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While it’s easy get caught up in the race to get to the top of people’s newsfeeds, and incorporate the latest trending format to your content marketing, there is an inconvenient truth when it comes to marketing in social media—branded contents’ organic reach is plummeting.
In fact, it’s been happening for a while. According to an analysis from Social@Oglivy, organic reach of the content brands publish on Facebook has taken a significant hit since October of 2013 – predicting that it will only be a matter of time before organic reach of branded content reaches zero.
But while no one is saying that it’s time to abandon social media marketing altogether, this development only emphasizes why email marketing, and growing your email list, remain crucial aspects of your digital marketing.
The email advantage
There are a couple of key realities that have led to organic reach’s inevitable demise: the fact that an increasing number of Facebook users (2 billion in June 2017) are creating more and more content competing in people’s newsfeeds; and the simple fact that Facebook needs and wants its share of advertising dollars.
Below are just some of the reasons why email, and a good email list can be better than even the most aggressive social media marketing:
While it may seem counterintuitive at first, emails get more attention than a post on Facebook simply because there are more posts and tweets on people’s feeds than there are emails in their inboxes. Thus, if you have a healthy number of people opting in to your email list, you are actually competing with less items than you would on social media.
As much as social media channels have evolved over the years, publishing content on them means relying on the limited capabilities they allow you to have. With email, you are able to be more versatile and have full control over the type of content you send out to your list.
You can personalize email messages in ways that just isn’t possible with social media posts. A message still has a more profound effect on people when they feel like it’s truly meant for them.
To add an even more personal touch, you can be more specific with how you send out emails by segmenting your list however you please and see fit. With the available information that tells you what emails are being opened, and which links in those emails are being clicked, you are armed with better tools to decide how to segment your list to appeal to targeted subscribers.
Testing what works
A/B multivariate testing has long been considered one of the most important tools available to a marketer, and email is excellent at the many permutations of testing all factors such as content variations, personalization, segmentation, CTA’s, copy length, image use, what links are clicked, and virtually everything else involved in your emails.
Why buying an email list is a bad idea
With the factors discussed above, you might be tempted to go for the quick fix of growing your email list by buying one. The temptation heats up further when marketers are under pressure to build their number subscribers, and are faced with list-purchasing companies selling a bulk of email addresses for cheap.
But here are just some of the reasons why you should have second thoughts before purchasing email lists:
Poor list quality
There’s a reason those email addresses are for sale – whether they’ve been spammed endlessly by all the other people that have purchased the same list, or it’s comprised of old and rarely used emails, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to be able to buy a list that is worth having.
Ask yourself this, if you had a list of valuable email addresses, wouldn’t you keep it to yourself?
What would you do if you received an email from a company you didn’t ask to hear from, or worse, one that you haven’t even heard of before? Sending out emails to strangers who haven’t opted in to your email list will almost certainly guarantee that your email gets deleted, and after a while, reported as spam.
Sending out email campaigns – which required time, resources, and brain thrust – to someone’s inbox without permission is a waste of even the most creative, thoughtfully crafted campaigns.
Bad mailing rep
In case you haven’t heard of them honeypots and spam traps are a couple of the main tools used by organizations to combat email spam. Basically, honeypots are planted email addresses that when emailed, identifies the sender as a spammer, while spam traps can detect when old and invalid addresses continue to receive consistent traffic.
So when you purchase a list, there is virtually no way for you to know which of those email addresses will lead to you being identified as a spammer. This not only makes your email deliverability take a significant hit, you also damage your IP address and your company’s reputation. And you don’t want that.
You can learn more about international spam laws here.
You can’t even
Even if you insist, if you use a reputable email service provider to send your campaigns, you won’t be allowed to use purchased lists. Like at all.
What to do instead
The obvious answer, of course, is to grow your list organically. There are a slew of creative ways to do so.
Here are some tips on how to grow your email list:
Make it easy and exciting
You need to incentivize signing up to your emails list by making it not only making the process as easy as possible, but by making it attractive with enticing offers attached to the opt-in form.
For example, you can put an opt-in form on your sidebar with a clear CTA like “Want to get updates and discounts on the latest sneaker releases?”
Location, location, location
You can use eye-tracking analytics to monitor every one of your site visitors, which show you the areas on your website people are actually paying attention to. As such, you’ll need to use that information and place multiple opt-in forms around your website.
There are a number of email marketing software solutions that have opt-in code generators that makes it easy to paste a code in the most popular areas of your site.
As noted by Shopify, one of the best ways to build your list is by making sales, and as such, the checkout page is a good place for an opt-in form – allowing you to add existing customers to your email list after they make a purchase. You can even offer promo codes for first time customers who subscribe to your list – it takes a very rare breed of shopper to ignore discounts.
Depending on your line of business, there are many ways to offer free content to your subscribers that accomplishes both growing your mailing list, and conditioning into a buying state of mind.
Some ideas from Shopify include:
- Clothing stores creating seasonal fashion guides
- Booksellers offering chapters of bestsellers
- Musicians offering free downloads of their songs
Similar to how marketers channel their creativity in creating content and campaigns, there are also a plethora of ways with which you can creatively grow your email list organically.
Building a list takes a lot of time, effort, and patience, but in the long run, it will be worth exponentially more than the damaging quick fix that is resorting to buying lists.
Learn more about growing email lists, you’ll find it to be of great benefit to your business!