It’s not about size, it’s what you do with it right?
Well, yes… and no. Small databases may just be perfectly formed, but your contacts are always changing, so some growth is essential.
The real question is, if your’s is too small, what can you do about it? Growing your database relies on some MUST-DO’s. But cry, wail, berate though we do (even to *gasp* our own clients) every single day, they are not done, all over the web, on sites from all over the world.
Don’t be one of them. Here are a few of the MUST-DO’s to grow your email list:
- Ask. This is direct marketing. You must ask, directly, in many ways – buttons, text links, in-copy prompts, and from landing pages, blogs, Facebook and LinkedIn, etc. If you are a large business with a busy website this is even MORE critical. Get someone who has no involvement with your website – you mum for example – and ask them to get their name on your mailing list; watch over their shoulder while they sign up. Everywhere they attempt to look should have a text link, button or directive to join. Note how the GAP family of sites and RachelZoe.com do this right on the home page – their most valuable real estate. And they should know – we’d guess their testing budgets are big…
- Be attractive and useful. Now is not the time to be coy. Describe how you will help and waggle your benefits right in their face. Use pain-points that demonstrate you know their difficulties, and can help them solve them. Use value-adds and bonuses to incentivise their action. We developed our SmartMail Pro’s email series tools for just this purpose (Get our monthly specials and we’ll send you the ground-breaking tutorial ‘Get the most from health insurance’ in 5 parts, each week for the next 5 weeks, for free’). Yes your content is worth something but their email address is worth a lot – to you, and, even more to them. Use examples, testimonials and clear language to exchange value and to minimise their risk: ‘We will never ever give your details to anyone else’. Are your emails beautiful, and functional? It costs the same time and money to send an ugly email – but risks less pass-along, poor response rates. Make it rock. See email design examples here and ask us for some before and afters to see what a difference design can make.
- Make it easy. See the Bonus Resource on form design below and the example above of the Metrics Report Download on our own website (fill out your email address and then see the form on the next page) - DO ask for the personal details you can (and that you will) use to vastly improve the customers experience, such as Gender, Location, and broad preference categories. Date of birth is nice if you will use it to acknowledge their birthday. We’ve already said Do NOT hide the subscribe button deep in your site – get it out there! Please don’t ask for a mailing address, unless you really, really need it – it’s very offputting. If you have a call centre or CSR’s calling customers on the phone, or viceversa, then make sure they are asking for the email address, and getting permssion by explaining why it will be good to recieve emails from your company.
- Close the loop. Do what you said you would, when you said you would do it. Fulfilling the promises that you made is key to extend permission and take Seth Godin’s journey from stranger, to friend, to customer and then advocate. Handing over the email addy is a risk – make the risk pay off and you will have them. and their wallets, right where you need it.
- Use Advocates. Pass along, and social sharing using social media is one of the strongest advantages email has over other marketing channels, so use your SWYN tools not to send readers to your Facebook page but to get yourself on theirs, and if you don’t have these tools get us to set you up. Make sure you have clear path to subscribe in every email you send – we explain that fully here. Check out this post Fan, Follower, Subscriber – which one will buy?, and other previous GetSmart posts on social media and email marketing.
-Sign up/Registration form design: I have found a fascinating resource on web design usability that has several posts about form design, I recommend them all – just search their site. Your goal is to optimise the form, and the path to the form, so you increase the chance that web page visitors will persist and complete your form.
The first post is about the layout of the form: Vertical arrangement works fastest
-How New York Public Library grew their database by 50%. A case study.
Do you need plans, extraordinary design creative, and a real life team of global email experts to drive your email marketing and social media? Here we are – down under and always ready for action.