10 Powerful Opt-In Incentives That Will Get You More Email Subscribers

You probably aren’t a fan of people who visit your website, take a look, and leave. You want some way to keep in touch with visitors and email is still the best option.

Smart business owners and bloggers have been enticing visitors to subscribe to emails for years – usually by offering a newsletter with tips and tricks. But as attention spans get shorter and people get busier, it’s harder than ever to win over email subscribers.

One of the most important ways to attract new subscribers is to come up with a subscription gift. I’m sure you’re picturing yourself plugging away for months to come up with the perfect incentive, but don’t give up yet.

Coming up with a subscription gift is not as hard as you may think.

I’m going to introduce you to some of my favorite ways to create incentive for an email subscription. Every business is different, so I’m including ideas ranging from simple to complex. It’s up to you to create the perfect incentive for your audience.

Let’s dive right in…

Incentive #1: Offer a discount on a product or service.

Everyone loves a good deal. Offering a special discount on products or services is a great way to build your list and encourage subscribers to make an immediate purchase.

Look at how NFL SHOP offers 10% off for new subscribers only:nflshop

Notice that NFL SHOP uses a custom opt-in form to collect information about new subscribers. Don’t worry… you don’t need a major budget to pull this off.

Let’s see how you can offer a discount to subscribers…

  1. Choose your discount. Will you offer a discount on all products or services? Or a specific product or service? Or just a specific brand? Are there any products or services you want to exclude from the offer? Make sure to choose a deal that is financially responsible for you and extremely attractive to your audience.
  2. Generate a promo code. Create a custom promo code for your email subscription offer. Make sure subscribers can only use it once but avoid an expiration date. Why? If subscribers haven’t redeemed the coupon in a certain time period, you may want to send them a reminder email.
  3. Update your welcome email. Use ExpressPigeon to easily insert a button or text link that directs subscribers to a page where your discount applies. Make sure the page only houses products or services that are eligible for the offer – you don’t want to mislead new subscribers.
  4. Update your opt-in forms. Now that the offer is in place, you need to update your opt-in forms. This might require custom development but at the very least, make sure your opt-in copy communicates your new offer. Consider testing new opt-in tricks to better transform website visitors into email subscribers.

Offering a discount is a great way to attract attention to your email subscription, encourage an immediate purchase of your products or services, and set yourself up for an enticing reengagement campaign for inactive subscribers.

Is a discount the perfect subscription gift for your business? Or should you…

Incentive #2: Offer a free trial membership.

Do you sell a product or service that requires recurring payments?

Consider giving away a free trial membership. This attracts people who are interested in your products or services – exactly the type of audience you want on your email list.

A free trial gives people a taste of your expertise and a very direct path to becoming paying customers. Even if they don’t covert into customers after the trial period, you can continue the conversation via email.

Check out how BJ’s Wholesale Club offers a free 60-day membership:

BJswholesale

Notice in the bottom-right corner of BJ’s subscription form, visitors have an option to “Subscribe to BJ’s Emails”. This is one way to do it. Another option is to simply require email subscription to have access to a free trial.

Offering a free trial to your website visitors is a great way to learn more about your prospects. Once you have their emails, you can easily let them know more about your business and their benefits.

Is a trial membership right for your business? Or should you…

Incentive #3: Offer free product samples.

Sometimes the best way to entice people to sign up for emails is to give away exactly what you’re selling… Everybody loves free samples.

This is especially powerful if you sell products that people can buy over and over again. For example, MOO offers free business card samples for website visitors:moobusinesscards

In order to receive the cards, you have to create a MOO account. Once you’re a member, MOO emails you special offers and reminders to finish your project.

Giving free samples can be a great way to entice people to sign up for emails and become paying customers. If you have a great product, can afford to give away samples, and are confident people will come back for more – this could be the perfect subscription gift for your business.

Will you give away free samples to every new subscriber? Or should you…

Incentive #4: Run a recurring contest or giveaway.

Let’s say you have a great product but cannot afford to give samples to every new subscriber. What about running a recurring contest or giveaway?

Giving away something valuable regularly is strong incentive for people to subscribe. Why wouldn’t people want a chance to win something free on a regular basis?

For example, I helped launch Tiesta Tea in the social media space a few years ago. We gave away free bags of tea on Twitter every Friday and earned thousands of paying customers in the process.tiestatealong

Looking back – I could have improved the giveaway by making it exclusive to email subscribers. Here’s what I would do today…

  1. Choose a giveaway and a time frame. What product can you give away? How often can you afford to give it away? Is this giveaway enticing enough to get people excited about your emails? With the Tiesta Tea example, we would give away 5-10 free tins of tea every Friday.
  2. Create entry points on your website. Entry points for the contest are your opt-in forms. Update the forms to let people know about your contest. With the Tiesta Tea example, your messaging might be: “Sign up for the Tiesta Tea Club for a chance to win free tea every Friday.”
  3. Announce winners via email. You can send an email to all of your subscribers on select dates to announce the winners. In the email, you can include a special discount for “losers” to encourage them to make a purchase.

Running a consistent contest or giveaway is a great way to encourage people to sign up for emails, stay engaged with your emails, and visit your blog or store consistently.

Is a recurring contest the right incentive for your audience? Or should you…

Incentive #5: Create a special club for email subscribers.

What if you could turn your email list into an exclusive club? Wouldn’t people rather be a part of something special than something they see everyday?

The concept is simple – transform your email list into a “club” or “membership” and offer subscribers multiple incentives for joining. This is more of a branding tactic than anything but it can be very effective for building a list.

For example, Pillsbury calls its email subscribers “Members” and promotes the club heavily on its website:pillsburyoffer

Notice that Pillsbury offers members free coupons, samples, and a newsletter subscription. When you dive deeper, you’ll find they also give members a free calendar and entries to recurring sweepstakes.

Here’s how you can create a club for your business…

  1. Come up with a catchy name. What will the name of your club be? It’s ideal to make people feel like they are a part of something important. What name is cohesive with your brand? Is it a club? A membership? A community? It’s up to you to decide.
  2. Choose incentive for subscribers. What is the value in joining the club? People need to know what’s in it for them. You can choose multiple incentives from this post to generate ideas. Consider offering ongoing benefits such as recurring contests or giveaways.
  3. Update opt-in forms & process. Be sure to update your opt-in forms and process. One of the most fitting opt-in tricks to consider is creating a page dedicated to your club and adding it to your main menu.

Is creating a club the right way to go for your audience? Or should you…

Incentive #6: Create an eBook on an in-demand topic.

Have you considered writing an ebook?

Ebooks are extremely popular email subscription gifts. Why? If you choose the right topic for your audience and add unforgettable value, you can build a list of engaged subscribers who trust you and care about what you have to say next.

Take a look at the ebook KissMetrics offers in exchange for an email address:kissmetricslandingpage

Notice that Kissmetrics covers an important topic in the analytics industry – measuring data that matters for making “the right decisions”.

This ebook targets valuable subscribers for Kissmetrics – people who are interested in analytics and might eventually purchase its analytics software subscription.

Ideally, you want to create an ebook that attracts new subscribers, showcases your expertise, and introduces subscribers to your products or services.

So how can you write an ebook for your audience?

  1. Choose the right topic. This is not a guessing game. One of the best ways to choose an in-demand topic is to find your most viewed blog posts and expand on your favorite. Make sure you pick a topic you know and care about because you can expect follow-up conversation.
  2. Write your ebook. Draft an outline, set deadlines, and begin writing. Use existing blog posts and competitor ebooks for inspiration. An ebook should be conversational like blog posts, but more comprehensive. Reach out to a respected friend or connection to edit and make final edits yourself.
  3. Design & upload your ebook. The cheapest and easiest way to present your ebook is to create a dedicated webpage. If you want to step it up – create a custom PDF version of your ebook. You can outsource on Dribble or Behance but don’t forget to get a beautiful cover design and a cover thumbnail for your opt-in forms.
  4. Update your welcome email. Use ExpressPigeon to add a button to your ebook URL in your welcome email. You don’t want to promise an ebook and not deliver!
  5. Update opt-in forms. Update your opt-in forms to tell visitors about your amazing ebook. Check out these opt-in tricks to help you with the process.

Is an ebook the perfect incentive for your audience? Or would you rather…

Incentive #7: Record an audio gift.

Your audience is busy and sometimes they need an option to learn on the go. That’s where an audiobook or podcast becomes such a valuable subscription gift.

Developing audio for subscribers gives them an opportunity to listen and learn – on the way to work, relaxing at home, or driving their kids to school.

See how Audible offers a free audiobook to encourage people to sign up for its service:

audiobook

Why couldn’t you offer the same deal to your email subscribers? Would your audience value a free podcast or audiobook?

Here’s how to create an audio subscription gift…

  1. Choose your topic & write the script. One of the best ways to create an in-demand audiobook or podcast is to select a popular blog post or ebook and expand on it. If you write conversationally, this could be a very simple process.
  2. Record your audio. Once your script is ready, you can outsource the voiceover on Craigslist or do it yourself at a local studio. If you’re considering developing a podcast series, you might want to look into a USB microphone.
  3. Upload audio file & create landing page. Upload your audio file to an audio platform like Soundcloud. Make sure you enable free downloads for the file. Once uploaded, you can create a custom page on your website and embed the audio, with script, for easy downloading & streaming.
  4. Update your welcome email. You need to add a button or text link to direct subscribers to the page with your audio gift.
  5. Update opt-in forms. Update your opt-in forms with these tricks in mind. You might want to design a custom cover for your audiobook or podcast to make it more visually appealing.

Is an audiobook the ideal subscription gift for your audience? Or should you…

Incentive #8: Create an email course. 

An email course is an incredibly powerful way to encourage people to sign up for emails. With an email course, you can deliver information to subscribers broken into a series of emails that they can digest over a period of time.

For example, Copyblogger offers Internet Marketing for Smart People:

copyblogger

As you can see, the Copyblogger course introduces subscribers to Copyblogger’s high-performing content through a 20-part email series and welcomes them into its current email subscription.

So how can you create an email course for your business? 

1. Identify overall course subject.

What will you teach subscribers in your email course?

You need to have a clear direction and understand the overall goal of your email course. Looking at Copyblogger’s Internet Marketing for Smart People, it’s clear that the goal is to help subscribers “understand & implement effective online marketing”:

smallcopyblogger

One of the best ways to come up with a clear direction is to review some of your most popular blog posts or ebooks and identify a common greater goal they are building towards. This will help you come up with a valuable subject to cover in your email course.

2. Identify & develop lessons to support overall goal.

What specific lessons can you teach in your emails to support your overall goal?

You should break down your email course into a series of individual lessons. For example, Copyblogger offers content marketing, SEO, effective headlines, keyword research, and more – which all support the greater subject of online marketing.

smallcb2

Identify lessons you want to teach in your course. Make a list of content that supports each lesson – blog posts, ebooks, videos, presentations, podcasts. You can link to this content within emails that support each lesson.

3. Create emails & landing pages. 

Once you have an overall subject and specific lessons to cover, you’re ready to create your emails. With ExpressPigeon, you can design beautiful emails with no technical knowledge.

Some lessons may require multiple emails whereas others can be explained in just one. Your emails can link to supporting content or if you need to further elaborate, you can create a custom landing page for each email in the course.

Use ExpressPigeon’s widgets to add beautiful buttons or videos to your email designs. You can easily duplicate emails to maintain a consistent look and feel throughout the series. Once you’re done designing your emails, you’re ready to…

4. Set up your email sequence. 

You will need to take advantage of the ExpressPigeon autoresponder feature to deliver your emails. Read this to learn how to use autoresponders to set up your email sequence.

Using autoresponders, you can set up your emails to deliver at specific intervals from the time that each new subscriber registers. Once your course is created, it automatically delivers to new subscribers.

5. Update your opt-in forms.

Don’t forget to promote your new email course. Neil Patel swears by email courses and even uses one himself to promote his email subscription. Check out his subscription form for inspiration:

quicksprout

Is an email course right for your business? Give it a shot! 

Incentive #9: Create a quick video for your audience.

Interview yourself…

Use a webcam to record yourself sharing expertise on your industry with your audience. Offer a few tricks and ideas and share some stories to help your audience relate. Upload the video on YouTube and when someone subscribes, share the link with them.

Don’t worry that the video is available publicly on your YouTube channel. If the content of your talk is valuable, subscribers will appreciate it. Your video should deliver what you promise in your opt-in forms.

Create a tutorial video…

Show people how to do something the right way and they’ll love you for it.

Give people a tutorial video as an email subscription gift, but make it something important. What can you show your audience how to do that nobody else is doing better than you?

The topic you choose should be something that is broad enough to engage anyone in your audience but different enough to entice them to sign up for emails. Once you know what to record, you can create your video.

Programs like Camtasia or Screenflow make it easy to record a screencast – a video of what’s happening on your computer screen. A screencast gives people the visuals they need to follow your how-to’s and they’ll be grateful for subscribing.

If you’re doing something more hands-on, you can always create a how-to video that shows the actual process. Don’t be afraid to fly different.

Does a simple video work for your business? Or do you want to…

Incentive #10: Run recurring webinars.

Webinars come highly recommended for converting website visitors into loyal subscribers and customers. Running weekly or monthly webinars can help you stay ahead of the competition by showcasing your expertise on the latest industry topic.

In case you’re wondering… A webinar is a live video conference where you can share a presentation or screencast with your audience. Attendees can ask questions and interact via voice or messaging – one of the most engaging forms of content marketing there is.

Here’s an example of one of Moz’s recurring webinars:moz

 

Moz uses webinars to educate their audience on online marketing in an effort to build their email list and ultimately upsell attendees on Moz online marketing tools. I’m sure you’re wondering how you can use webinars to build your list.

Let’s get into it…

  1. Choose the right topic. Similar to selecting a topic for your ebook or audiobook, a great way to find a topic for your webinar is to look at your most popular blog posts. Select a topic from one of your best posts – how-to’s, list posts, and case studies usually make for great webinars. Make sure you pick a topic you know and care about or you might get crushed in a Q&A.
  2. Choose your software. Hosting a webinar comes with a small price tag. There are free services, but you’re better offer paying for quality and capturing leads than messing around with software that might crash. Most marketers use GoToWebinar.
  3. Promote your webinar. Creating a blog post to promote your webinar is essential to getting the word out. You might want to launch the post a month in advance – especially if you are just getting started. Use social media and your email lists to let people know. Everyone who signs up for your webinar will need to register with an email address – good news for you!
  4. Create your webinar presentation. Your presentation should be a simple slideshow that leaves room for conversation. Remember that the focus of a webinar is to educate – if you get too salesy people will run away and never come back. Don’t forget to prepare a Q&A. This is where you really establish yourself as an expert and build a deeper connection with your audience.
  5. Send a follow-up email. After the webinar finishes, email your audience with a special offer and invite them to join your email subscription. This is a great way to convert your webinar attendees into ongoing subscribers.

While this incentive is not as direct as the others, it certainly is effective at converting visitors into subscribers and customers. Give it a shot!

Conclusion

Coming up with the perfect opt-in incentive for your business can be as simple or as complex as you decide is right for your audience. No matter what incentive you choose to create, it’s essential to give people a reason to sign up for your emails. You can use all the opt-in tricks in the world but if you don’t offer any incentive, why would anyone subscribe?

Remember, your subscription gift should be…

  1. Attention grabbing. The gift should be unique enough to get people excited. You can have the most educational gift in the world but nobody will ever know unless they subscribe. How can you communicate your gift to make it grab visitors?
  2. Valuable. Subscribers want to get something out of the gift. If it gets their attention but lacks originality or substance, be prepared for unsubscribes.
  3. Brand consistent. A gift that is valuable but has nothing to do with your business can attract subscribers who are only in it for the gift. New subscribers who don’t care what you have to say aren’t likely to stick around for the long haul.

Coming up with the perfect subscription gift is ultimately up to you. Only you will devise the perfect email subscription gift to attract new subscribers and excite them for what’s to come next. So how are you attracting new subscribers?

Have any ideas to add to the list? Leave a comment below and keep the ideas on flow! :)

About Paul Jorgensen

Paul Jorgensen is the Content Marketing Director at ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

ExpressPigeon Ranks Among Top ESPs In New Industry Research

According to reviews from 450 marketing professionals, ExpressPigeon’s user satisfaction and feature ratings place it next to Mailchimp, Constant Contact, ExactTarget, and other industry-leading ESPs.

grid2

CHICAGO – April 10, 2014 – Innovative email service provider changing the way marketing email is prepared and sent, ExpressPigeon, was named one of the top email marketing software vendors on G2 Crowd’s The Grid℠, a proprietary software recommendation engine. Nearly 450 marketing professionals reviewed their email marketing tools to provide user satisfaction and feature ratings. ExpressPigeon users ranked it among the highest in its category. In fact, 100% of ExpressPigeon users on G2 Crowd believe it is headed in the right direction, putting it in a strong position against major competitors including Mailchimp, Constant Contact, ExactTarget, Aweber, and dotMailer.

G2 Crowd awarded ExpressPigeon High Performer recognition, an award for products that are rated highly by users but have not achieved major market share. ExpressPigeon outperformed all other email marketing tools in user rankings for ease of use, ease of setup, ease of admin, and ease of doing business with. In addition, ExpressPigeon users rated the platform’s features highest among email marketing solutions.

ExpressPigeon received the following scores from marketing professionals:

  • Number One in Ease of Setup. ExpressPigeon earned a 96% user satisfaction rating compared to The Grid℠ average of 83%.

  • Number One in Ease of Use. ExpressPigeon earned a 97% user satisfaction rating compared to The Grid℠ average of 85%.

  • Number One in Ease of Admin. ExpressPigeon earned a 93% user satisfaction rating compared to The Grid℠ average of 83%.

  • Number One in Ease of Doing Business. ExpressPigeon earned a 96% user satisfaction rating compared to The Grid average of 85%.

  • Number One in Average User Satisfaction. ExpressPigeon earned a 96% user satisfaction rating compared to The Grid℠ average of 85%.

  • Number One in Email Marketing Features. ExpressPigeon earned a 97% user satisfaction rating compared to The Grid℠ average of 87%.

  • Number One in Platform Features. ExpressPigeon earned a 98% user satisfaction rating compared to The Grid℠ average of 86%.

“These rankings are a strong validation of our continued emphasis on listening to customers and improving our platform,” said Igor Polevoy, President of ExpressPigeon. “Having used other ESPs while managing large IT projects, I did not have the best experience, and saw an opportunity to build something better. After spending more than two years developing our product, we’re excited to make it the most intuitive email marketing system. When we get rave reviews, I feel we are moving in the right direction.”

ExpressPigeon ease of use eliminates the usual stress of email marketing. The platform helps its users design fast, deliver on time, and track everything, with no technical knowledge required. Partnering with predictive analytics engine, SimpleRelevance, allows ExpressPigeon to offer its customers industry-leading personalized email content such as unique product recommendations, optimized deals, images that fit each customers’ preferences and more. It eliminates the need to manually segment because each email is specifically targeted to each customer.

To learn more and view The Grid℠, go to G2 Crowd here.

About Paul Jorgensen

Paul Jorgensen is the Content Marketing Director at ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

Gmail Visual Inbox Could Mean Pay-To-Deliver For Email Marketing

Google is rolling out a field trial for Gmail users to test out a “Grid View” for promotional email. The Grid View offers a Pinterest-style viewing option in the Promotions Tab that effectively eliminates subject lines when activated.

gmailgridview

Google presents the Grid View as a better way for users to find “deals and offers” they want to know about. But not every email in the Promotions Tab is a deal or offer. For example, thousands of subscribers get our email marketing tips by email and many find them in the Promotions Tab.

So what’s really happening here?

It appears this is another step in Google’s plan to monetize the Gmail inbox.

It all started when Google rolled out Tabs, which created a clear distinction between promotional, social, and personal/business email. By separating marketing emails into the Promotions Tab, Google was able to test inbox ads masked as emails without causing too much of an uproar.

But very few people get excited about ads showing up in their inboxes, especially when those ads look like emails. Sounds a lot like spam, doesn’t it? And if you read my post about buying email lists, you’d know that sending spam is illegal and punishable by up to $16,000 per email.

But what if promotional emails display visually? Could this make inbox advertising feel less invasive? Is it possible that sending spam could become an acceptable practice in the form of inbox advertising?

Google seems to be testing these questions with the introduction of “Grid View”. If it sticks, this will create a further separation between standard email and promotional email. And if promotional emails look more like banner ads than standard emails, Gmail users might not be as upset about advertisers invading their inboxes.

Where is this all going?

For now, the change is likely to make little impact on email marketing. The feature is optional, only available to standard Gmail users, and requires testers to turn it on in the Promotions Tab. There’s also no sign that Yahoo, Hotmail, or AOL are jumping on board and there’s no guarantee that the feature will stick.

But if we look at the bigger picture…

It looks like Google is learning from Facebook’s monetization strategy.

Think about it. Much like Gmail is evolving to show users “what they want”, the Facebook newsfeed evolved to display content tailored to specific users. Through that evolution, it became harder and harder for companies to reach their Facebook fans. Today, you can expect to pay to reach most of your Facebook audience.

Is this where Google hopes to take promotional email? Is it possible that one day we will have to pay Google and other ISPs to reach our email audiences? Is pay-to-deliver the future of email marketing?

What do you think? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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About Paul Jorgensen

Paul Jorgensen is the Content Marketing Director at ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

7 Ways To Integrate Social Media & Email Marketing

The social media vs. email marketing discussion continues. But not here.

Don’t get me wrong, I uncovered mind shattering email marketing statistics that show email marketing is a better ROI than social media. But social media and email play better together than they do apart.

You can run an effective social media or email campaign without integration. But what happens if you combine your efforts? The truth is, you won’t know until you try.

Let’s jump right in so you can see for yourself…

Tactic #1: Add social media icons to emails.

Adding social media icons to emails is a simple way to encourage subscribers to connect with you on social media. A subscriber who becomes a fan or follower will have more exposure to your brand and a better chance to receive your message and take action.

With ExpressPigeon, you can easily add social media icons to emails. In the editor, click “Add Image” and you will find plenty of icons in the “Social” category.

social_icons_EP

Once you’ve selected an icon, you can click on it within the editing window and link it to your social channel URL. If you don’t see an icon you like in the gallery, you can easily upload your own images. Give it a try here.

Tactic #2: Email subscribers about your social media accounts.

You can email subscribers to encourage them to connect with you on a specific social media channel. Keep emails channel-specific to maintain a clear call-to-action.

Think about what you offer via your social channel that you don’t via email. One of the best ways to encourage connection is to include some of your most popular posts from the past week or so.

For example, Cool Mom Tech sends weekly emails with their 5 favorite pins:

cool_mom_tech_pins_email

This is a great way to encourage social sharing and build your social media following.

Remember – subscribers gave you permission to email them and social media is a less personal commitment. It’s usually worth the ask.

Tactic #3: Ask subscribers to share your emails & content.

Subscribers don’t necessarily know what action you want them to take. Be direct and ask them to share your email or content within your email via a specific social media channel.

If your email is valuable to subscribers, they will be proud to share it. But how do you add social share buttons or links to emails?

It’s easy to add a “Forward To A Friend” link with ExpressPigeon but adding social sharing links can be more difficult. One of the easiest ways to do it is by adding a Tweet link using Click to Tweet. See how Jeff Goins does it here:Jeff_Goins_Email

You can also add sharing links for specific content within your email. For example, I wrote an article on 33 email marketing statistics earlier this year. Within an ExpressPigeon email, I can add statistics with Tweet links like these:

  • Email marketing ROI = 4,300%. tweet this
  • Companies view email marketing as a better return on investment than content marketing & social media. tweet this
  • Email marketing responsibilities usually fall on one person as a part of a wider range of marketing responsibilities. tweet this

With the ExpressPigeon Button Maker Widget, I can transform a statistic from above into a beautiful call-to-action in the heart of my email:

Click_to_tweet_example

Let’s look at another great example from Content Marketing Institute. They explicitly ask people to share a piece of content within their emails:cmi_image

If your audience shares your content as desired, their social media connections may visit your site. And with a few opt-in tricks in place, new visitors can become long-term email subscribers.

Whether you’re encouraging subscribers to share your full email or content within it, the more they share, the better chance you have of building your email audience.

Tactic #4: Promote your latest email on social media. 

You can promote your emails on social media like you would any other valuable content. To find your email URL, you can open your latest email and click on “View Online” in the upper-right corner:open_online_1

Now that you have an email URL, you are ready to identify social channels to share it on. You can do this by thinking about what audiences will get the most value out of this particular email.

Create social media posts tailored to each audience. Remember - your LinkedIn followers and Twitter followers may be interested in your email for different reasons.

Driving traffic to emails via social media is a great way to increase clicks and attract new subscribers. See email promotion in action by clicking here.

Tactic #5: Promote your email subscription in social media posts.

Encourage social media connections to sign up for your emails. You can do this by creating channel-specific posts that link directly to your subscription form on ExpressPigeon or the subscription page on your website.

Here’s an example of how we promoted our emails in a recent Tweet:

Remember that how you promote your newsletter will vary depending on channel. Keep the post cohesive with the rest of your posts.

Here are a few post ideas you can use to promote your email subscription:

  • We’re offering a 25% discount in our next email newsletter. Want it? LINK
  • Want to join our email conversation? Do it here: LINK
  • Want a free book on How To Grow Your Email List? Get it here: LINK
  • We have a special surprise for our email subscribers this week. Sign up to see what it is! LINK
  • Are you missing out on our weekly emails? Join the conversation here: LINK

Tactic #6: Incorporate email into a contest.

Are you running a contest on your website or social media? This can be a great way to build your email list. I know from experience.

I worked with a television show that explores travel destinations and designed a Facebook contest to give away free vacations to destinations featured on the show. People entered the contest by providing an email address within a Facebook tab.

On the entry page in the tab, people had the option to subscribe to:

  1. Emails about the show.
  2. Emails about the travel destination.

Just because people enter the contest doesn’t mean they want emails. I recommend giving them an option. If entrants don’t sign up, you can remind them in a “you didn’t win the contest” email… Unless of course they actually won. ;)

Here’s an example of how Travel Channel is collecting emails for a contest on their website:

travelchannel_contest

If your contest lives on your website like this, social media is vital for promotion. Consider using social advertising, paid posts, and other ways to drive traffic to your contest.

No matter what social media contest you run, this is a great way to build your list. How will you continue the conversation?

Tactic #7: Promote valuable website content on social media.

Do you have an active blog or linkable assets like web-tools or ebooks? You should.

You can generate dozens of traffic-generating social media posts for every piece of content you create. As long as you have opt-in tricks in place to convert visitors into email subscribers, you can turn that social media traffic into a growing email list.

Let’s say you just published a new blog post. What can do you do next?

  1. Identify the target audience for the post.
  2. Identify social media channels where this target audience is most active.
  3. Generate a series of social media posts to promote the post, tailored specifically to each social channel and audience. Use a service like Sprout Social to save, schedule, or publish your posts.
  4. Sit back and let your opt-in process transform new visitors into email subscribers.

Remember – This only works if you have an opt-in process in place to effectively convert your website visitors into email subscribers.

Conclusion

It seems that social media and email marketing were meant to be together. You are now ready to fuel your email efforts with social media and your social media efforts with email marketing.

What do you think? Do you have any tactics to add to the list? If so, keep the ideas on flow by leaving a comment below! :)

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About Paul Jorgensen

Paul Jorgensen is the Content Marketing Director at ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

How important is “Reply to” address and how do I configure it?

Why am I getting my campaign from ExpressPigeon, and not from me?

Customers sometimes ask:

Why is the “Reply To” address sender@expresspigeon.com, and not the one I configured, and how to change it?

The answer is simple: Only the customer sees it that way. All actual subscribers see campaign emails as coming from the customer. We do it to avoid one of many spam filters ISPs put in to fight against spam. It used to be a typical technique for spammers to send you an email and pretend it is coming from you. In other words, if the “From” and “To” addresses are the same, then there is a higher risk to find that email in the spam folder.

However, our customers usually like to add their addresses to campaign lists to see that our system is performing as expected (especially in cases of scheduled campaigns).  In order to avoid spam filters, in this case, we substitute the “From” email to sender@expresspigeon.com only for our customers. In other words, only the customer who sends an email will receive a copy from us, everyone else will get it from configured address.

A general recommendation for “From” and “Reply To” is to keep them human and not fall into a “noreply” wormhole. People are more likely to open an email from a human rather that some faceless corporation.

How to configure From and Reply To

Our email marketing platform allows you to configure the From and Reply To addresses per list, and also allows to override that when you actually send. Each list has properties tab, where you can configure:

list_properies

When you are sending to such a list, we will grab “From” and “Reply to” from its configuration. However, you can still change it at the last moment on a campaign send page:

campaign_prepare

 

Happy emailin’ :)

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About Igor Polevoy

Igor Polevoy is the President of ExpressPigeon, the easiest way to send professional email. He has over 15 years of experience and passion in developing high quality software, which culminated into ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter

16 Opt-In Tricks To Grow Your Email List

Building an email list is what smart business owners do. After all, you need some way to convert short-lived traffic into lasting relationships. How else will you maintain direct communication with prospects and customers?

There are a few important steps to building an email list. One of the most essential steps is optimizing your opt-in setup & process to convert visitors into subscribers. But before you begin, do this:

  1. Sign up with an email service provider. An email service provider houses your list and gives you tools to design, send, and track emails. Once you have an ESP account, you are ready to…
  2. Create incentive for people to subscribe. You need to offer people something to entice them to give you their email address. Incentive can range from a tangible giveaway (free eBook) to a special offer (product discount) to an exciting explanation of how valuable your emails will be.

Once you have something to give away, you need to make it easy for people to subscribe. This is where opt-in forms come into play. An opt-in form is an entry point for people to subscribe to emails.

To transform visitors into email subscribers, you need to add opt-in forms to your site and develop a subscription process that effectively welcomes them into your email program. Sounds complicated, right?

It’s not as tricky as you may think. Let’s dive right in…

Trick #1: Add an opt-in form to your blog sidebar.

Adding an opt-in form to your blog sidebar is a great place to start. If you have an active blog, this is a traffic-heavy area and a great place to attract new subscribers. You can add a signup form to the sidebar of a WordPress site with this plugin or develop a custom sidebar. Your form should include a message telling visitors why they should sign up.

Take a look at how writer Jeff Goins uses his sidebar to promote his newsletter:goinssidebarshadow

Trick #2: Add a Hello Bar to the top of your website.

Hello Bar is a simple bar that runs across the top of your website. Within the bar, you can add a custom message and encourage email signups or direct visitors to a landing page where you can capture emails later on. See how B2B marketing expert Diana Huff uses Hello Bar to get subscribers:

hellobar

Trick #3: Add an opt-in page to your main menu.

Add a “Subscribe” or “Updates” or “Connect” page to your main menu and give your opt-in form a home of its own. A page dedicated to your email updates can help reel in your more easily distracted visitors. See how blogging mastermind Blog Tyrant does it here:blogtyrantupdates

Now that you have a page dedicated specifically to your subscription form, it’s important to make it accessible. Consider using a custom URL for your signup page. This makes it easier for people to share in those rare moments where they communicate in person. ;)

Trick #4: Create a custom opt-in “slider” on your homepage. 

One of the best pieces of real estate you have on your website is the slider section right below your main menu on your home page. If your main call to action on your site is your email subscription, consider building a custom email signup slider. This is especially popular for bloggers. Derek Halpern from Social Triggers does this beautifully:

socialtriggers

Trick #5: Prompt visitors with opt-in form popups.

There is a lot of evidence to indicate that popups, when tastefully done, can grow your email list. Popups collect email addresses or provide visitors with a link to important content where addresses are collected later on. I was reading Quicksprout the other day and this popped up:emailpopupneil

While popups can be annoying and are not a fit for every business, there are many thought leaders that swear by their results. To add a popup to your site, you can use a WordPress plugin like Popup Domination or build something custom. Remember to give visitors ample time or a few clicks before triggering the popup, or you might scare them off.

Trick #6: Add an opt-in form to the footer of blog posts.

Adding a signup form to the footer of your blog posts is an excellent way to transform new and returning blog readers into engaged email subscribers. We know from experience. By adding a custom HTML signup form to the footer of our posts, we experienced a 156% increase in our email signup rate in just 30 days. Here’s our form:

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Creating a custom signup form requires contracting a graphic designer and a developer. Check out oDesk or Elance for developers and Dribbble or Behance for designers.

Trick #7: Add an opt-in form to every page on your site. 

Adding signup forms to every website page gives visitors a call to action that follows them through their full-site browsing experience. Websites can be noisy and this prevents potential subscribers from falling through the cracks.

Trick #8: Write amazing opt-in form copy.

  • The headline should grab attention and tell people exactly what they get by signing up for your emails. Example: “Get Your Free Content Marketing Toolkit”
  • The body should qualify people and nudge them to take action. Example: “If you’re serious about content marketing, enter your email address below to receive the Content Marketing Toolkit.”
  • The call-to-action should be simple and immediate. Example: “Get The Toolkit.”

Here’s a great opt-in form example from Michael Aagaard at Content Verve:

contentverveoptin

Trick #9: Add something extra to your opt-in forms.

  • Include the dollar value. If you’re offering an eBook or Toolkit or online course in your opt-in form, add the dollar value. Example “Get The Free Content Marketing Toolkit (Valued at Over $300)”
  • Add a testimonial. A testimonial is great for boosting business. If this wasn’t true, Yelp would be out of business. If you don’t have any testimonials, survey your favorite subscribers.
  • Add social proof. Include a message about how many people currently subscribe to your emails. If you have thousands of subscribers, people will want to find out what all the hype is about. Example: “Join 25,000+ of your peers!”
  • Include a privacy policy. People hate spam. Adding a privacy policy message and a link to your privacy policy is comforting. Example: “We respect your privacy (link).”

Neil Patel really adds something extra on his Quicksprout opt-in form, and it works:

quicksprout

Trick #10: Keep submission fields limited in opt-in forms.

We all want to know as much as possible about new subscribers. It’s tempting to ask for more than an email address but people have grown weary of the ask.

Give people comfort and eliminate unnecessary custom fields from opt-in forms. You can always survey subscribers once you’ve earned their trust.

Trick #11: Customize opt-in forms for anticipated traffic surges.

Let’s say you’re about to get featured on a major site and expect significant referral traffic. You want to transform the guest readers into email subscribers. Check out the opt-in forms on the website you will be featured on and shape your form messaging to their audience.

Trick #12: Optimize opt-in forms to improve conversion rates. 

Test small changes in opt-in forms to improve conversion rates. Make one small change and test its impact. You can test form location, design, copy, call-to-action, and more. Small changes such as mixing up your voice from first to third person or testing a new color scheme can be effective. Results will help you tailor your entire signup process.

Trick #13: Develop an original, interactive opt-in form. 

Businesses have experimented with everything from 3D graphics to animation to gamification to spice up signup forms. Coming up with something completely original and interactive is a great way to grow your list. One example we spotted at Get Elastic is an engaging game developed by Sephora in fall 2013. Visitors entered email addresses to follow a ball that traveled Pinko-style into a slot where a unique prize was revealed. sephoracampaign

Trick #14: Use double opt-in and create a custom confirmation email. 

Once a visitor signs up for emails via one of your conveniently located and brilliantly designed opt-in forms, you should send them a confirmation email. This confirmation step, referred to as “double opt-in”, is important to maintaining a quality email list.

A confirmation email is your first direct communication with new subscribers. It should reflect the look and feel of your brand. Design a custom newsletter with ExpressPigeon in minutes. Keep it simple. Your design should prime them for future emails but not distract them from your main call-to-action: Clicking a confirmation link.

Trick #15: Create an inviting confirmation page. 

It’s amazing (disappointing?) how many subscription confirmations lead to a dead end. When a new subscriber confirms subscription, you have an opportunity to redirect them to any URL. Why settle for a simple thank you?

Design a custom confirmation page on your site that welcomes subscribers to the community. Looking for content to include on the page that is applicable for your business? Here are a few ideas:

  • Welcome subscriber to community and thank them for joining.
  • Encourage subscriber to add your email address to contact list.
  • Give subscriber option to connect with you on social media.
  • Offer subscriber a link to engaging content on your site.
  • Prompt subscriber to tell their friends about your email subscription.

Here’s a great example from blogging expert Amy Lynn Andrews:amylynn

Trick #16: Create a welcome email to remember. 

A welcome email is your first email to new subscribers. Give them something that excites them for what’s to come next. Deliver your free giveaway (as promised), thank them for subscribing, and prepare them for what’s coming next.

This is also a great time for a surprise! Consider offering a special “thank you” discount. See how getting-things-done expert Gregory Ciotti does this at Sparring Mind:

sparringmindwelcome

Notice how Gregory includes links to his best articles and gives a warm welcome that gets you excited for what’s to come next. Figure out what works for you and keep it authentic!

CONCLUSION

It’s not easy to build an email list, but with a strategic opt-in process that fits your business, you can build a very profitable email list in just a few months.

What opt-in tricks do you use to convert visitors into subscribers?

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About Paul Jorgensen

Paul Jorgensen is the Content Marketing Director at ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

11 Reasons To Never Purchase An Email List

Email marketing is essential to a successful online marketing strategy. In fact, email marketing has an ROI of over 4300%. Unfortunately, it’s easy for new marketers to make a deadly mistake that can crush their email marketing program and company reputation: Purchasing or renting an email list.

So you are new to email marketing and have a product or service that you know people will love… If only they had some way to hear about it. You’ve heard rumors about list-building over the years so you hit Google and search for “purchase email list”. Lucky for you, there are a few exciting sponsored searches:Purchase Email List

Goldmine! All you have to do now is swipe your credit card and you’ll have a list of “verified” and “opt-in” email addresses from “trusted” vendors. Right?

WRONG!

The “quick fix” of list purchasing is attractive for a new marketer but ugly for those with experience. List purchasing comes with dangerously harmful and long-lasting consequences. Before we dive into reasons why you should never buy or rent email lists, let’s get a better understanding of the three main email list acquisition options.

Email List Acquisition Options

  1. Purchase an email list. There are hundreds of websites and companies that sell email lists. These lists generally include names, email addresses, and other personal information and are often categorized by demographic.

  2. Rent an email list. Renting an email list is a way of “borrowing” an email list from a list provider or partner company. You send an email through a provider to a “targeted” list of email addresses that you will never see.

  3. Build your email list organically. This is the only way to develop a healthy email marketing program. First, you must sign up with an email service provider like ExpressPigeon and then you can generate an opt-in list. An opt-in list grows as people willingly sign up to receive your emails.

I know what you’re thinking… Why don’t I just buy an “opt-in” list rather than build one myself? It’s simple: Sending spam is illegal and punishable with fines up to $16,000 per email. Still want to beat the system?

Let’s take a look at 11 reasons you should never purchase an email list…

Reason #1: For-sale lists are built through questionable collection methods.

Think about it. Reputable companies would never sell their email lists. So where do vendors acquire email addresses to generate for-sale lists?

One such method is banner ad deceit. If you’ve ever been prompted to “Win an iPad” or “Claim Your Free Vacation”, you’ve witnessed this firsthand. People who click these ads must answer a series of questions and provide detailed personal information for a “chance to win”. Unfortunately, there is usually no actual chance to win, and people who submit their information often end up on “targeted” email lists. Not exactly your ideal targets.

Another popular email address collection method is called email harvesting, where email list vendors deploy bots to crawl selected websites, social networks, and forums and store collected email addresses in a database. This database becomes, lucky for you, an email list that you can purchase. Sounds like a great list of people to email, eh?

emailrobot

Let’s not forget about industry events. Ever signed up for a chance to win a car or checked off a few random boxes during registration? You are truly the lucky winner! Your email address just made it onto an email list that vendors buy from industry events and sell back to email marketing newbies later on. Those little checkboxes can be so deceiving… And this trickery is amplified digitally.

List vendors collect emails through online service signups, masking them in the little checkboxes that we just mentioned but continuously forget to uncheck. Once you’ve checked a box for “updates from SHADY COMPANY and our partners”, you made it onto an email list for rent! List building vendors market these lists as “rentals”, where you pay to reach an “opt-in” list. Unfortunately, the people on the list didn’t opt-in for emails from you.

Reason #2: Purchased email lists are deceitfully advertised. 

Email list vendors have mastered the game of luring in new email marketers. They are experts at making you feel like you just found the “secret” to instant email marketing success. Unfortunately, their expertise is misleading for you and doesn’t cover the negative consequences of sending emails to a purchased list. While buzzwords like “opt-in”, “targeted”, and “clean” may make you feel warm and cozy, these descriptors couldn’t be further from the truth.

Purchased email lists are never opt-in (did people really sign up for email updates from anyone that buys the list?) and they certainly are not targeted with any accuracy. The fact that vendors even mention the idea of “clean” is a giveaway to the fact that purchasing lists is a dirty game. The only way to build an opt-in, targeted, clean email list is to do it yourself.

Reason #3: Renting an email list is as shady as it sounds. 

While there are a lot of companies using email to promote their partners ethically and responsibly, there are also a lot of companies renting their email lists to third parties. How do rental lists work? Companies sell the opportunity to send an email to their email list. Sounds shady, right? That’s because it is. If someone opts-in for an email from one company, do you really think they are consciously opting in to receive emails from some other company? No chance.

Reason #4: An email list has no value in itself.

Unless you’re merging email lists with a partner or acquiring a new company (send a reengagement opt-in campaign), buying a valuable email list is impossible. A good email list is so freaking valuable that nobody in their right mind would sell it and jeopardize destroying those hard-earned relationships. Think about it. An email list is only as valuable as the attention of the people on it and the relationship you have with those people.

Reason #5: People on purchased lists don’t know you.

The email addresses on a purchased list are connected to real people who are not expecting any communication from you and have no idea who you are. Even if your list is full of real people, imagine how annoyed they will be when they receive your email completely out of the blue. Not exactly a warm introduction to your company…

Reason #6: Sending emails to purchased lists will crush your Sender Score. 

A Sender Score is your IP address reputation indicator. Every IP address, or email source, receives a numerical rating Sender Score on a scale of 0-100. This number, determined by a complex algorithm, is based on a variety of inputs including deliverability & spam reports.

SenderScore

Purchased lists are usually very high in bounce rate & spam reports and can crush your Sender Score. Not only will a lower Sender Score limit your ability to get emails into your recipients’ inboxes, it will also prevent you from working with a reputable ESP.

Reason #7: Any reputable ESP will kick you to the curb.

If you use reputable email marketing software or plan to eventually, you cannot use purchased email lists. Here at ExpressPigeon, we do not allow customers to use purchased, rented, or third party lists of any kind. We have no problem saying goodbye to paying customers that abuse our Terms of Service.

In fact, our fine to spammers is $1,000 or 60x a monthly plan, whichever is greater. We have had instances of fining people and they have fought with us through credit card charge-back system… They lost. And don’t forget that every individual you email has the right to sue you for $16,000.

So you still want to find an ESP that sends emails to purchased lists?

If you do find a shady ESP willing to send spam, you will experience low deliverability rates. There’s a reason why good ESPs won’t send to purchased lists. Maintaining our integrity allows us to stay off blacklists and keeps our IP reputation solid. Any ESP that allows spammers to send cannot possibly maintain a solid deliverability rate.

Reason #8: Purchased lists often contain spam traps. 

Big ISPs recycle email addresses as spam traps, which wind up on purchased lists. The idea is that a dormant email address cannot possibly opt-in for emails so a sender to a spam trap address is sending spam. Many purchased lists contain spam traps, and once you send to them, goodbye. Your ISP may fine you and will likely kick you to the curb and you will completely trash your IP address. You will also wind up on email blacklists, or lists of spammers, all over the web.

Reason #9: Emails to purchased lists rarely make to the inbox.

Even if you’re not on a blacklist (yet), emails to purchased lists have low deliverability rates. Why? Big ISPs like Gmail and Yahoo are getting more and more advanced at tracking behavior of specific IPs and blocking unsolicited email. They block the obvious (penis enlargement emails) and have a few tricks to determine if your email is spam:

  1. How much time does recipient spend viewing email?
  2. Do they scroll down?
  3. Do they enable images?
  4. Other sneaky things.

Once your purchased list emails are marked as spam, don’t expect future emails to make it into an inbox. ISPs will flag you as a spammer, may fine you, and can block you from ever sending again.

Reason #10: You will create a negative conversation about your brand.

Even if you get a miracle list and your emails get delivered, think about the possible negative response from your recipients. Purchased lists are filled with people you don’t know. When they receive an email from your company out of the blue, what do you expect their reaction will be? Social media makes it easier than ever for people to bad mouth your brand. If you think recipients of your cold email will mark as spam or delete silently, think again.

Reason #11: Your company reputation will be crushed.

Think you had a successful run sending to purchased lists? I have bad news for you. Short-term results are possible but the long-term consequences will haunt you. Once your Sender Score nosedives and you find yourself on blacklists, it can take years before you can earn back a good reputation.

It’s clear to see that purchasing email lists is a bad deal. If those eleven reasons weren’t enough for you, let me remind you…. Cold calling and cold emailing is just plain obnoxious.

To sum it up, purchasing email lists is a bad practice. Don’t get stuck in the past and kill your company’s future. So… How can you build an email list the right way?

Build An Opt-In Email List

There are a few steps to follow to build your opt-in list:

  1. Sign up with an email service provider. Often referred to as an ESP, email service providers like ExpressPigeon make it easy for you to design, send, and track emails to your opt-in list.
  2. Create an opt-in list. Using ExpressPigeon, you can easily create a new email list and call it whatever you want. This is the database where emails are collected when new people sign up for your email subscription.
  3. Create an email subscription form. This process takes minutes on ExpressPigeon, and makes it possible for people to sign up for your emails.
  4. Add signup forms to your website and social media pages. Adding signup forms to your website is easy with ExpressPigeon, especially for WordPress users. We also offer a way to add a signup form to your Facebook page. These forms are entry points for interested blog readers or Facebook fans to sign up to receive your future email communications.
  5. Let customers know. Reach out to your existing customers and offer them an opportunity to opt-in to receive emails from you in the future. It’s important to explain what value you will add and why they should sign up. Think about offering existing customers a special deal for joining.

Building an email list of engaged subscribers takes time and work but with an ROI of over 4300%, it’s totally worth it. If you’re looking for more ideas on how to grow your list, stay tuned for a mammoth post on growing your list. Happy marketing! :)

 

About Paul Jorgensen

Paul Jorgensen is the Content Marketing Director at ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

6 Food Fanatics Will Make You Rethink Your Subscription Forms

A strong subscription form can be the difference between a new subscriber and another reader just passing through. It’s never too late to make a few tweaks to your form. We searched to find food fanatics with large followings to see what they do. After all, there’s no better way to generate your own ideas than seeing what the leaders are doing today. Get inspired!

  1. Simple and Informative via Jamie & Kristen at Perfect Supplements
    foodsub1

    Lesson Learned:  Simple ≠ Boring. Simple means picking a few colors that compliment your web page. Simple means varying font sizes enough to catch the eye. It’s the little details that can make a subscription button standout.
  2. Big is Beautiful via Jules at The Stone Soup
    foodsub2
    Lesson Learned:  Don’t be afraid to let your subscription form stand out. What may look obvious to you may be completely hidden to someone else. Don’t be afraid to go big and bold with your subscription button. Using a color that doesn’t quite mesh with the aesthetics of your webpage seems like it would be jarring, but in this case, it works.
  3. Peer Pressure via Michael at Herbivoracious
    foodsub3

    Lesson Learned:
     Showing how many people are already subscribed to a newsletter is a great way to continue to grow your readership. Having a lot of followers tells subscribers they can trust you for quality content. This approach is present on a lot of prominent food fanatic sites. Michael takes it a step further by adding logos from major publications that featured Herbivoracious.
  4. Think Outside The Signup Box via Jenny at Dinner: A Love Storyfoodsub4
    Lesson Learned: Ever considered creating an “ad” for your own newsletter? As an additional opt-in point, it could be worth testing. If you go this route though, make sure that your button is brand consistent to avoid it feeling like a second party advertisement.
  5. Play With Convention via Marcia at Table Hopper
    foodsub5
    Lesson Learned:  That little grey text in the entry box is often overlooked. While most choose to keep this small detail mundane, you can mess with the form to create something original and eye-catching. Turning this section from generic copy into conversational foreplay might just be the push your newsletter needs to get your next subscriber.
  6. Blend via Jennifer at Foodess Foodsub6
    Lesson Learned:  This subscription box blends in with the banner at top of Foodess. It catches the eye right away both through its style and placement. It is one of the first things readers see when visiting the site and it blends perfectly with the rest of the page. Why make viewers go on a treasure hunt for your signup? Show them the gold right away.

Happy marketing! :)

 

About Paul Jorgensen

Paul Jorgensen is the Content Marketing Director at ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

33 Mind Shattering Email Marketing Statistics You Need To Know In 2014

emailroi

We heard the hype in 2013 about the death of email marketing, but we’ve discovered current statistics that support its thriving life. Email is working and working well. Don’t believe me?

Email marketing has an ROI of 4,300%. tweet this

Companies view email marketing as a better ROI than social media, content marketing, PPC, and more. But only 4% of marketers rate their email marketing efforts as “excellent”. Without giving too much away, let’s kick off the new year with 33 email marketing statistics & takeaways you need to know in 2014. Happy marketing! :)

EMAIL MARKETING ROI

  1. Companies view email marketing as a better return on investment than PPC, content marketing, social media, offline direct marketing, affiliate marketing, online display advertising, and mobile marketing. tweet this
  2. Email Marketing has an ROI of 4,300%. tweet this
  3. 66% of in-house marketers rate email as having “excellent” or “good” ROI. tweet this

Takeaway: It’s 2014 and it’s time to take email marketing seriously. Integrate email with your overall marketing mix and consider allocating more resources to email marketing.

GENERAL EMAIL MARKETING

  1. Nearly two thirds of marketers rate their company email as poor or average and less than 4% rate it as “excellent”. tweet this
  2. 91% of consumers check their email at least once a day. tweet this
  3. 56% of businesses say they plan to increase their use of email marketing in 2014. tweet this
  4. 42% of marketers use email service providers for services beyond email broadcasting. This is up 12% from 2010. tweet this
  5. Companies that use an email service provider are more likely to be satisfied with their email marketing than companies who do not. tweet this
  6. Less than half (41%) of companies are using more than half of their email system functionality, which has not improved since last year. tweet this
  7. In addition to broadcast email, measurement & analytics, personalization, automated campaigns, and segmentation are the popular services provided by email service providers that marketers tap into. tweet this
  8. Businesses are looking for deeper integration of email with other business functions. The most common barrier to integrating email with overall business strategies is disconnected systems and technologies. tweet this
  9. Only 8% of companies & agencies have an email marketing team. Email marketing responsibilities usually fall on one person as a part of her wider range of marketing responsibilities. tweet this

Takeaway: Develop an email marketing plan for 2014 that’s fully integrated into your overall marketing mix. Create an email marketing calendar and sign up with an email service provider like ExpressPigeon that allows for integration with your current systems and technologies. Tap into your ESP’s potential by exploring autoresponders, transactional email, custom integration, deep segmentation, and data collection & analysis. Consider developing an automated email campaign so you can do more work upfront and focus on other marketing to-dos in the future. 

MOBILE

  1. Email is the most popular activity on smartphones among users ages 18-44. tweet this
  2. Over half of smartphone users grab their smartphone immediately after waking up. tweet this
  3. 64% of decision-makers read their email via mobile devices. tweet this
  4. The #1 email client for Gmail users is the iPhone’s built-in mail program, with 34% of all Gmail opens. tweet this
  5. 32% of marketers do not have a strategy in place to optimize emails for mobile devices. tweet this.

Takeaway: Mobile is the future of email marketing. Be sure to keep mobile at the center of your email marketing plan for 2014. Begin by signing up for a mobile-friendly email service provider like ExpressPigeon. Make sure links in your emails are directed to responsive pages where readers can continue to engage via mobile. Subject lines are more important than ever. 

SALES

  1. 66% of US online consumers, ages 15 and up made a purchase as a result of email marketing messages. tweet this
  2. Over 70% of mobile purchasing decisions are influenced by promotional emails. tweet this
  3. Over half of businesses achieve over 10% of total sales through email marketing. tweet this

Takeaway: Email marketing is a powerful sales channel. If you’re an e-retailer, consider connecting with our transactional email service and don’t sleep on abandoned cart emails.

SUBJECT LINE

  1. Nearly one third of email recipients open email based on subject line alone. tweet this
  2. Crazy subject lines generate opens but will damage subscriber relationships. If you use a subject line such as “Free booze”, you better actually offer free booze. An exciting subject line that gets someone to open an email but leaves them with nothing special in return can have a negative effect on your business in the long-term. Why would a subscriber open your next email if they no longer trust you? tweet this
  3. Using “Alert” or “News” or “Bulletin” in subject lines significantly boosts open and click-through rates. tweet this
  4. Using “Daily” or “Weekly” in subject lines boosts open and click-through rates whereas “Monthly” hurts open rates and CTRs. tweet this
  5. Using the words “Sale” or “New” or “Video” in subject lines boost open and click-through rates. tweet this

Takeaway: The key to higher opens and click-through rates is consistency (daily or weekly), urgency (alert, news, bulletin), and special offerings (sale, new, video). Don’t get sucked into using crazy subject lines unless they deliver as promised. Run A/B Split Tests for subject lines when sending emails. 

LIST & DELIVERABILITY

  1. Almost half of subscribers are inactive on an email list. tweet this
  2. Over 20% of marketing emails never make it to a subscriber’s inbox. tweet this
  3. Email open rates are noticeably lower on weekends than on weekdays. tweet this
  4. Sending four emails in a month instead of one significantly increases the number of consumers opening more than one email. tweet this
  5. Removing subscribers who have not engaged in over a year instantly increases your deliverability rate by 3 to 5%. tweet this
  6. Less than 1 in 2000 subscribers mark an email as SPAM. tweet this

Takeaway: Clean out your email list every few months and avoid sending on weekends. When selecting email marketing software, make sure deliverability is solid. 

TESTING & OPTIMIZATION

  1. Design & content is the most time-consuming email activity for marketers and it is taking away from spending time on testing & optimization. tweet this
  2. 17% of marketers are not tracking email marketing metrics for their organizations. tweet this

Takeaway: Consider using email marketing tools by ExpressPigeon to spend less time designing and more time on testing & optimization. Technori Founder, Seth Kravitz says, “I used to take about 30 to 45 minutes to prep and send one email and with ExpressPigeon I would say it’s maybe 10 minutes or less.”

SOURCES:

  1. Hubspot. (2013, December 5). 18 Email Marketing Stats That’ll Make You Better at Your Job. Retrieved from http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/email-marketing-stats-list
  2. Econsultancy. (2013, April). Email Marketing Industry Census 2013. Retrieved from http://hosted.adestra.com/adestra/census/Email-Census-2013.pdf
  3. ExactTarget. (2013, August 14). 50 Email Marketing Tips and Stats for 2014. Retrieved from http://www.exacttarget.com/blog/50-email-marketing-tips-and-stats-for-2014/
  4. iContact. (2013). The Small and Midsize Business Email Marketing Survey 2013. Retrieved from http://www.icontact.com/static/pdf/2013-email-marketing-survey.pdf
  5. MarketingProfs. (2013, April 3). 7 in 10 Smartphone Owners Access Facebook via Their Device. Retrieved via http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2013/10459/7-in10-smartphone-owners-access-facebook-via-device
  6. Salesforce. (2013, July 12). 25 Mind Blowing Email Marketing Stats. Retrieved via blogs.salesforce.com/company/2013/07/email-marketing-stats.html
  7. Marketo. (2013). Mobile Email Marketing Tips. Retrieved via http://pages2.marketo.com/mobile-email-marketing.html
  8. Litmus. (2013, August 8). Gmail Opens Drop 18%: Are Tabs to Blame? Retrieved via https://litmus.com/blog/gmail-opens-drop-18-are-tabs-to-blame
  9. Direct Marketing Association. (2013, August 3). Saturday Stat Series: The Influence of Email Marketing Messages. Retrieved via thedma.org/2013/08/03/saturday-stat-series/
  10. Econsultancy. (13 May 2013). More than half of businesses achieve 10% of sales through email marketing. Retrieved via econsultancy.com/blog/62716-more-than-half-of-businesses-achieve-10-of-sales-through-email-marketing
  11. Yesmail Interactive. (2013). Yesmail’s Email Marketing Compass: Consumer Purchase Behavior. Retrieved via www.yesmail.com/resources/whitepaper/yesmail-email-compass-purchase-behavior
  12. Adestra. (2013). 2013 Subject Line Analysis Report. Retrieved via www.adestra.com/resources/downloadable-reports/2013-subject-line-analysis-report/
  13. Econsultancy. (2013, July 31). 22% of marketing emails fail to reach the subscriber’s inbox: report. Retrieved via econsultancy.com/blog/63148-22-of-marketing-emails-fail-to-reach-the-subscriber-s-inbox-report
  14. Econsultancy. (2013, May 9). Six case studies and infographics on the optimal time to send emails. Retrieved via econsultancy.com/blog/62688-six-case-studies-and-infographics-on-the-optimal-time-to-send-emails
  15. Alchemy Worx. (2013, October 24). Debunking the 7 myths of email marketing – infographic. Retrieved via www.alchemyworx.com/emailworx/2013/strategy/subject-lines/debunking-the-7-myths-of-email-marketing-–-infographic/
  16. MECLABS. (2013, February). Marketingsherpa Benchmark Report: 2013 Email Marketing. Retrieved via www.meclabs.com/training/misc/EXCERPT-2013-Email-Marketing-Benchmark-Report.pdf

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About Paul Jorgensen

Paul Jorgensen is the Content Marketing Director at ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

6 Lessons From Moms That Will Make You Rethink Your Welcome Email

We mentioned that there are thousands of different approaches to designing effective welcome emails. We wanted to find and share some great examples from moms doing big things on the Internet. We signed up for hundreds of newsletters from modern moms, hoping to receive awesome welcome emails. We were pleasantly inspired and learned some lessons along the way.

6 Lessons From Modern Moms That Will Transform Your Welcome Email

  1. Get to the point, gracefully. Stacy Makes Cents has one of my absolute favorite welcome emails. She sends a branded custom newsletter and delivers exactly what she promised, with a warm welcome message and the spark to get subscribers excited for future emails.stacey
  2. Be thorough and diverse. Christian Mommy Blogger sends a thorough custom welcome email newsletter to welcome new subscribers into their vibrant blogging community. Want to know more about the newsletter? Want a detailed guide to grow your blog? Want to promote your own blog? Want to join a Twitter party? The CMB welcome email covers this and more, in a clean layout that makes it easy to read.
    cmbphoto
  3. Keep it basic. Some people elect to keep the welcome email extremely simple. Rather than sending a custom newsletter, Deb from Montessori Now sends a basic text email that gets right to the point. You receive links to download free content (as promised) and a simple “thanks”. Just what you were looking for.
    montessori
  4. Be exclusive. Cool Mom Picks gets you excited to join “the coolest group of subscribers on the planet”. They fill you in on what’s to come next and remind you that they will respect your privacy. They give you an option to walk away (but why would you want to) and give you an email address to ensure that you have a way to get in direct contact. This is not just an email newsletter. It’s an exclusive club. You are the newest member and CMP is so happy you’re here.coolkids
  5. Show a sense of community. Nothing is better than feeling the comforting sense of community. Macaroni Kid sends a custom newsletter that has the feel of a personal email, excitedly welcoming you into the “Macaroni Kid family”. The signature from Sara keeps the community feel with a “peace, love and macaroni”. A nice touch to a strong welcome email.
    macaronikid
  6. Offer a special deal. Moxie Jean skips the welcome email altogether by sending you to a welcome landing page after confirming subscription. They offer a time-sensitive discount code that entices subscribers to begin browsing the store immediately. A special deal is a great way to show immediate value (only subscribers get this deal) and encourage a website visit.ecommercemom

About Paul Jorgensen

Paul Jorgensen is the Content Marketing Director at ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.