In my previous blog post in this series, I wrote about how to build an email list; the post is based on what I learned from an eBook called the Bionic List Building Guide, which was published last summer by Lyris, a provider of integrated online marketing products (email marketing, Web analytics, search marketing, mobile marketing, etc.). I forgot about it for six months and just stumbled upon it recently.
According to Lyris, legally acquiring new email addresses is the first component of building a list. The second component is to provide valuable content to retain and build trust with subscribers, which I will focus on in this blog post. (The third component is allowing each new subscriber to manage their opt-in preferences, which I am not going to cover because it’s standard practice.)
Once you get a new subscriber, you need to cement the relationship, begin building trust right away, and make them as happy as the people in the photo. Here are Lyris’ tips, intermingled with my tips:
Keep your opt-in form short. When people subscribe, ask for minimal information: email address, first name and last name. Company name and industry would be OK, too, but keep in mind that the more information you ask for, the lower your conversion rate will be.
Add trust-building statements to the opt-in page. Explicitly state that you will be providing valuable content on a regular basis. Explain what your emails will contain (industry news, tips and tricks, how-tos, guides, etc.) and how often they will be sent.
Follow up with a thank you page. As soon as someone submits a subscription, a thank-you page should load immediately. Here’s what to include in the message: a thank you for joining the list, of course; confirmation of both the information the subscriber just supplied and any steps needed to complete the subscription, such as replying to a confirmation email; and a reminder of the benefits of subscribing to your list. If you provided an incentive to entice people to subscribe, such as a coupon or eBook, add that it will be arriving via email shortly.
Send a “welcome” email. In your message, provide more details on subscription benefits, link to a “preference page” where subscribers can provide more detailed contact information, and include any special subscriber-only offers, coupons, ebooks, white papers, or special reports. This should go without saying, but be sure to label your email as a welcome message in the subject line.
Make their subscription worthwhile! To retain your subscribers, send them information and promotions they can’t get elsewhere. Your emails should include valuable content that your readers can use, such as industry insights, reports, eBooks, white papers, guides, how-tos, product tips and tricks, etc. You also want them to feel special, so give them access to new products or services before they launch, whether it’s beta-testing, sneak peeks, surveys to gauge interest on possible new features, etc.
Don’t bore them. Keep your emails interesting by adding graphics, images, screen shots, video, and audio. Humanize your company with photos of staff, events, and parties; employee profiles; short articles written by key employees; and success stories that customers either wrote or relayed to an employee.
Image by Flickr user Douglas Duffield (Creative Commons)