Ten Rules of Permission-Based Email Marketing

flying_letterOne of the main challenges of email marketing is the maintenance and growth of an effective permission-based email list. It’s not simply the amount of subscribers that’s important – what matters most is the quality and commitment of those subscribers.

There are no precise rules that will guarantee a steady increase in valuable subscribers, but there are some best practices that are more likely to make your email list grow.

Follow these 10 simple commandments for a more effective permission-based email marketing campaign.

1. Use Employees to Promote Opt-ins

Instruct all employees to add a specific phrase or link to their email signatures, such as “Subscribe to our newsletter here.” It’s cost-free, and can quickly expand your email list with qualified leads. Key team members can also be directed to capture email addresses during phone conversations with customers. A simple question at the end of each call could lead to countless more quality subscribers.

2. Include Opt-in Forms With Delivered Goods

Providing free information about your email service to existing customers is simple to implement and can attract more quality subscribers. Just highlight your email promotions on packing slips or invoices, making sure your website and email address are clearly visible.

3. Display Sign-Up Forms On Every Web Page

Including more opt-in forms throughout your website is a simple way to build your email list. Every page has the potential to convert readers into subscribers – from the homepage to the checkout page – so why not use this free space to boost your email list?

4. Emphasise Benefits of Subscribing

How will visitors benefit from subscribing? Show actual samples of newsletters, white papers, and “How-to” articles that they will receive just by being on your email list. Emphasise the key benefits of subscribing to your email list, such as discounts, access to e-books, video presentations, and exclusive survey results.

5. Harness Offline Situations

There are always opportunities to add to your email list. Take sign-up forms to conferences and trade shows, and hand them out to people who show an interest in your products or services. Point-of-sale situations also offer the ideal opportunity to advertise email promotions such as special discounts for subscribers.

6. Exploit Other Online Platforms

It’s important to take advantage of multiple online channels to attract more subscribers to your email list. If you have an article published in a trade publication, make sure you include your subscription details. Similarly, include a link to the subscription form at the end of articles submitted to online article directories. And publish the sign-up form on your Facebook page and any other online platforms.

7. Improve Trustworthiness

At the end of your opt-in forms, you need to make your privacy policy very clear. Your potential subscribers need to know you respect their privacy. If you don’t build this trust, you’ll find it very difficult to expand your email list.

8. Use Press Releases

A newsletter with topical articles or surveys within it can be used as part of a press release. There are many online websites you can submit press releases to, and they will distribute them to various other online channels on your behalf. Include a link to your subscription form page and you should see an increase in opt-ins.

9. Invite Friends of Subscribers

You can boost your email list by offering special deals to subscribers and asking them to invite their friends. Some people won’t want to miss out on your limited offer. Simple promotions cost little to implement, but can dramatically increase opt-ins by friends of subscribers.

10. Split Test Forms

One of the most powerful ways to improve conversion rates to your email list is to split test various opt-in forms. A short, simple opt-in form can sometimes improve conversions considerably(sometimes you only need an email address). You can always obtain more information at a later date. Split testing software can show you exactly which type of forms are more successful. For example, some businesses have more success with pop-up forms, but this may not work for you.

In a nutshell…

By experimenting with various ways of attracting subscribers to your email list, you can determine which marketing strategies work best for you. And the more you analyze the behavior of subscribers, the more you will understand exactly what your target audience wants, which should ultimately increase opt-ins and sales.

Over to you…

Are you using email to market your business?  Have you been successful? Do you have any further rules to add to the above list?  Share your experiences, tips and advice in the comments below…

About Omar Kattan
Omar is MD & Chief Strategy Officer at Sandstorm Digital. His experience includes 10 years in traditional marketing and advertising in the Middle East and a further 10 years at two of the largest media agencies in the UK. Follow Omar on Twitter for updates on the latest in digital, branding, advertising and marketing.

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