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When people tell us that email marketing isn’t profitable, we reply, “It certainly can be!” Email marketing isn’t dead. In fact, email is still one of the best marketing channels that a business can use.

Whether or not your business can make the most of it, however, hinges on a number of factors.

Diving Into Growing Your Email List

Grow Email List Consideration 1: Have you taken the time to build your list?

If email isn’t a profitable channel for a specific business, it means that that business hasn’t started building their list yet, or they have started, but the methods they are using aren’t good. Either way, they have a lot of hard work ahead.

Grow Email List Consideration 2: Do you utilize the channel that you own?

When you look at different channels, such as Facebook, Google Ads, Instagram, or your website, all of them have one thing in common. Can you guess what it is?

You don’t own them.

When you use Google Ads, for instance, you’re not in control of their policies and pricing. And you can’t totally control how well your ads perform.

By contrast, when you run an email marketing campaign, you have a direct channel to your audience. You can monitor your opened email rate, reply directly to customers or clients who write to you, and create in-depth emails loaded with content that you know will get seen by a significant portion of your audience.

Managing Your Email List

Grow Email List Consideration 3: Are you managing your email list correctly?

If you’ve built a decent email list, the next step is managing it correctly, which is essential to the long-term success of your email marketing efforts.

The first step to managing your list correctly is figuring out who is on the list, why they are on it, and how important they are to the list.

Let’s say you specialize in LASIK eye surgery. That’s a business model where you’re not going to have very many repeat customers compared to other companies. So, you’re not going to want to send sales emails to the same people too many times.

However, you could benefit by selecting users who are already satisfied customers of yours and emailing them specific referral programs, yearly check-up reminders, discounts, and so on.

Where email marketing starts to break down is when you get what’s called “list fatigue.” This happens when you email the same people over and over again and effectively drive them away.

The Value of Your Emails

Grow Email List Consideration 4: Do your emails provide value to your audience?

Unfortunately, one thing that businesses frequently do is send emails that have no value to their audiences. This is a problem since unhelpful emails are likely to get deleted or cause the people reading them to delete or unsubscribe.

With this mind, before you start crafting an email for your email list, take time to figure out why you are writing it and what specific value you are bringing to your audience.

Grow Email List Consideration 5: Are you sorting your email list into meaningful segments?

Remembering what we’ve said about managing your email list and the value of your emails, you also want to break your email list down into the appropriate segments.

When you start segmenting out your list, depending on the email service provider you use, you can typically do it through an export or through a segmenting tool.

The groups you select might be people who already bought from you, people who signed up for a newsletter on your website, people you’ve met at an offline event, or people who have used specific pages on your website.

Let’s say you’re a general contractor, and you offer plumbing, electrical, and landscaping services. You could segment your audience into the appropriate categories. You wouldn’t want to send a plumbing email to someone who only uses your landscaping services.

You can reference types of services you provide in your emails, but you certainly wouldn’t want to send something to someone out of left field.

Increasing Your Email List Through Pop-up Forms

If you already know how to segment your email list, you might want to know more about building your email list up. What are some actionable easy steps that you can do right out of the gate?

If you have a popup on your website, that’s a great start. Popups are effective since the people seeing them have already made it a point to come to your website. You can incentivize their sign-up with some sort of offer, or you can tell them the types of content that you will be providing.

Let’s say you run a handicraft blog. You can explain to users that you’re going to be sending them tips, tricks, and discounts for X project types.

If someone’s interested, they’ll go out of their way to add their email to your list.

Grow Email List Consideration 6: Do have you effective pop-ups and CTAs on your website?

Somebody who is ready to fill out your business’s pop-up form is somebody you want to get your messaging in front of. There’s a certain level of interest there.

But let’s say your website doesn’t have a pop-up form or any compelling calls to action. If you don’t encourage your audience to sign up, you’re going to miss out on a lot of opportunities.

Email Mindset: Speaking Directly to One Person

Grow Email List Consideration 7: How personal are your emails?

When you send content, think of yourself as speaking directly to one particular person. You don’t want your email to sound generic.

Trust us when we say, generic emails are the fastest way to end up in the junk mailbox, aside from buying emails.

General Email Updates Are Ok If Handled Correctly

We’ve often heard people say, “I don’t know what to write about!”

Believe it or not, there’s nothing wrong with this. If you don’t have a specific message you want to send your audience, you can provide general company updates. Just remember to always provide value.

As long as the information you are providing is relevant and helps your audience keep up with your business, then you should be fine.

Grow Email List Consideration 8: Are you utilizing your email updates to maximum effect?

When sending a general email update, you have a great opportunity to include links to social media or highlight certain posts, reviews, or comments from users that have engaged with your business.

We encourage you to do so, as this will drive your audience to your social media accounts and increase the likelihood that you will get positive reviews.

Trying An Email Referral Program

Grow Email List Consideration 9: Do you have an effective email referral program?

Another thing you can do with email is develop referral programs. You can always throw in a note that says something like, “Refer a friend, get a discount,” or something similar.

Trying An Email Promotion

Grow Email List Consideration 10: Are you motivating your audience with great promotions?

Email promotions are worth incorporating into your email marketing campaign. One thing we’ve seen, especially with eCommerce stores, is that they constantly send out coupons and offers. You should do the same.

But, just a word of caution:

Sending out too many promotions can have a negative impact on your business.

If someone’s expecting discounts every time they receive an email from you, they can get habituated to the perks and then get offended when you don’t provide those perks. Likewise, if you become known for providing lots of discounts, you’re going to get customers who only want to purchase from a business if something’s on sale. In other words, you’re going to get a lot of false signups to your newsletter

You don’t necessarily always want to resort to a discount. Instead, you can rely on things like giveaways, contests, or providing bulk deals.

Emails are about providing value but also staying relevant. When you take a balanced approach, your business will see higher open rates over the long term and a lot less people unsubscribing from you.

Make It Very Easy to Unsubscribe

Grow Email List Consideration 11: How Convenient Is Your Email List?

Speaking of unsubscribers, there’s no benefit to keeping someone on your email list if they don’t want to be there.

If someone asks you to unsubscribe them, or they tried clicking on your unsubscribe link, and it didn’t work, as a responsible business you should make it as easy as possible to let them out of your list. There are laws that require businesses to provide unsubscribe options, but some businesses get around this by making the unsubscribing process unnecessarily hard.

Warning: Never Buy an Email List

Grow Email List Consideration 12: How Genuine Is Your Email List?

To avoid low-quality or downright bad email addresses, don’t buy email lists, as this is a surefire way to end up in a junk folder.

When you send an email, if it isn’t going through, then it’s usually due to one of two reasonsa “hard bounce” or a “soft bounce.” A hard bounce happens when an email address is not valid, and a soft bounce happens when an email inbox is full. Either way, if you’re getting bounces, it’s a problem.

Service providers like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, and AOL want to make sure their users enjoy their email experience. So, they make sure user inboxes don’t get flooded with spam, unwanted advertisements, adult content, etc.

To deter spammers, most service providers use what they call a “honeypot,” which is an email that hasn’t been logged into for four or five years. They’ll say, “Okay, anyone who emails to this defunct email address, we’re going to automatically make sure any other email they send is automatically sent to spam.”

So, if I run a company called Acme Locksmith, and I email a honeypot address at 123@gmail.com, Gmail is going to say, “Anytime Acme Locksmith emails anyone on Gmail, that email will not be delivered to our users.”

This is very bad for your business.

Avoid paid email lists at all costs.

Final Points

Cleaning Up Your Email List

It’s very important to make sure your email list is clean and relevant. Everyone wants to have a big email list, which sounds great.

But at the end of the day, if you’re sending out 10,000 emails and you’re not gaining any business, you’re just paying more money to your email service provider to keep you on a bigger plan.

And this could have negative implications. One big misconception that we’ve seen people have is they’ll think, “Oh, okay, well if Constant Contact doesn’t work out, I’ll go switch to MailChimp. I just want to try paid lists and out-of-the-box thinking and see what happens. I can always try again.”

Unfortunately, if you are engaging in black hat email tactics, you could end up on “the blacklist,” which doesn’t just apply to one email service provider.

The blacklist is similar in some respects to a national registry, and if you get flagged on it because you sent spam, it doesn’t matter where you go, no email service provider will take you off the blacklist…at least not quickly or cheaply.

Setting Up Flows and Campaigns

In email marketing, setting up flows, such as a welcome series, can be very valuable to a business.

If someone signs up to your mailing list, you definitely don’t want to email them 30 days in a row, but you can send them an email that says, “Hey, here’s what to expect from our newsletter.”

Then you can send them an email a couple of days later: “Thanks for signing up. Here’s a little more about the company.” Something simple.

Being Patient

Let’s say you’re a drone manufacturer and someone comes to your website. If you offer them a discount code, maybe that will get them to buy from you versus a competitor. If they make a purchase, you now have their email address.

If they’re looking around at a specific type of drone, and they don’t end up buying anything, but they do sign up for your email list, you can start sending “browse abandonment” emails, which are just follow ups about a specific product. “Cart abandonment” emails can also work.

If someone looks at a product and they don’t buy, it’s no problem. Take the opportunity to provide relevant follow ups with the ones who sign up for your emails.

Following up with eCommerce Purchases

Oftentimes for an eCommerce site, if someone makes a purchase, you can send them a follow-up email that says, “Here’s what to expect now that you’ve purchased from us. Your product is going to take X amount of days to show up. And when it does, here’s how to use it.”

Simple purchase follow ups are a powerful way to keep your buyers engaged and make for a good experience.