisance, and the frustrating memory of full inboxes should always be fresh in everyone's minds.
The way you circumvent this is so, so simple. Offer something. That's all you need to do. Some prompt that promises something in return for signing up to another mailing list. These are known as Lead Magnets. Whether it's exclusive content, coupons, or just updates, having a lead magnet puts people at ease. It's ecommerce 101, and it's just good business.
Use your real estate
We're no longer in a one-and-done kind of world. If you've got a website, you need other platforms to point the way there. You want as many roads leading to your business as possible - your website is your Rome.
But you cannot leave the key step (hitting that subscribe button) for the last stop on your future client's journey. There are too many chances to lose their attention along the way. So why not use the space available? Do you have a Twitter account? A Facebook profile? Throw links up there. You can use your Twitter bio or a pinned tweet or Facebook post to entice more subscribers to sign up. The more space you're covering, the larger audience you're reaching. It's simple math - and it's math that is so often forgotten.
It doesn't end there. Think about the content you've created - the articles you've posted, the featured blogs. Each of these published pieces has the perfect place for a well-written, specific CTA as well as that wonderful subscription button or link. You've already interested someone enough to read your content, so why not entice them with more, the latest and greatest from your professional experience?
You've also got one more step, which seems paradoxical: email. Yes, you're trying to build your email subscription list. But we're not talking about your campaigns. Before your welcome or winback series, you'll be sending emails daily to any number of people. Some may be casual messages to friends and family, and some are going to be to potential clients and professional contacts. How do you use your everyday emails to gain more subscribers without coming across as if you're trying to build the foundation of a pyramid? Simple enough - you place it in your signature. Easy to do, you can update your email signature to include a CTA related to your subscription list. Those who aren't interested won't feel accosted, and those who could be interested will have yet another opportunity to follow you, your agency, and your work.
Testing, Testing, Testing
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. How do you maintain the best email list? Testing, testing, testing.
There are a million and one things that can be utilized when you're conducting tests. Testing will always be helpful, as long as you've got a goal in mind. What kind of changes can you make? Start by asking the right questions.
Does your subscription service have double opt-in functionality? This is a great tool for weeding out useless bots. But unless you are a large enough agency, this may be causing you more hassle than it's worth. Stop and think - are you using this information? What data do you really need? Could the double opt-in be seen as too time-consuming or suspect to your potential subscribers? Could the process be easier, more streamlined, and more direct?
Are your CTAs gripping enough? Ask around - friends, contacts, anyone. See if your calls are interesting enough. Are your lead magnets attractive enough? Play around with the copy, and make it as naturally flowing yet exciting as possible. The more intriguing the offer, the more likely you are to have people sign up.
You can even change the colour scheme of your CTA or subscription bar, to make it stand out more. Making it bolder and more eye-catching is a surprisingly effective way to draw attention. Small changes like this - constant updating, shifting lead magnets, and more - will help you add meaningful subscribers to your list.
Finally, what if none of this works? What can you do if people just aren't signing up? Add an exit pop-up! You can use exit pop-ups to prompt a last-minute subscription. Wait, one last thing! You could say, Subscribe before you leave to get the latest news! Barring this, you can always use exit pop-ups to gather feedback. Why are they leaving without subscribing? What could you do better? Negative criticism is constructive criticism; use the (in many cases free) tools available to you to gather everything you can. And then listen to what people tell you - listen, change, and watch for the positive results.
Make Damn Good Content
Of course, this is the ultimate thing to keep in mind. You can build a strong list, you can keep adding to it, but if your content isn't engaging, your list will atrophy faster than you can add to it. Look at what you're trying to do. You have focused your efforts, figuring out what it is you do. Make sure your content reflects that - too much coverage will make your site seem scatterbrained and unprofessional.
Look at how your content works. Analyze the performance. What topics are working well?
Being viewed, liked, shared, engaged with? Is there a pattern? Basically, you need to shift your perspective to see not what content performs best, but what content your audience wants. Make sure it's actionable, not vague advice. Add to that content, those themes, those posts and articles. They are the ultimate reason for your success. Good content is for them, not for you. Remember that.
Maybe writing isn't your strong suit. Maybe you're at a loss for ideas. But there are always avenues you can go down to find the people who can write, who are full of potential suggestions. There are many places to find the right talent for you, like here. And while it may be scary to spend the money for freelancers, you will be getting quality work and quality content. This will show. And if it's showing to you, you can bet that it's showing to your subscribers. If your content is damn good, your subscribers will turn to promoters. You help them, they help you.
There are so many ways to bolster your email lists. If you're not at least slightly tired, you're not working hard enough. This is just the beginning. Eventually, you will get to a point where you can take a more passive role and only do what you want to be doing. Now is not that time. Now you need to keep at it, constantly shifting your strategies. You won't always be right, and it won't always work. Your ideas won't always be the best - but lose the ego. Keep working, take the chances, and provide your readers with quality, not quantity.
Take your time, take some risks, and keep going - your list will grow, and so will your success.