From e-commerce sellers to brick and mortar stores, from bestselling authors to niche bloggers, from politicians to celebrities—building an email list has been at the crux of all forms of success for years.
An email list is a database of users who are past or potential consumers for your product, service, or offerings. Generally, these individuals have voluntarily given you their email in exchange for something, such as a promotional deal or useful content. Therefore, a quality email list will be made up of users who have already shown interest in your company.
Email lists create business growth by working to cultivate a strong, loyal customer base. A versatile asset, they can be used to launch new products, share content, run promotions, and increase brand awareness. They’re also a more personal form of marketing because you are delivering information about your brand and product directly to the consumers’ inbox—which gives you a huge leg-up over competitors with regards to exposure.
A lot of people believe that email marketing has died and has been replaced with social media advertising. But time and time again this has been proven not to be the case. In fact, email marketing is still, in the second decade of the 21st century, one of the most important, efficient, and growing forms of communicative marketing for exponential business growth. Want to know why? Read on...
Why is an Email List Important?
If that doesn’t convince you, here are 10 other reasons that holding and growing an email list is vital to business growth.
1. Everyone Uses Email
Email has remained virtually consistent since its inception in the 1970s, except that it has grown in popularity and usage. In fact, in 2020, there were 3.9 billion daily email users. That’s more than half the world population! Almost everyone has an email address, whereas we all know someone who doesn’t have a Facebook.
Some people say Facebook and Instagram ads are the marketing of the future. While it’s true that these social media platforms have seen a significant growth in “sponsored” posts, email marketing is and will remain consistent: you are not locked into the rules, privacy settings, or changing trends of third-party platforms, and you don’t have to worry about potential expiration dates on social media platforms. Remember MySpace? In 10 years time that could be Facebook or Instagram. But if you have an email list, Facebook could go out of business tomorrow, and you would still have an email list with whom you could communicate.
2. Email is More Targeted
Your email list is made of people who gave you their email because they were interested in what you have to offer, because they wanted you to contact them. Therefore, you already have some influence in their purchase decisions. You are not just pushing ads at a group of people, hoping some of them will click. An email list will save you money on advertising and give you a higher ROI.
3. Email is More Direct
Email is more direct than social media marketing or ads: it goes straight to your inbox, and as long as it hasn’t ended up in the spam folder, it’s harder to ignore.
4. Email is More Personal
It’s easy to personalize email, unlike ads. People can view your emails in the privacy of their inbox, instead of on a busy social media feed, where a post can easily be swallowed up by newer posts (or comments).
5. Email is Low Cost
Even the best email marketing campaigns will often be cheaper than other forms of print and online marketing. Your email marketing team can be made up of just a copywriter and a graphic designer using an app or email service to run and track the campaign. This simple set up makes the cost steady and predictable for every run, allowing you to create an ongoing email campaign on less money than any other type of marketing.
6. Email is Real-time Marketing
Have a “Today’s Deals” on Amazon going on right now?—Fire off an email directing your customers to the promotion. Have an upcoming launch?—Use your email list to keep customers up to date with the launch, any special promotions, and availability of products. The beauty of email marketing is that it allows you to communicate more often with your customers without seeming intrusive.
7. Email Provides Customer and ROI Tracking
You can directly link a customer’s email to their other information to create a strong database of users. This allows you to separate consumers into categories based on what they buy, how they buy, and even when they buy. With the right email marketing service, you can directly track the movements, conversions, and behaviors of your consumers.
In a similar fashion, you can also track click-through rates, conversions, sales, user engagement, and return on investment. This is often a more reliable form of tracking returns since sales and conversions can be directly traced with click-throughs and cookies.
8. You can Use A/B Testing
This tracking of customers and ROI allows for the strongest form of A/B testing. In addition, because email marketing is so quick and cheap, it can be separated into consumer categories, allowing you to “test the waters” for advertising and product promotion.
For example, you can send an email with one graphic to a small subset of users and send the same email with a different graphic to another subset of users. This allows them to track the graphic which had a better success and conversion rate before sending that out to the rest of the email list.
9. Email is Eco Friendly
At Seller’s Choice, we believe in sustainable marketing just as much as we believe in sustainable products. Print marketing is as fossilized as the fossil fuels it depends on—whereas email marketing saves money on paper, ink, and energy—helping the environment and your business!
How Do You Grow A Quality Email List?
Now for how to build an email list:
First, remember that Amazon does not allow you to solicit emails and build your email list through the Amazon Seller platform. A customer who purchases a product from you on Amazon is Amazon’s customer—not yours. This allows Amazon to retain their data and to provide you with limited information about customer service issues and general tracking.
In fact, you can’t ask Amazon customers for their email at all nor link to your website or social media anywhere on your listing.
Secondly, never buy email lists. Cold emailing people will make you look like spam, and you might get blocked or even blacklisted. So, just don’t do it!
But enough of what you shouldn’t do, here’s Sellers Choice’s top 10 tips for building your email list:
1. Use Opt-in Forms on Your Website
First, you should have your own website before you think about email list building. Even if you only sell primarily on Amazon, for the time being, having a separate website is a great way to develop a brand identity that will attract and retain loyal customers. A separate website is also a way to grow traffic outside of the Amazon walls.
On your website, make it easy for potential customers to subscribe to your list. Put opt-in forms on every page with bright, creative, eye-catching sign-up boxes. These can go anywhere on the page, but the footer is the best. You can even integrate the opt-in form on your social media. The more consumers have access to sign up, the more likely they will subscribe when they realize how great your brand is.
2. Use Pop-ups
While pop-ups are a bit more intrusive than opt-in forms, they can be very useful for email list building. Like opt-in forms, you can put pop-ups anywhere in your website. Pop-ups can either appear on entering your website or leaving (i.e. “before-you-go”).
Pop-ups can simply just ask viewers for their email, but you can incentivise your pop-ups by adding deals or freebies for signups. If it’s their first time visiting the site, viewers probably won’t buy anything, but you will get their email addresses to grow your list.
However, a really good time for incentivised pop-ups is at checkout, to stop customers from abandoning their carts. When a customer is about to abandon their cart and a pop-up “pops” up offering a discount if they give you their email address, they might think twice and make a purchase after all.
There are apps that can help you create pop-ups, such as Privy, which provides you with templates and customization options (such as when and how long it appears) for pop ups.
3. Offer Free Software and Gated Assets
People usually don’t want to give out their email without getting something in return. Instead, offer them something great and have it be delivered to their inbox immediately. This is more likely to get them to subscribe, and it will also provide them with something that has lasting value with regards to your brand. This freebie can be some sort of free software, a coupon code, or even exclusive access to a new product.
Alternatively, you can offer gated assets. Gated assets are high-quality, difficult-to-produce content that can be traded for email addresses. Gated assets can include eBooks, webinars, or white papers. Apart from building your email list, gated assets also show that you have industry knowledge and are trustworthy (thus increasing brand awareness).
4. Build a Landing Page
Landing pages are pages which you use to drive sales and to build your email list, luring potential leads with promises of free content or deals. There are many apps that can help you build a landing page, such as AMZPromoter.
5. Run Lead Ads
Email list building through advertising may seem unimaginative, but it can work out. Ads should take potential subscribers through to a landing page where they can be offered a discount or some sort of content.
6. Put Sign-up Buttons on Social Media
Both Facebook and Instagram have the option of adding a “sign-up” button at the top of your page, which you can link to your landing page, thus gaining an email address.
With Facebook, you can share offers that take people to your landing pages or put links with content or pictures.
With Instagram, you can put a link to your landing page in your bio.
7. Make Questionnaires
Customers love surveys and questionnaires (and they’re a great way of adding to your email list). Questionnaires can be about anything from market research to customer feedback. You can even offer a discount to people who take the questionnaire.
8. Run Contests
Contests can both add to your mailing list and increase your brand awareness. Run a contest or competition in which people can win a prize and all they have to do to enter is give you their email address.
To get even more subscribers and brand awareness, you could have an influencer run your contest.
9. Ask Customers for Their Email at Checkout
Getting a customer’s email from a “Would you like email updates?” check-box during checkout is something often overlooked, which is unfortunate because it’s one of the easiest and most effective ways of building a high-quality list. (Once someone’s shopped with you once, they’re likely to do so again). On Shopify, you can require an email address be entered upon placing an order.
10. Grow Your Amazon Brand
Keep in mind that you won’t build an email list if you don’t already have traffic to your site. So you first need to get people dedicated to your brand. Amazon is the most popular shopping app in the US. That means that you could already have a lot of traffic, but it also means you could get lost in the crowd. So, to grow your email list, you first need to work on growing your Amazon brand.
How Do You Use Email Marketing?
You should always be growing your email list, but it goes beyond that—you need to use those email lists to your advantage. Here are our top 10 tips for how to run a great email marketing campaign:
1. Don’t Overdo It
Focus on quality not quantity. People will unsubscribe fast if they are spammed with lots of emails and you might even end up in their spam folder.
Email people who want to be emailed, and only email people when they want it. (Remember what we said about buying lists). Be upfront about the information you will be sending and make it easy to unsubscribe.
2. Schedule Your Emails
One way you can make sure you aren’t overdoing your email marketing is scheduling your emails. You can do this by making an email marketing calendar, but it’s better to use email marketing software like Klaviyo which can run your email marketing campaigns (including scheduling your emails).
You should schedule around your other marketing initiatives, such your content and social media calendars and any deals you might be offering.
3. Provide Value
Want to send emails that don’t get relegated to spam? Make each email count. But how can you give people the highest value that will show the quality of your brand?
While people want to get promotions and deals, they may also expect content, newsletters, blogs, and updates about your brand. Think about what your consumers want and provide them with the appropriate value.
4. Use Content
Part of providing value is providing content. Content such as blogs can make your emails into something more valuable instead of just plain product advertising. You can also include excerpts and links to your blog in your email marketing campaign.
5. Make Your Emails Creative and Interactive
Because email marketing is so common, people are beginning to treat them like ads. Just like they skip ads on Youtube, they see a salesy email headline and they immediately delete the email without reading it.
In this way, you need to make your emails stand out from the pack. Be creative with headlines, graphics, and copy. Make your emails interactive—include sharable elements and content that your customers value.
Keep it simple, and stay aligned with your brand persona. Your email should act like a friend or a coworker reaching out to tell your subscriber about a great deal or share a quality article.
6. Choose a Quality Email Service
There are a lot of companies out there who can help you with your email marketing campaigns. However, using their services can be pretty expensive. If you are a small business, consider using email marketing software like Klaviyo. Klaviyo is a great choice because the app can run your email marketing campaigns, produce automated emails, create prop ups and help you track your campaigns.
7. Clean Your List Regularly
To keep your email list working properly, you need to clean it up regularly. Scrubbing your email list means removing all invalid email addresses (which you can do by verifying your email list), as well as those that don’t produce any results. Track emails you send out and remove addresses from the list when they don’t open any of your emails for five months.
8. Include Unsubscribe Options
It’s really important to include an “unsubscribe” link or button in your emails. In the US, you are legally required to have an unsubscribe link, but even if you didn’t have to, leaving out the unsubscribe link makes you look like spam.
9. Segment Your Email List
Categorizing and segmenting your email list into different demographics will help you increase the effectiveness of your email list. Recipients who receive more targeted emails (i.e. from segmented email lists) are more likely to open emails and less likely to unsubscribe.
How do you segment your email list? You can segment your list based on metrics like why subscribers have signed up, what pages they’ve visited, whether they’ve bought anything, etc.
You can also ask your subscribers what sort of content they are most interested in receiving- whether that’s blog posts and content, monthly newsletters, weekly rundowns, product launches, or promotional deals.
10. Setup Automated Emails
In March 2020, about 88% of shopping carts were abandoned, so setting up automated emails for customers who have abandoned their carts, as well as other triggers, can really pay off.
Sending an automated email regarding the cart they have just abandoned (and a discount), or merely a “Welcome” email, puts you in prime position to move your current and potential customers through the funnel. Use email marketing software, such as Klaviyo, to create automated emails like:
- Welcome Emails
- Repeat Customer Emails
- Best Customer Emails
- Abandoned Cart Emails
- Customer Winback Emails
- New Customer Emails
Setting up these automated emails will keep your brand in touch with its patrons at the most pivotal times throughout the customer journey.
Despite the advent of social media marketing, email marketing is still one of the most effective tools in your advertising arsenal. The importance of growing an email list cannot be overstated; however, there are plenty of ways to grow your email list, from pop ups to landing pages.
Your email list, once built, can be a tool to gain and retain customers, so long as you keep it up-to date and full of interesting content. And if, after reading this article, you still have questions about how to effectively build your email list, Seller’s Choice is here to help you out.