In the digital age, email remains a powerful tool for businesses to communicate with their audience and drive engagement. Building an email list is a crucial step in leveraging this tool, enabling your business to reach its target audience directly, foster strong customer relationships, and boost overall marketing effectiveness.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll show you how to build an email list, discuss the pros and cons of an email list, explore various methods to grow your email list, and delve into the potential of email distribution list services.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear roadmap for building an effective email list for your business. Let’s dive in!
What is an email list?
An email list, at its core, is a powerful marketing tool. It consists of a curated collection of email addresses that a business amasses over time from visitors to its website, typically those who express a vested interest in the products or services offered.
By voluntarily providing their email addresses, these individuals show they are open to further engagement and potentially more willing to convert into customers. These email lists are not simply static databases but dynamic channels of direct communication with your audience.
They provide opportunities for personalized marketing, allowing businesses to send tailored promotions, newsletters, and updates, keeping subscribers informed and engaged.
The potential reach of email is enormous, evidenced by its extensive global usage. According to a report by Statista, as of 2023, over 4.3 billion people worldwide use email. This figure is expected to ascend to approximately 4.5 billion by 2025. These staggering numbers underscore the tremendous opportunity for businesses to tap into a vast and ever-growing pool of potential customers simply by building an effective email list.
It’s essential to recognize that building an email list is not just about amassing a large number of email addresses. It’s about establishing a network of interested and engaged individuals who have willingly given you permission to enter their inboxes. They’ve expressed a desire to hear from you and learn more about your business.
So, building an email list is not just a crucial marketing strategy but also a cornerstone of customer engagement and retention, reinforcing the vital role it plays in the overall success of your business.
How Can a Mailing List Support Your Business?
Building an effective email list can do more than just connect your business with potential and existing customers; it can serve as a vital instrument in enhancing your overall business performance.
Let’s delve deeper into understanding the unique advantages of a well-curated mailing list for your business.
Direct Communication with Potential and Existing Customers: One of the most prominent benefits of having an email list is communicating directly with your audience. Unlike social media platforms, where algorithms dictate the reach of your posts, emails land directly in your audience’s inbox. This eliminates middlemen and ensures your messages are delivered right to the doorstep of your prospects and customers.
Highly Personalized Marketing Campaigns: A business email list empowers you to create hyper-personalized campaigns. You can segment your list based on demographics, purchasing behavior, or engagement levels and then tailor your content to meet the unique needs of each segment. This level of personalization can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your campaigns, leading to increased conversions.
Low-cost, High-ROI Marketing Strategy: Email marketing is incredibly cost-effective compared to traditional marketing methods. There are no printing costs, no postage fees, and no advertising charges. Yet, it yields impressive returns. According to Campaign Monitor, for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $44. This high ROI makes it an indispensable strategy for businesses, especially small ones with limited marketing budgets.
Facilitates Customer Retention and Loyalty: Your email list can be a valuable tool for nurturing customer relationships. Regular and meaningful communication helps keep your brand top of mind, fosters trust, and builds customer loyalty. You can use your email list to increase customer retention by providing exclusive discounts, offering valuable content, and asking for feedback.
Builds Brand Awareness and Increases Online Visibility: Every email you send exposes recipients to your brand, reinforcing your identity, values, and offerings. This constant exposure helps build brand awareness and trust. It can make your subscribers more likely to turn to your business when they need your products or services. Moreover, by encouraging subscribers to share your content on social media, you can significantly increase your online visibility and reach an even larger audience.
In essence, a robust mailing list is not just a strategy for your business but a multidimensional asset that can support your business in myriad ways, driving growth and success.
Pros and Cons of a Mailing List
Direct reach to your target audience
Risk of emails landing in spam
Cost-effective marketing strategy
High traffic might incur increased costs
Fosters strong customer relationships
Inconsistency might lead to unsubscribes
Potential to create a launch team
Reach Your Target Audience Easily: Building an email list lets you send promotions, updates, newsletters, and more directly to interested customers. This increases the likelihood of conversion and boosts customer engagement.
Easy Marketing Strategy: The ease of creating and sending emails, as compared to traditional marketing techniques, makes it a straightforward and cost-effective marketing tool.
A Good Way to Communicate with Your Subscribers: Regular email communication enables you to foster a close relationship with your subscribers, encouraging brand loyalty.
Create a Launch Team: A mailing list allows you to create a launch team – customers who get early access to your new products and promote them on social media platforms.
Your Emails Might End Up in Spam Inboxes: If your emails are flagged as spam, your messages won’t reach your subscribers.
High Costs: As your mailing list grows, you may need to upgrade to a more expensive email list service provider plan to manage high traffic.
Inconsistency in Emailing: Sending too many or too few emails can lead to subscriber attrition. Thus, it’s crucial to maintain a balanced emailing schedule.
How to Easily Create a Mailing List for Your Business?
Building an email list for your business is a necessity in today’s digitally-driven business landscape. The process can be surprisingly simple and can be accomplished through the following steps:
1. Add an Opt-in Pop-up Form on Your Website:
An opt-in form is your first point of contact with potential subscribers. These forms can take several shapes, but a pop-up form that appears while a visitor is browsing your website is often the most effective. It’s crucial to make this form appealing and easy to fill out.
Use captivating images, enticing headlines, and a simple form that requires minimal information (typically just a name and email address). The goal here is to catch the visitor’s interest and make the subscription process as seamless as possible.
2. Have a Strong Call to Action (CTA):
A compelling CTA can significantly increase your email sign-ups. It should clearly communicate what the potential subscriber stands to gain by joining your email list. For example, a CTA such as "Sign up for exclusive discounts and insider news!" highlights the benefits and makes the offer more appealing.
Always remember your CTA should motivate the visitor to act immediately.
3. Utilize Social Media Platforms:
With billions of active users, social media platforms offer an untapped pool of potential subscribers for your email list. You can include a sign-up button on your social media profiles or run dedicated campaigns to encourage followers to subscribe to your mailing list.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram even allow you to run lead-generation ads specifically designed to collect email addresses.
4. Create Landing Pages:
Landing pages are dedicated pages on your website that provide detailed information about a specific product, service, or offer. They’re designed to guide visitors towards a single action - in this case, subscribing to your email list.
You can rapidly increase your email subscriptions by addressing your visitors’ pain points and offering a solution (access to quality content, exclusive offers, etc.) in exchange for their email.
5. Incentivize Sign-ups:
Everyone loves a freebie! Offering an incentive to new subscribers can significantly boost sign-ups for your business email list. This could be anything from an exclusive discount, a free e-book, a webinar, or a cheat sheet.
The key is to ensure that what you’re offering provides real value to your audience and is relevant to your brand and offerings.
By following these steps, you can quickly and effectively build an email list for your business, providing a solid foundation for your email marketing efforts.
Build your email list with Simplelists
Email lists are invaluable assets for businesses of all sizes. Building an email list allows you to directly reach your audience, foster strong relationships, promote new products, and more. Despite some challenges, like potential high costs and the risk of spam, the benefits of creating an email list far outweigh the cons.
If you haven’t started building an email list for your business yet, now is the time to start. Try Simplelists for free today, and let us help you start building your business email list today. Your business will thank you!
When you’re crafting an email for your audience, you’ll probably spend a lot of time coming up with a compelling subject line to try and improve the open rate and avoid triggering spam filters.
You might also spend hours making sure that the content of your email is relevant to the target audience, contains appropriate imagery, and has a clear call to action.
But how much time do you spend reviewing your email footer?
The answer for many organizations is ‘not much time at all’.
Email footer design is often overlooked during the email development process, but it shouldn’t be. Email footers can be just as important as other areas of your email, and failing to include certain information in your footer can mean you don’t comply with legislation.
In this article, we’re going to look at why email footers are so important, the content you should include in your email footer, and share some best practice tips for email footer design to help you get more out of your emails.
Why is email footer design an essential part of an email?
An email footer is an essential part of your email as it provides information to ensure your organization complies with legal requirements, enhances the memorability of your email, and encourages your recipients to engage with you further.
There’s an interesting concept called the ‘serial position effect’ which suggests that people typically have a better memory of the things they see first and last, with content in the middle being less memorable.
With the footer of your email being the last thing your audience sees before they close your message, it’s important that it leaves them with a positive lasting impression of your organization and encourages them to explore your brand further through the use of a clear call to action or signposts to further content.
Your email footer is also where you should include certain information that is required by law.
In the UK, the Companies Act 2006 made it necessary for the email footer of any limited company or partnership to include:
Company registration number and country of registration
The details of your registered office address
In the US, the CAN-SPAM legislation also requires that an email footer includes reference to a physical address where people can reach you.
Legislation across the US and Europe also requires you to make it easy for your recipients to unsubscribe from your emails. So having a clear and simple unsubscribe link in your email footer is also essential.
Be mindful that legal requirements vary from country to country, so it’s important to seek the right legal advice based on the location of your business and your audience.
What should an email footer include?
Your organization is unique, and your email footer is going to reflect that.
There are certain things that you need to include in your footer to be compliant with legislation.
But outside of this, the things you choose to include in your email footer design depend on your objectives and the impression you want to leave on your audience.
Your email footer can help reinforce your brand identity to your email subscribers. So it’s often recommended to include your logo, brand fonts, and brand color scheme in your email footer design. This helps your recipients to recognize your brand and make the connection between your website and other marketing materials.
Social media links
Many email footer designs include links to an organization’s social media profiles. This can be a great way to direct your email subscribers to your other online channels, so you can build stronger relationships and promote your products or services across multiple platforms.
Links to relevant resources
You might also consider including links to relevant blog posts, white papers, or case studies in your email footer if your objective is to establish expertise and authority with your recipients.
If you want your email to be more conversion-focused, you might consider a clear call-to-action in your email footer design that encourages your audience to take a specific action such as signing up for an event, booking a consultation, or making a purchase. If you’re linking through to your website from your CTA, make sure your landing page is well-optimized.
Testimonials or reviews
If you want to build trust and credibility with your audience, another thing you might include in your email footer is a recent testimonial or review. This can help provide social proof to your audience, and demonstrate the real-world benefit of your organization, service, or product.
Awards or accreditations
Including the logos of any awards or accreditations your organization has won can also be a good way to establish trust and credibility with your audience.
Important news or upcoming releases
Another thing you might consider including in your email footer is the headline of some recent news about your organization, that links through to the full article. Alternatively, you might include a teaser for upcoming products or services to raise awareness amongst your subscribers.
A link to your referral program
If you have a referral program for your business, your email footer template can also be a good place to remind your subscribers of the benefits of referring their colleagues, friends, and family.
A link to your email preference center
The key to successful email marketing is relevancy. An email preference center allows your subscribers to tell you the type of email content they are interested in, and their preferred frequency for receiving emails. If you have an email preference center, including a link to it in your email footer is another good idea.
Branding is important in your email footer design
You have a lot of options for what you might choose to include in your email footer template.
But it’s important to remember that less is often more.
Try to keep your email footer clean, clear and concise, and resist the temptation to include too much information. Decide on what is the most important information for your organization to communicate, and focus on delivering that in the most effective way possible.
Many organizations choose to include their logo in their email footer template. This can help create a visual connection between the email and your brand and can increase brand recognition and recall.
It’s also important to make sure your email footer design aligns with the branding and color scheme of your website and other marketing materials. This can help reinforce your branding and helps create a cohesive experience for users across all your different marketing channels.
Reminder - don’t forget the legal requirements!
It’s easy to get caught up with creative ideas for what you might include in your email footer design, and how it can help you build a stronger connection with your audience.
But don’t forget about the important legal information that needs to be in there.
Failing to include the relevant information in your email footer can result in your organization being issued a fine of up to £1000.
As a quick recap, the information that any limited company or limited liability partnership needs to include in their email footer includes:
Company registration number and country of registration
The details of your registered office address
You also need to include a clear unsubscribe button that allows your recipients to easily opt-out of receiving further emails from you.
Other legal information you might want to include in your email footer is a link to your terms and conditions. This can be useful for outlining the terms of service for your products or services.
How to create an email footer
Your email footer design is a really important part of your marketing emails.
It’s important that you design and build your footer in a way that looks professional, is visually engaging for your audience, and delivers maximum impact.
If you have access to an in-house designer or have freelance design support, they will be able to help you communicate the messages you want to convey in a visually appealing way.
If it’s something you feel like you want to tackle yourself, there are a number of pre-existing email footer templates on affordable design solutions like Canva.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for your email footer design, the following articles have some good examples:
Remember, for email footer best practice it’s important to keep it simple and easy to read. Try to avoid cluttering your email footer with too much information, and stick to a clean and simple design that is consistent with your branding.
Once you have your footer designed, you’ll need someone to create it as part of your HTML email template.
The person who usually produces your emails should be able to translate your design into a working email footer that is ready to be included as part of your next email campaign.
Make sure your email footer delivers a strong ending to your email
If you’ve followed this article to the end, you’ll understand why your email footer is an important part of your email marketing strategy that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Having an effective email footer design can help you comply with legal requirements, leave a lasting impression on your audience, and encourage them to engage with your brand further.
Ready to put these tips into practice? Sign up for a one-month free trial of Simplelists.
At Simplelists, we make email marketing easy and have full support for HTML emails. Register for our free trial, and see how simple it can be to reach your audience with emails that include your brand-new email footer.
In the digital communication landscape, email is one of the most traditional channels.
Nonetheless, in recent years, an increasing number of people have questioned whether email is still so necessary – or could be potentially replaced with less time-consuming marketing tactics.
Indeed, several new forms of communication have emerged over the years, mostly in the social media landscape, where the automation tools appear to be more user-friendly and simple-to-use than designing a lead generation and email marketing strategy from scratch.
Despite this, email marketing continues to grow in popularity and is a sure bet for ROI success.
Consider this: for every dollar spent on email marketing, you can expect an average ROI of $40 (source: Omnisend)!
However, approaching an email marketing campaign – particularly a group email one – without relying on a powerful mailing list tool can force you to deal with security, GDPR, and management issues that can seriously undermine your efforts and results.
This is why today we’ll look at:
What email marketing really entails in today’s business landscape;
The key advantages of an effective email marketing strategy – such as the possibility to segment your target audience and personalize your message;
How a user-friendly and powerful email marketing tool, such as Simplelists, can make the difference.
Let’s investigate further!
What is email marketing?
Email marketing, in a nutshell, is a digital marketing strategy that entails sending emails to a specific group of people to promote a newsletter, event, offer, product, or service.
Consider that by 2025, the number of email users worldwide is expected to reach 4.6 billion (source: Statista) – accounting for more than half of the world population, – with over 375 billion emails expected to be sent and received each day.
That’s why, to make the most of it, businesses typically create a list of email addresses collected via ad hoc lead generation forms, in order to:
Efficiently track and analyze their efforts, including using the right automation tools;
Better understand their target audience;
Focus on consent, segmentation, and personalization, abandoning the outdated outbound approach.
So, let’s quickly compare a few different channels:
Social Media Marketing: Social media allows businesses to interact and build relationships with their potential customers, but the competition is fierce. Their ROI varies depending on the platforms’ algorithm, but it is typically $2.80.
Search Engine Optimization: With a ROI of $22.24, SEO is an essential tool for any business, because ranking higher on search engines means being more easily found by the potential customers.
Pay-per-click Advertising: PPC ads have an average ROI of about $17 and they help businesses leverage their search engine visibility. However, this is not a one-to-one channel, but rather an advertising tactic. Indeed, 64% of people believe that basic ads are frequently intrusive and annoying (Source: Optinmonster).
Email Marketing: With a stunning ROI of $40, email offers a better conversion rate than any social media channel, as well as a higher degree of personalization and audience segmentation. In the long run, in fact, an email strategy helps building a community of loyal customers and is the most profitable and cost-effective direct marketing channel for moving customers through the purchasing cycle.
As you can see, email is still the most effective digital marketing channel, and a combination of SEO, social, PPC, and email marketing can really help you easily build the most powerful digital marketing strategy – where email can enhance all the other channels, allowing you to retain and communicate with your customers individually.
Let’s take a closer look at the key email marketing benefits!
4 Major Email Marketing Benefits
Have you ever felt frustrated and overwhelmed while attempting to segment your target audience and personalize their message?
A non-personalized approach – whether through ads, messages, or posts – can have a negative impact on your marketing strategy and result in:
Lower engagement and conversion rates, as you won’t be able to address your potential leads’ specific needs, making it difficult to pique their interest and convert them into customers.
Higher costs, because a one-size-fits-all approach would necessitate more resources to reach a broader audience;
Inefficient customer loyalty, as personalization and segmentation are the foundations for building a relationship with customers.
So, why can a proper email marketing strategy – with the help of an efficient email marketing software – help you avoid such risks?
The answer is simple: The key is personalization, which is at the heart of mail marketing.
People, in fact, appreciate it when brands add personal touches to their messages – and email marketing, by definition, allows you to segment your target audience into specific lists that are based on different demographic or psychographic criteria, as well as easily get direct feedback.
A personalized email strategy, in fact, can drive more conversions than any other digital channel – with 66% of online consumers making a purchase as a result of an email marketing message (source: Monetate) – and it is much more efficient if it’s based on a well segmented opted-in list.
You might think it’s easier said than done at this point...
Please, hold on! If you want to segment and personalize your email lists based on various criteria, you should use an efficient email marketing platform.
We at Simplelists understand exactly how such a tool can make a difference for businesses of all sizes. That’s why our group email software includes features dedicated to email customization and segmentation, ranging from multiple lists management to styling.
As above-mentioned, email marketing clearly has enormous potential for enhancing sales and driving lead generation.
Indeed, if you rely solely on social media or search ads to increase sales, you should be aware that while these channels can help you attract new visitors – and reach a larger number of people at once, – they cannot always help you retain customers or nurture relationships with them.
On the other hand, email would give your company a direct channel to reach out to potential customers and nurture the relationship throughout every stage of the buyer’s journey.
To name a few, email marketing can help you leverage sales in the following ways:
Generating new leads through the creation of a well-structured landing page and opt-in form, allowing you to collect email addresses from both website, social, or ads, to then build a targeted email list that can really make a difference during new product launches;
Lead nurturing and helping leads move through the sales funnel by sending them highly targeted and personalized messages based on their interests and purchase habits, such as special birthday offers, welcome discounts, or abandoned cart emails, in order to create a one-to-one relationship and stimulate the brand loyalty;
Promoting new products, services, or business events through the right email campaign, including powerful calls to action and multimedia content.
As you can see, there are numerous approaches to driving sales through email marketing.
However, all of them would benefit greatly from using an email list management tool like Simplelists.
As a matter of fact, there are several technical details that can make you waste time and effort when segmenting and personalizing your email strategy, going from the design of landing pages to email footers, and email moderation.
What our clients appreciate most about our simple tool is that it allows them to quickly address all of these issues in no time by allowing them to easily customize their emails, subscription forms, footers, and even posting restrictions.
Whatever the size of your company, this can save you a lot of time and resources to devote to your sales or business strategy!
Another significant advantage of email marketing is that it allows businesses to retain and engage existing customers, encouraging repeat business and driving visitors back to websites.
This is because the use of targeted and personalized offers allows for a one-to-one relationship, which gives birth to a proper customer retention and remarketing strategy that can engage customers who have previously:
Purchased your products or services;
Visited your website, blog, or landing pages;
Abandoned their online cart.
Indeed, did you know that sending three abandoned cart emails generates 69% more orders? (source: Omnisend).
However, fidelizing a customer means being present and providing a timely newsletter in order to be perceived as also an expert in your industry. In fact, retaining a customer entails more than selling products or notifying abandoned carts, but also sharing educational content.
With the right strategy, email drives customer loyalty and becomes a necessary channel to use in conjunction with:
A sales CRM system to streamline communication;
An email list management tool to speed up the email delivery process.
Have you ever struggled to find the right channels and times to effectively reach your target audience?
This happens to almost every business.
Selecting the most appropriate channels for a specific campaign in a constantly evolving tech market can be extremely difficult and may depend on a variety of factors.
In fact, while a B2B company may find their target on LinkedIn, a B2C retailer may prefer Instagram or TikTok. However, there is one thing that all business types have in common: email marketing.
Email is unquestionably one of the digital channels that allows anyone to create a truly timely campaign to support the:
Promotion of events, including workshops and webinars;
Seasonal campaigns and product launches;
Time-limited offers, such as discounts or free shipping, which create a sense of urgency and encourages impulsive buying;
Trend-based campaigns which are based on popular topics.
Having said that, it’s clear that email campaigns can help you reach the right people at the right time, providing far more value to the target audience.
Why use Simplelists for your Email Marketing Strategy?
Last but not least, we’d like to show you how Simplelists, our user-friendly email list tool, can truly help you reap the benefits of email marketing by allowing you to:
To emphasize the significance of selecting the right tool, we can tell you that segmented and effective email marketing campaigns can result in a 760% increase in overall revenue (source: DMA).
So, to ensure that you get the best results possible, our tool includes a dedicated email delivery feature that gives you access to:
Email delivery reports, which include full receipt information on successful and unsuccessful email deliveries;
Email delivery failures, which help you track all bounces and drawbacks.
Would you like to get rid of advertising?
This is one of the major disadvantages of using free email marketing tools or providers that typically place advertisements in your emails.
It is not only annoying, but it may cause your emails to:
Go directly to your subscribers’ spam folders;
Be perceived as spammy;
Shift the focus from your content to the ads.
That is why Simplelists emails are free of advertisements and allow you to send the most professional and effective messages!
Lets you send HTML emails
Finally, another way you could use Simplelists to improve your email marketing campaigns is by designing and sending eye-catching HTML emails.
Our tool, in fact, will not limit you to the use of preset templates, but will allow you to easily customize and create your emails the way you want, so that you can:
Reflect your branding;
Gain more design control;
Send more engaging, safe, and trackable emails.
As we’ve seen today, developing a valuable marketing strategy can be difficult and time-consuming.
Emails provide numerous benefits, ranging from lead generation to remarketing and branding, but only through the use of a valuable email list tool you can make a difference for your company and achieve the desired results.
It has been estimated that just under 80% of emails sent by email marketers to people who signed up to your list reach the inbox. This is a pretty staggering number when your recipients have subscribed legitimately. This is because spam filters are becoming increasingly sensitive to make sure that non-legitimate emails do not get delivered. To avoid your email ending up in the spam folder, there are some simple things you can do.
Have a good email list
It is important that you make sure that the people you are emailing want to hear from you. We do not recommend that you buy or rent email lists that you can’t trust the source of, and it’s crucial that your list members have opted in to receiving your correspondence.
The easiest and most common way to do this is to get them to subscribe to a mailing list, either via a website or links on social media. You can assume that, if people visit your site, they are likely to be interested in the information/product you provide. You could add a sign-up box on all of your pages to allow users to join the list.
Ask your recipients to put you on their contact list
It is pretty much guaranteed that emails are delivered to the inbox if your list members have added you to their address book/contact list. In your welcome/first email you could ask them to add you to their contact list. You could also ask them to do this in the body of other emails that you send.
Mind the subject line
It is important to take care with the subject line of your email as it can affect the likelihood of your email avoiding the spam folder. We have written another short post on how to write a good subject line – the key message is that it should not be too much longer than 35 to 50 characters. The longer the subject line, the more likely it is that the email will go to the spam folder.
Make it easy to unsubscribe
While this might sound counter-intuitive, making the unsubscribe link visible on your emails can actually help overall deliverability to your list. It is preferable that your recipients choose to unsubscribe themselves, rather than marking your email as spam.
Email providers such as Gmail, Hotmail and others keep track of spam complaints and may penalise you, affecting how many of your other emails are delivered. If you make it easy for your list members to unsubscribe, the risk of the email service provider blocking all the emails you send is minimised.
Don’t forget that it is important to understand that there are laws governing the sending of emails to a list – you can read more about email spam and the law in one of our earlier posts.
If you’re using Simplelists for email marketing, you should be aware that segmenting your email list is one of the best ways to boost the effectiveness of any email marketing campaigns that you run. This is because you can ensure that the email suits your client’s specific interest(s) and increase the likelihood that they open your email and respond to your call to action.
If you are using Simplelists for private groups discussions, you may already be pretty familiar with the segments of your list. If it’s something you want to think about some more, or run a specific marketing campaign, here are four tips for email segmentation to help you get the results you want.
1. Split your list into groups that are alike
Your email recipients aren’t all alike and there are very likely to be groups (or segments) that exist in your list. Are there age groups that might respond differently to your call to action, or are there particular interests that you could focus on? Each group will need its own email stream with content that suits the reader. Common groups tend to fall under four headings:
geography (location, language, climate, etc.);
demography (age, gender, income, etc.);
psychology (lifestyle, opinions, values, etc.); and
behaviour (purchase usage, buyer stage, user status, etc.).
2. Recognise that there are stages at which people interact with you
Your list members will require different information, depending on how long they have interacted with your business/activity. For example, someone who has visited your website once and subscribed to your email list will need different information to a long-term customer who is very familiar with your products and/or activities.
3. Build credibility
Segmenting and personalising your emails shows the recipient that you are interested in more than just selling to them. Instead, you take the time to get to know them as well as looking into their needs and interests.
4. Go beyond the obvious
You don’t need to think only about people’s interests now and what other groups they fit into at this time. You could have a think about what they might aspire to them in the future with regards and goods or services that might appeal to them. You could also think about using 'negative data’ i.e. if they prefer one brand, they might be likely to be disinterested in another.
Having a form on your website that allows people to sign up to an email list is a great way to grow your email list and increase the potential for your messages to be shared beyond your list members. In this short post, we explain what a subscribe form is, how it can work for growing your list, and how to use Simplelists to create a form for your site.
What is a subscribe form?
A subscribe form (sign-up form, email opt-in form) is an embedded/hosted web form that you can put on your website, blog or social media pages so that people can enter their details into the form to sign up to your list/email group. Normally, the form is very straightforward and only has a few fields to get the information needed. Name and email address are most important.
Importantly, this is a way to collect email addresses with permission. The person completing the form is actively agreeing that you can send him or her emails sent to your list. This is good news in terms of abiding by rules related to spam, as well as hopefully resulting in more visits to your website and/or participation in group discussions via clicks from your emails.
Creating a form using Simplelists
First, you need to copy the code from Simplelists. Sign into Simplelists and navigate to 'general settings’ and then the 'subscriptions’ tab. Scroll down to 'web subscriptions’, select the code and copy it. Next, you need to paste the code into your website. Open your website editor and paste the code where you want to the form to appear. This should be somewhere between the <body> and </body> tags. In this short video, you can see the code pasted into a div created for this purpose.
Styling your form
Finally, you can style your form by using CSS to change how your form looks. This means that you can make it match perfectly with the design of your website. You can also edit the HTML to adjust your form. For example, you could add a title above the form or remove some of the form options, to simplify it. You might like to remove the daily digest summary option, the unsubscribe option and/or the notes box. If you remove these three lines of code, you would be left with a form that allows users to leave just their name and email address.
It is a good idea to put your form in a visible place on your site where you receive the most visitors. Examples include: the top side bar of your website/blog, the top navigation bar, the footer, on your 'About’ page, etc.
That’s all there is to adding a subscribe form to your website - simple.
It is becoming more widely accepted that 'no-reply’ email addresses can be harmful to an email campaign. The 'no-reply’ email address effectively stops, or tries to put people off from, replying to your emails. While this may help to ensure that your inbox doesn’t become cluttered, it gives a negative message to readers - in effect, you don’t want to hear back from them. This probably isn’t good for business. If you still use 'no-reply’ email addresses in your business/email marketing communications, this post contains some reasons why you might want to stop.
Email deliverability will be affected
Many email services and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) detect the response of an email’s recipient to gauge whether the email is legitimate or not. Whether a recipient opens, clicks, replies, unsubscribes, forwards or deletes the message determines whether the message is considered as 'good’ or as 'spam’. Gmail, for example, ranks the importance of an email based on the recipient’s action - if the recipient replies, Gmail is more likely to class the email as 'important’. If your recipient can’t reply, your emails are likely to end up in the Spam/Junk folders (read more about keeping your emails out of spam in an earlier post).
Some people also don’t look for the (sometimes very small) unsubscribe link, instead hitting 'reply’ to request they be unsubscribed from the mailing list. If they then learn that replying is not possible (either because the reply email starts with 'no-reply’ or similar, or their email is returned undelivered), they are then likely to click 'report spam’. You can read more about spam management and delivery rates in one of our other posts.
Missed chance to be added to contact lists
One way to ensure that your email reaches the recipient’s inbox is if your email address has been added to their contact list (this means it has been 'whitelisted’). Most ISPs do not allow users to add 'no-reply’ emails to their address books. If they are unable to reply to your emails, they are also unlikely to add you manually. Email providers like Gmail and Yahoo automatically add an email address to a contact list if the user sends a message to it so it makes sense that recipients should be able to respond.
Reduced conversion rate
In the age of social media and online identities/persona, receiving communications from a 'machine/robot’ means that the sender of an email has no personal touch. People probably still like to feel that there is a real person sending the email to them! With a 'no-reply’ email, it is much less likely that the recipient will take action on what is in the email. Using an address like 'customer-services’ or a real name is likely to be much more effective when encouraging customers to respond to a call to action. Similarly, make sure the name that appears in the recipient’s inbox shows your brand clearly (e.g. 'Simplelists Account Verification’ rather than just 'Account Verification’).
Makes it harder to keep your email list up to date
Some people also hit 'reply’ to update their details with you. A real email address will allow you to find valuable information in the replies that will ensure that your contact list is kept up-to-date. Excluding incorrect email addresses from your mailing list will also help your deliverability rates and prevent your messages from being sent to spam.
Before delving into writing HTML code for your bespoke design email, it’s a good idea to spend a few minutes doing some planning first. Don’t think of this stage as wasted time - it is more likely to be the opposite - saving you time in the long run as you will know exactly what you are aiming for before starting. A well-planned email is also likely to be a success, especially if you are using the email for marketing purposes.
Some questions to consider
Before you start writing the code, ask yourself some or all of the following questions:
Who will the email be sent to?
What is the aim of the email?
What is the ideal outcome?
What are other positive outcomes?
To answer those questions, let’s think of an example scenario. The email might be going to existing customers of a particular company (let’s call it 'My Company’). The aim of the email could be to share the latest news about an exciting new product. The ideal outcome might be that people reading your email click through to your website and buy the new product. Other positive outcomes might include following the company on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc.), or that they remember the company and what it does. At a later date they then may decide to buy the product or look for other similar products, and they may return to the site.
What to include in the email
The answers to the above questions will also help you to decide what you want to include in the email. For the above 'My Company’ scenario, it would be wise to include:
A customer name
Text with the news and information about the product
A strong 'call-to-action’ for the recipient to click through to the company website news page (read more about 'calls-to-action’ in our earlier post on email marketing tips)
A logo and social media buttons
Now that you have decided on the content of the email, you can go ahead and sketch a design. You might like to use a pen and paper to do this, or use a simple graphics program that you are familiar with.
It is a good idea to use a simple white background for your email - you can choose another colour if you like but white is preferable for ease of reading and a subtle, professional design. When choosing a font, remember that HTML emails are restricted to 'websafe’ fonts so it is quite a simple choice: Georgis, Palatino Linotype, Times New Roman, Arial, Comic Sans, Impact, Lucida Sans Unicode, Tahoma, Trebuchet or Verdana (we don’t recommend using Comic Sans or Impact as they are unlikely to look good and/or be easy to read). Our preference is Trebuchet as it looks modern and is less common that well-used fonts like Arial and Lucida Sans Unicode.
A subtle grey colour works well for text and you might like to choose an 'accent’ colour to go with it. Make sure your text is large enough to read easily. You can use headings anc columns to guide the reader through your text. Keeping a lot of white space in the email is a good idea as it makes the email clean and easy to read. Make sure the 'call-to action’ is very visible. Include a signature, logo and your social media buttons as well.
You can view a short video about designing HTML emails using Simplelists here. This video takes you through the design process step-by-step and is based on the questions we started with in this blog post.
A recent study carried out by ReturnPath estimated that only 79% of emails sent by legitimate email marketers (i.e. emails sent to people who signed up to your list) reach the inbox. Spam filters are becoming more and more sensitive, to ensure that non-legitimate, spam emails don’t get delivered. It is important to follow a simple set of rules to ensure that your list members receive the emails they have signed up for.
Build a good email list
The most important thing you can do to ensure that your emails get delivered to the inbox is to ensure that the people that you are emailing want to hear from you. It is not advised to buy or rent email lists that you can’t trust the source of, and it’s important that your list members have opted-in to receive your list. The most common way to opt-in is to subscribe to a particular mailing list, either via a website or a social media link. If people visit your website (regardless of whether they purchase something), they tend to be interested in the information you are providing. You can include an email sign-up box on all pages, allowing users to join your list. A 'soft opt-in’ is is when a customer has bought something from you and, on this basis, you assume that they might like to receive information about other products/services. They might also have opted in 'softly’ if they have been given the option to refuse to receive communications from you and they chose not to select this option.
Ask your recipients to add you to their contact list
Getting emails delivered to the inbox is pretty much guaranteed if your list members have added you to their address book/contact list. You can ask them to add you to their contacts in the first welcome email that you send them when they sign up to receive your messages. It’s also a good idea to remind them in the body of other emails that you send.
Take care with your subject line
The subject line of your email will also affect the likelihood of your email making it to the inbox. We have considered how to write a good subject line in a previous post - the key message here is that your subject line should not be significantly longer than 35 to 50 characters because the longer it is, the more likely it is that it will go to the spam folder.
Make it easy for them to unsubscribe
This might sound like a strange one but making the unsubscribe link prominent can actually help overall deliverability to your list. It is much better if your recipients choose to unsubscribe, rather than marking your email as spam. Email service providers such as Gmail, Hotmail and others keep track of spam complaints and may penalise you for it, affecting how many of your other emails get delivered. By making it easy for your list members to unsubscribe, you minimise the risk of the email service provider blocking all the emails you send.
Finally, it is important to understand that there are laws governing the sending of emails to a list - you can read more about email spam and the law in one of our earlier posts.
Email marketing campaigns are used by the majority of companies to advertise their products, share their news, or invite their subscribers to take part in activities/events. A campaign is a 'call to action’ with varying objectives and, recently, there have been several questions raised about the effectiveness of email as a method for engaging and motivating your contacts.
In this post, we look at why, despite the rise of social media, email marketing remains an important and effective marketing tool.
People tend to prefer email
More than 200 million emails are sent every minute. It is perhaps no surprise that email is still a very heavily used means of communication for consumers and organisations alike. It allows you to open your mail at your leisure, rather than receiving a phone call or text, and direct mailings can often be thrown straight in the bin if not immediately relevant. A 2015 study carried out in the US found that 72% of American adults say that they prefer companies to communicate with them by email, rather than by other means. A high percentage (91%) of respondents also said that they like to receive promotional emails from organisations that they already do business with.
It has advantages over social media
Email marketing allows you to send relevant and insightful content to a group of people who have knowingly and willingly subscribed to your list. Over-enthusiastic marketing using social media can lead to you losing followers, especially if you bombard them with too many posts/adverts. With social media, you are relying on your followers to see your posts, yet if they only access their accounts at certain times of the day, you may get missed in their already-busy feed. It is also hard to target your marketing on social media when all your followers see all your posts. An email can be opened when it suits the recipient. In addition, most users of the internet are also email account holders, whereas only 70% have a social media account.
It is an easy way to reach mobile customers
Email marketing remains an easy way for organisations to reach their list members on mobile devices, without having to invest in new technology and/or software. A 2014 study carried out by shop.org found that just under 50% of retail email messages were opened by customers on their smartphones, and about 20% on tablet devices.
You can target your list to get better results
Simply building a list of email contacts can be a waste of time. Instead, it is worth investing your efforts in segmenting and targeting your list so that you have engaged readers who want to open your email and read what you have written. For example, you do not want to send information about the latest sale in women’s clothing to your male subscribers. If you don’t target your emails well, you are likely to see high 'unsubscribe’ rates.