How important is list size, really?
Brands and clients often praise reach as the be-all, end-all of KPIs. The more names on your email list, the better, right? Well, maybe not.
Serious email marketers agree that list size is far from the biggest indicator of success, but it’s equally problematic to ignore the metric entirely. The best solution? To grow your list by adding dedicated audience members in a purposeful, thoughtful way. Bonus: This approach is much easier than trying to convince a client that “list size doesn’t matter all that much.”
Below, a few savvy techniques to help you accomplish that Holy Grail of healthy list growth.
One way to bolster your reach is to co-host a sweepstakes with another brand.
First, pinpoint a brand to partner with. Make sure this brand feels like a natural extension of your own. If you’re Under Armour, a good partner might be Gatorade. If you’re Patagonia, think Nature Valley. This approach helps ensure that each of you reaches a bigger audience that still falls comfortably within your target demographics. After all, you want potential consumers—not an army of future unsubscribes.
Once a partnership is in place, each brand should promote the sweepstakes independently to their respective audiences, requiring an email address to enter.
At the end, the two brands (now BFFs) share the email addresses gathered from sweepstakes entries. And just like that, you’ve tapped into a fresh pool of subscribers. Make sure to onboard these newcomers properly—they may have no reason to love or trust your brand, so take the time to introduce yourself and provide value from the get-go.
When it comes to email marketing, providing value to your consumer is the name of the game. And if you want to build a super-qualified and engaged audience, gated content is your golden goose. This includes everything from white papers to downloadables to webinars and more. If you’re asking a reader to hand over an email address in return for something great, you need to deliver on that promise.
The trade-off of providing gated content is huge. It helps to position your brand as an expert on a given topic and will help cultivate a dedicated audience with an above-average interest in what you have to offer.
Often, a client or brand may think that a major campaign is needed to drum up new email subscribers, when in reality a few tweaks to the current capture strategy may do the trick.
Before kicking off a labor-intensive campaign, take a look at the placement of the email capture on your website. Is it accessible no matter where a consumer lands? Make sure it can be found easily in the footer, contact page, and any other logical touchpoints.
Second, consider pop-ups and slide-ins. The jury is still out on whether these negatively impact user experience, but, when leveraged appropriately, they are the most effective tactic for growing an email list. In particular, brands are seeing a lot of success using pop-ups with exit intent—that is to say, the pop-up is only served after the plugin recognizes that the user is ready to leave the site.
Finally, evaluate the incentives you’re offering. Like gated content, some sort of sign-up incentive can add a nice boost to your conversion rate. Whether you’re dangling a promo code or a promise of the latest, greatest news first, a clear, enticing CTA can have a positive effect on your email list.