It's all about size. In today's e-marketing world, a robust email list is no longer a luxury it's a must-have. Truth is, list atrophy is a fact of life and, in the long-run, could capsize ones campaigns. Since we all know database lists change, and at times dwindle, the onus falls on marketers to apply concerted efforts to grow, expand and cultivate.
That's why resting easy when ones list reaches a satisfying size isn't the smartest way to play. The secret to success is to continually forge and attract relationships with new customers and qualified prospects because eventually turnover happens.
Like ones own "field of e-dreams," if one builds it and keeps it strong, one will create more opportunities for customers to come to the company.
The time for growth is now. Create a thriving list for the future. As many marketers attest, one of the thorniest challenges in marketing today is list turnover. In fact, according to Jupiter Research's 2006 E-mail List Growth Survey, 39 percent of those polled say it's the Achilles Heal of their efforts. With a stat like this, the desire to fertilize lists for success is foremost on many marketers' minds.
Strategy Number 1: Overcome perceived limitations
In "recession-like" climates, many companies react by cinching budgets and predicting uncertainty. But we're here to say, contrary to this "flinch and cinch" approach, now is the perfect time to invest in list growth.
A company's email list is one of the most valuable assets, and it must be cultivated over time to combat list fatigue and attrition. Small investments now will result in big future payoffs just in time for the next holiday shopping season.
Strategy Number 2: Crunch the numbers
To yield the payoff a company is after, first define the numbers that matter. The easiest way to sum it up is to create a plan that measures and tracks list performance. Here's a quick outline to get one started:
Create a list-growth strategy that defines conversion goals over weeks, months and years
By what percentage should one wish to increase their database?
What methods will one use to accomplish this growth?
What is the total expected cost of this time and resources investment?
Factor in expected losses based on industry standards and create your company's own benchmarks
On average, one can expect up to one-third of ones list to become non-deliverable on an annual basis
A large percentage of non-deliverable email addresses can adversely impact ones deliver ability rates and depress ones other email response metrics
Monitor ones database. Are your company's loss trends in-line with industry norms? Is deactivation higher or lower than what was planned?
Measure your company's success quotient
Calculate how many new opt-ins one needs to acquire in order to outpace deactivations and unsubscribes
Monitor ones monthly list size and compare it with stated goals
Is growth outpacing attrition? Is your company on track or falling behind the curve?
Set an annual budget for list-growth tactics and integrate it within your company's larger marketing budget
Growing in ones own backyard
Building ones list the natural way is truly a hands-on experience. By "organic," we mean tactics that involve rolling up ones sleeves, using ingredients your company already has, and cultivating growth with creative ideas.
The most productive and economical method
When one build organically, optimize ones existing customer touch points to obtain email addresses for as many customers as possible. Organically acquired opt-ins will be ones most responsive email subscribers, because they already have an existing relationship with your company. If you're an e-tailer, point-of-sale and special offer incentives can boost list growth in a few keystrokes. If you sell worthy causes or steward brands, prominent sign-up buttons and navigation links provide easy opt-in touch points.
Apply 'organic' growth widely
As one expands their list the organic way, one builds on existing customer relationships and data your company already have. That's why it makes great sense to apply this tactic whenever and wherever one can and reap the benefits of earthly toil. Here are just a few ways to put this plan into action starting now.
TIP Number 1: Utilize customer touch points
Include email opt-ins at all customer touch points: cash register/shopping cart points-of-sale; online registration for products, services or general inquiries; packaging inserts; trade shows and exhibits; thank you cards and order confirmations
TIP Number 2: Build ones brand
Generate interest by promoting sign-up incentives through relationship marketing and PR outreach; business cards and printed collateral; and email campaigns with discounts, gifts and refer-a-friend offers
TIP Number 3: Devise a link strategy
Place sign-up links in prominent locations on ones website for example, above the Web page fold; in left or top navigation areas; or in an obvious promotional button, tile or banner ad
TIP Number 4: Integrate ones navigation
Make ones sign-up link(s) constantly available place perennial links in navigation bars
TIP Number 5: Wage campaigns and promotions
Launch promotional campaigns aimed at surging site traffic and motivating new sign-ups - stir interest with information tidbits, tunes, ring tones, discounts and free gifts
TIP Number 6: Make it easy
Remove all barriers to sign-ups, such as asking too much of customers, adding too many data fields to a form, or making the sign-up experience time-consuming or confusing
When organic list growth isn't good enough
If one crunches the numbers and conclude ones list just isn't growing fast enough, paid list growth is an excellent way to add a little fertilizer and fuel organic growth. By combining paid and organic list growth strategies, you are casting the broadest net possible to connect with existing customers and new prospects.
Test paid tactics to learn what works for your business
Paid list growth tactics work, but not all tactics work for all marketers. Since your business is going to be spending hard earned budget dollars, it is important to test different list growth tactics to learn what works best based on your company's specific goals and objectives. Once you learn what tactics work best for your company, you can develop a roll out strategy to optimize your response and cost to acquire. Here are some paid list growth tactics to put on your company's test list:
Test Number 1: Co-registration
Co-registration involves placing your company's logo and offer on another publisher's site to acquire opt-ins. After opting-in to your email program, the consumer receives an auto-responder message confirming their opt-in status which provides an excellent opportunity to drive traffic directly to your website.
Co-registration is also a branding tool. Even if a consumer does not opt-in to your email program, you still get the benefit of making a branding impression just by displaying your logo and offer on the site.
Co-registration works best for marketers who have a well known brand with a broad target audience.
Test Number 2: Rent a List
Renting a list is a great way to utilize another publisher's qualified, permission-based email list to drive incremental revenue and acquire new customers.
You can be highly targeted with list rental selections, which enables you to closely match your target audience.
Good creative design and a clear call to action are essential for list rental success. You may only have one chance to make a good impression so you need to make a big impact right away.
When you rent from a trusted source, you're guaranteed list integrity. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't a good investment.
Test Number 3: Email append and email change of address services
Enlarge your list fast by expanding on what you already know. Email appending involves taking existing customer information and locating matching email addresses. By acquiring email addresses for your existing customers, you are able to expand the conversation you are already having with them through other marketing channels.
When email addresses churn and change, you can regain contact with valuable customers with an email change-of-address campaign. The process is simple, and it improves deliver ability.
Both Email Append and Email Change of Address programs should include a Welcome message to introduce (or re-introduce) subscribers to your email program. In addition to building trust and setting expectations, Welcome messages are a great opportunity to drive incremental revenue with a great offer and call to action to "shop now!".