If you're looking to up your marketing game without breaking the bank, email marketing should be one of the first places you focus your energy on.
Truth be told, approximately 22% of your email list is wiped out every year - that's a LOT of customers.
The question becomes, what is your strategy to replace that 22%?
In this guide, we'll share different ways (and several examples) of how to grow your email list and how to be as efficient as possible with your time.
How to Boost Your Email Opt-In Rate
We all understand the importance of growing your email list.
It's quite simple - the more engaged list, the more engaged customers, which ultimately leads to more sales.
The question is how can you boost your opt-in rate and effectively grow your list.
Here are a few proven strategies:
Offer Something in Exchange for Their Email
A great place to start is by collecting new email addresses, and a great place to do this would be on your landing page.
Think of yourself as the consumer in this situation - are you going to jump to give away your email address to yet another business, flooding
Probably not... but, if there's something valuable in it for you right away, you may consider it.
Examples of FREE and VALUABLE incentives could be things like:
- Fascinating Case Study
- Video Series
- Sample proposals
One great example of this is when Isaiah Grant, founder of Dream Fitness Client Academy offered a free PDF guide to grow his email list:
Here’s how our sales funnel is structured:
1. Landing Page: First page of the funnel where visitors can opt-in to download our lead magnet (a free PDF guide). Some prospects won't be ready to purchase our services when they initially opt-in, however since we've captured their email, we can reach them with further communication/promotion of our services via an automated email marketing campaign (we use Kartra). This will turn a portion of our landing page leads to future appointments/paying clients.
2. Application Page: After a visitor opts-in and gives us their email address, they are brought to this page. On this page, we’ve placed a form for the visitor to fill out so they can reserve a free strategy session with us. We also include social proof/client testimonials on this page. Once they fill the form out and submit it, they'll be brought to the scheduling page.
3. Scheduling Page: The visitor will then be taken to our booking page. We’ve embedded our Calendly calendar into the page so prospects can choose a time/date to speak with us. Once they complete the booking, we automatically receive an email notification and the session is added to my calendar.
Here's another great example from OneSeo of the free PDF guide download and the email users receive after they subscribe.
Our main Facebook Ad + Landing Page
Here is the first email users receive once they opt-in to receive the PDF guide.
Here is an email that created a lot of engagement/replies:
I think this is the best way to approach any services offered online, but especially in our industry. Our main obstacle was figuring out a way to build trust with our leads and this approach helped us a lot.
Promote Discounts in Exchange for Email Addresses
Let's be real - people love getting a discount or the feeling of getting a deal.
One effective tactic for collecting more email addresses is by offering a discount on your product.
The great thing about this is that not only are you growing your email list, but you're also incentivizing your customers to buy their first product. It's a win-win.
Rather than doing the normal "get 20% off" your next purchase, make it fun and exciting for your customers, like they're actually winning something.
A great example of this is implementing a "spin wheel" for a discount code:
Once we drive customers to our site, we focus on the following:
1. Securing their email.
We use Spin-a-Sale for this (you spin a wheel for a discount code in exchange for subscribing to our email list). This has been the best email-collecting tool we have found because the customer truly feels like they won a prize rather than just a coupon code.
Even if a customer doesn’t convert right away, if we have their email we have a 19% chance of converting them into a future customer whether that is through future promotions, new releases, or simply just sending an email at the right time for a purchase to finally make sense for them. We also have a return customer rate of over 14%, so one out of every 6 people we convert will end up buying from us again with an average order value of over $60.00.
2. Signing them up as an ambassador.
Our ambassador program just launched around 5 weeks ago but has over 2,000 members as part of the private group and has been huge for us. They answer questions on our ads, provide social proof on our ads, give product feedback and in exchange for every referral they drive we give them $20. Our AOV is over $70 so we still make money on the referral, and 1 out of every 6 buyers will order again without any prompting which boosts our numbers even more.
Add a Subscribe Page to your Facebook
Having a CTA on your Facebook page is a great (and free) way to grow your email list.
This is a great way to convert social media followers into customers
Here are the steps to adding a CTA:
- Go to your FB page
- Click "+ add a button" below your page's cover photo
- Select a button from the menu that appears (ie. sign up button) and follow instructions.
- Click finish!
Update your Email Signature
Hyperlinking your email signature is a great way to grow your email list.
Odds are that you've already communicated with this customer via email a few times, which will make them much more likely to take the next step and subscribe to more emails.
The link could lead customers to your landing page where they can subscribe to your list or to your blog where they can check it out and subscribe there.
Here's a great example of a simple email signature that includes a CTA:
Design Engaging Emails
The design of your emails is a very critical piece in maintaining and growing your email list.
Great design will not only entice your customer to keep reading but can also lead to increased conversion and sales.
Below, we'll cover the main elements of how to design an engaging email:
Different Types of Emails
We want to start by discussing a few of the most common types of email campaigns you can send to your customers and what their benefit is:
- Welcome emails - the perfect way to provide information from the start with a clear CTA. Make sure to tell your customer everything they need to know about your product or service.
- Newsletters - a great way to give customers updates or send out your latest content
- Product launch emails - the quickest (and easiest) way to increase sales is by selling to current customers. Make sure they're the first on the list to know about your new product
- Promotional emails - promote discounts, deals coupons etc. Try and make this feel exclusive and for a limited time only
- Abandoned cart emails - give your customers a reason to complete their purchase!
Here's a great resource for finding curated email designs, for all types of email campaigns!
Tips on What to Include
The final design of your emails depends entirely on your business and branding, however, we've outlined a few quick tips that can be applied to any brand:
- Try to always include your logo
- Add high-quality images (captivating hero images = more engaging)
- Colors that stick with your branding or the type of message you are sending
- Lead with the most important information, and make sure this messaging stands out
- Clear and simple CTA's
- Include Animations
Here's a great example of a weekly newsletter created by Ollie Aplin, co-founder of MindJournal. Notice how simple and effective the messaging is:
Our weekly newsletter ‘Run Your Own Race’ is sent every Monday, at exactly the same time. This helps build a habit for our readers, they know when and what they’re going to get. And the focus on the email is not about selling but helping them in everyday life. We provide links to the best 6 stories we feel will positively impact their week, along with a quote we’ve found inspiring and a task to complete in their Journal.
Our weekly newsletter is essentially a sub-brand of MindJournal and is a free product that we offer, essentially. That’s how we see it anyway. And that’s how others should too.
It takes a week of collecting content, hours of curating and time to build each newsletter but it’s worth it. We have open and click rates that are well above the average and an incredibly low unsubscribe rate.
You can see an example of one of our episodes here.
Identify the Right Cadence
Identifying the right cadence for your email campaigns is imperative for overall engagement from your subscribers.
Email cadence refers to the order, timing, and frequency that you send emails to customers.
The right cadence will not only reduce unsubscribe rates but also increase your open rates, potentially converting leads into buyers.
Here, we break down the fundamentals of structuring an email cadence:
Try and put yourself in your customer's shoes for a quick moment.
Email 1: An email comes through that says, "Dear Valued Customer"
Email 2: An email comes through that says, "Hey Steve!"
...assuming you're more likely to open the second email. And don't worry, there are tons of different email platforms out there that do this for you with one click.
Shane White, founder of the Match Artist recommends using Drip:
Drip is our email marketing provider. We chose Drip over Mailchimp because it really allows us to deeply personalize all of our emails. I believe that our customers should never have to give us the same information twice.
Using Drip, I can auto-populate all email links to have custom URL parameters so the tools don’t need to ask for their name or email again.drip
Identify Frequency of Your Emails
Email frequency is a very important aspect of your cadence strategy.
This isn't an exact science, and frequency depends on the industry you're in and the type of business you have.
This may take a little bit of trial and error to nail down your exact strategy, but with time and proper analytics, you'll determine what best for your customers.
Here are two main things to consider that can be applied to any industry:
- Quality of content should always be a factor
- Once you have a strategy, stay consistent with the days/times you post certain email campaigns - this sets expectations with your readers.
Try not to Oversell
Identifying when to sell vs when not to sell can be a challenging thing to nail down, and like anything, it's all about balance.
There is a balance between sending valuable, engaging content meant to support your customer, and sending content that's intended to promote and sell your product.
When customers are oversold via email, they begin to tune out your promotions and eventually unsubscribe entirely.
Here are some ways to identify if you're selling too much (for new customers and existing ones):
- Unsubscribe rates are continuing to increase
- Customers call you out (this is an obvious one)!
- Trouble retaining customers
Segment your Emails
All customers are different, so it's important to send targeted content that will appeal to all of your audience.
One of the most common and effective ways of sending targeted content is by segmenting your lists.
Below, we outline different tactics to segmenting your lists, and how this can lead to bigger success rates:
When growing your email list, it's important to understand your customer and their overall preferences. The more information you're able to gather about an individual, the more opportunities you will have to effectively reach them and lead them to buy.
One of the best ways to gather information is by asking their preferences when they're subscribing. We've broken down a few segmentation ideas to get you started:
- Location - this allows you to send targeted content regarding deals/promotions in your customer's area.
- Industry - this is a powerful piece of information and can help you understand where your customer's interests lie.
- Age/Gender/Persona - this can help you adjust your messaging to resonate with your customers in different ways.
Understand Your Customer (once they've subscribed):
Now that you have collected information from your customers, it's time to analyze their overall behavior.
One great way to do this is by diving into your email marketing analytics. You may want to look into things like:
- What type of content is my customer most interested in?
- What are they clicking on or spending the most time reading?
- How frequently are they buying? What does their purchase cycle look like?
- What type of products makes them tick?
All of these behaviors can then help you segment customers into different lists so you can reach different audiences and make your customers feel like you truly know them.
Imagine that you have a segmented list of customers in a "closed lost" category and these customers have not purchased your products in over 6 months. This could be the perfect opportunity to send a targeted email to this list with exclusive promotions and a thoughtful note saying that you miss them. It's as easy as that.
Teddy Giard, founder of Kanga ($100K/month) discusses how segmentation has been their biggest growth strategy:
Biggest growth strategy is to SEGMENT! Gather information about your target audiences and break down your social networks to target specific focus groups.
This will increase engagement on all of your platforms and increase the likelihood of somebody making a purchase/repeat purchase.
Segmented marketing has allowed us the ability to take an extremely small advertising budget (<$500/day) and generate an over 4/1 ROI.
The way in which we segment is through social media, Google, and email with each platform being used to push customers through the buyer's journey. In our case, we use social for prospecting and retargeting, through utilizing facebook custom audiences we’re able to target specific types of people, and custom tailor our content/messaging from here.
We then use AdWords to capture as much traffic from search as possible, through company-specific search ads. once a user is on our site our main priority is getting them to sign up for our email list, which consists of different workflows to lead subscribers down a custom-tailored path based on their engagement with the emails.
Email outreach is also vital. Not only can people hear your companies voice but it is so easy to segment using email.
Ultimately we use all of these platforms because we want people to engage with our brand and hear our mission of “Bringing Fun and Convenience to Beverage Cooling Solutions” We’re big believers in branding as a whole… Although it is hard to justify specific brands value directly from paid marketing, the repetition is proven to increase its overall value.
We are in the process of making our way into Amazon… I wish I could provide more graphs and information but we haven’t been operating long enough to truly have accurate examples.
Automating is a great way to grow and manage your email list while saving you a ton of time.
Automated email workflows can save you a ton of time and automatically engage different contacts in your database - all you have to do is set up the foundation and then sit back while technology does all of the work.
According to Invesp, marketing automation drives up to 14.5% increase in sales productivity
You can set up a number of different workflows that will trigger a specific task. It's important to understand the power of a workflow and the different flows you can experiment with.
Below, we'll outline a few of the most effective workflows that you can implement today
Topic workflows are a relatively simple workflow to implement and an extremely powerful one!
When an individual fills out their preferences and subscribes to your email list, the system can automatically place them in their specific list and trigger a "welcome email" right away.
Additionally, when an individual downloads a content offer (ie. free ebook, pdf, etc), you can set a specific sequence of emails to be triggered, such as specific blog posts or tips on content that's in the e-book.
This is just one very simple way you can initiate workflows in your email marketing strategy.
Abandoned Cart Workflow
The abandoned cart workflow is one of the most effective strategies for turning your lead into a customer, and a powerful tool to have if you're an e-commerce business.
Think about all the times that you went on a shopping frenzy only to add items to your cart and then either forget or realize nows not the right time to pull the trigger.
Then, minutes later you receive an email saying "Hurry up! Your cart is waiting - and we want to provide you with 20% off your order."
Maybe that's the special touch (and discount) you needed to pull that trigger.
Implementing this workflow can automatically trigger this for your business every time a customer abandons their cart.
For example, Mehdi Kajbaf, founder of Matboard & More stated that the abandoned cart process increased transactions by 240%:
One last point of focus was e-mail marketing. This was mostly over the past couple of months but we’ve put work into our abandoned cart chain as well as providing more impactful emails.
Over the past couple of months revenue from e-mails has increased by 80% and transactions have increased by 240%. This is mainly from a more effective abandoned cart process which was suggested to me by WaveBreak. We included an FAQ in some more reviews in our abandoned cart process essentially answering the most common objections people had to order which was mostly around our shipping policy.
Happiness is a requirement for success, not a result. You’ve gotta love the process and believe in it otherwise you’ll get nowhere.
Engaged Customer Workflow
It's important to focus on the people that are engaging most with you. These individuals are likely to buy from you AND share your brand with others.
You can easily create this list by using trigger criteria such as a number of times they visit your website, buyer frequency, form submissions, time spent reading/clicking on emails etc.
This list should be one that continues to grow based on the criteria you set in the workflow.
... and the list goes on. There are so many different workflows you can implement depending on exactly what you're trying to accomplish.
Make sure to get the fundamentals in place first like:
- Laying out the vision and types of criteria that will benefit your business and email marketing goals
- Creating the actual emails that will be triggered
- Finding an automation system that is best for you (we will cover this later in this guide).
Get your Customers Hyped
There are several different methods of getting your customers excited about your product, and oftentimes, your messaging and approach can make or break it.
Below, we've outlined a few different methods of getting hype through email marketing, and examples of successful tactics to positioning these emails:
Send a Killer Promotion
It's obvious that promotions often lead to sales - but in order to really maximize and leverage your sales, it's important to come up with a killer offer and be assertive with your promotion.
It may sound counterintuitive, but blasting your entire list the day of your promotion may not be the most effective way of generating sales.
There's a process to everything - and you may want to consider building your promotion up days before announcing it.
Some great ways to do this are by sending a "teaser email" followed by a sequence of different reminder emails leading up to the big day.
Dylan Kelley, founder of Wavebreak walks us through a step by step guide to the "Big Wave" email strategy that generated over $400k in email revenue for a client in just one week
Create hype before you launch your sale by sending a teaser email.
Send it a few days before your sale goes live.
To make things easy for you, I turned this article into step-by-step Black Friday email marketing checklist.
- Warm up your email list by adding value, addressing objections, and sending thoughtfully.
- Come up with a killer offer.
- Be assertive with your email promotion and don't be afraid of sending daily (or more).
Launch a Giveaway
The truth is that people love free stuff and love a competition. Giveaways and contests are a great way to create awareness for your brand, grow your email list, and eventually convert leads into customers.
If your goal is to gather email addresses, make sure the entry criteria is to "enter your email." You can do this by leading customers to your landing page where they can then enter their email to be in the giveaway.
One of the most important aspects of promoting a successful giveaway is having an amazing prize. The better the prize, the more engagement you'll get.
This doesn't necessarily mean choosing an iPad or an expensive/trendy watch, but instead a prize that is actually relevant to your brand/target audience.
One great example is when TJ Mapes, founder of RIPT apparel launched a successful giveaway and tells us all about his strategy:
Our most recent successful giveaway was when we gave away a PS4 + the new Spiderman game. I hosted the giveaway on our site and then let our audience know about it via email/social channels.
Entrants earned different amounts of entries for entering in different ways (tongue twister!), for instance; enter via email, get 10 entries. Follow us on Facebook, get 5 entries. Subscribe on Messenger and get 25 entries.
I also built out a drip sequence in Klaviyo that contained four emails to encourage entrants to take more action, like referring friends and liking us on social.
Email #1: Thanks for entering!
Email #2: Explained how to earn bonus entries:
Email #3: About us
Email #4: Coupon for entering
This last email in the sequence just thanked them again for entering and also included a coupon to a specific (related) collection of designs with an expiration date on it to incentivize purchases.
(this screenshot is actually a flow from when we gave away an xbox, but you get the idea - huge open and click rates 💯💯💯)
PS4 Giveaway Results:
We ran it for 2 weeks and recorded results in a meticulous spreadsheet to analyze the data. Here are some of the highlights:
- Giveaway page pageviews - 67,355
- Total entrants - 26,137
- Conversion rate - 38.80%
- Total entrants in Klaviyo (not suppressed) - 24,515
- New emails acquired - 16,363
- Emails we already had - 7,521
- % of new emails - 66.75%
- Cost of item - $350
- Instagram visits - 10,618
- Instagram followers gained - 3,496 ( total followers lifted by 6.9% )
- Twitter followers gained - 4,194
Best Tools to Use
Now that we've discussed some of the different strategies to grow your email list, it's important that we discuss the various different platforms you can use to accomplish your goals.
We've outlined a few of the most popular email marketing tools below and explain their benefits and pricing structures:
Powerful segmentation, no spreadsheets required
Klaviyo makes it super simple to pull in data from your ecommerce platform, point-of-sale software, and other marketing tools. So the only limit to how you segment your audience is your own imagination. Say goodbye to spreadsheets, and say hello to highly relevant, personalized marketing made easy.
Email autoresponders, pre-built & ready to go
Automated triggered email flows for welcome series, abandoned shopping carts and order follow ups are built directly into Klaviyo. All you need to do is activate them, sit back, and watch sales climb.
Report on sales, not just clicks
We know you’re not in business (just) to drive opens and clicks. Don’t worry, we got you. Unlike other platforms, Klaviyo’s reporting is based on actual transactions – so you can immediately see how much money you made and what your marketing ROI is.
- Up to 250 contacts: Free!
- Up to 1,000 subscribers: $30 per month
- Up to 2,500 subscribers: $60 per month
- Up to 5,000 subscribers: $100 per month
- Up to 10,000 subscribers: $150 per month
- Up to 20,000 subscribers: $375 per month
MailChimp is the gigantic elephant-in-the-room leader in the email space.
They are a great tool if you are just getting started with email marketing as they have a pretty generous freemium plan.
MailChimp has a couple really good things going for them:
- Very good reporting for a free tool
- One of the best drag and drop editors - makes it very easy to send newsletter.
MailChimp falls short in its pricing model because your costs will skyrocket as your list grows, and the automation features are limited.
This tool is best for: small businesses or just getting started.
The free plan, up to 2000 subscribers - what you get
- Send up to 12,000 emails per month
- Up to 2,000 subscribers
- Email support included for 30 days
"Essentials" plan Plans start at $10 per month
- Up to 5,000 subscribers $50 per month
- Up to 10,000 subscribers $75 per month
- Up to 25,000 subscribers $150 per month
Standard plan Plans start at $15 per month
- Up to 5,000 subscribers $75 per month
- Up to 10,000 subscribers $99 per month
- Up to 20,000 subscribers $189 per month
A marketing platform best for e-commerce brands.
The advantages of using Drip are in its list growth and lead magnet features, where you can place popups on your site that convert really well.
- 1,000 contacts $49/month
- 5,000 contacts $122/month
- 10,000+ contacts $184/month
Privy is a platform that helps you grow your email list through popups you can put on your site.
You can manage all of these popups and offers from their platform through a simple piece of code you insert in your site.
Their pricing is by monthly page views:
- 2,500 pageviews - Free
- 50,000 pageviews - $140/month
- 100,000 pageviews - $250/month
- 1M pageviews - $500/month
These are all examples of things you can implement today to grow your email list and stay as efficient as possible.
We hope this guide gave you a few ideas to experiment with. Join our community to learn more tips and tricks from successful founders!