Your email list is kind of a big deal. The increased use of ad blockers, spam filters, and an overall increase in marketing messages all the time on every device means communicating with customers and prospects is becoming more difficult. One solution to combat this challenge is to make building a quality email list an important part of your marketing strategy. Here’s how we grew our email list to 35,000 using giveaways.
There are plenty of great ways to build your email list, and depending on your business goals and marketing strategy, there are likely several methods that will work great for your business. A few examples:
- Create a lot of quality content on your blog? Put a subscription link on your blog and/or website.
- Create an interactive piece of content that is valuable to the types of customers you’re looking for.
- Write an eBook that the types of customers you want will find valuable. In our case, we wrote an eBook on running a successful giveaway.
- Or, you can run a giveaway :)
How we used giveaways to grow our email list
You can see in the chart below that running giveaways has helped us grow our list from zero to 35,000.
Here’s how we did it.
Create an email plan
An email list of any size has no value if it’s not used effectively. Before you collect your first email address, put together a plan for how you’ll use an email list to reach your business goals. On a high level, a plan might be visualized something like this plan we put together for emails collected through giveaways along with content we offer:
This plan should include adding analytics UTM tracking tags for all links in emails sent and having conversions (and conversion value!) set up in whatever web analytics software you use. This will let you calculate how many conversions and how much revenue is being generated from your email campaign efforts. Here’s an example from one of the tools we use (Google Analytics) that shows metrics for our email channel:
Select an email provider
Email providers have gotten very sophisticated and there are plenty of vendors out there to suit every feature you might need as well as price point. Which vendor is right for you will depend on your individual business needs and budget. Do not, I repeat, do not send marketing emails from your individual personal or business account!
All of our giveaway entries go into a Mailchimp account. Here’s a list of email providers integrated with Rafflecopter.
Now comes the fun part!
Create a giveaway
Step 1 – Choose a Prize
Creating a successful giveaway heavily depends on selecting the right prize. It’s important to choose a prize that is relevant to your prospective audience plus has a high enough value to generate interest and demand.
Step 2 – Choose Entry Options
Let’s cover the obvious first :) An email entry option let’s you add the entrants’ email addresses to your mailing list automatically. The entry will look something like this:
In our case, every entrant’s email address for this option is sent to our Mailchimp account plus an explicit opt-in by the subscriber is handled right on the entry option.
Anytime we talk about email it’s worth mentioning the CAN-SPAM act (or whatever digital communication laws are applicable for your country). The bottom line is you want to be awesome at customer communications and abiding by the digital communications law in your country should be the absolute minimum thing you do.
In addition to an email entry option, it’s worth considering other entry types to help increase the effectiveness of your giveaway.
Tweet a message: If Twitter is a channel your customers and prospects are on, consider including an entry option to tweet a message. This is a great way to increase exposure for your giveaway by getting it in front of your entrants followers. For maximum awesomeness include hashtags.
Follow on Twitter or Pinterest: This option can be a stepping stone for entrants who maybe aren’t ready to join your email list. A strong following on social media can be a great way to grow your email list by sharing content that’s valuable to your followers, and occasionally tweeting about your list.
Include a Refer-A-Friend option: Another way to take advantage of your entrants social circles in addition to tweeting a message is to include a refer-a-friend option. This option incentivizes entrants to share your giveaway by receiving additional entries when additional people enter the giveaway through their unique URL.
Building an email list isn’t a one time event. It’s a process that takes time and requires work which is why having a consistent focus will yield benefits over the long term. We’ve been running giveaways as a part of our email list building strategy for a few years and that’s a major factor in the success we’ve experienced growing our list.
Building an email list doesn’t do you much good if as many people are unsubscribing as are subscribing. Your job isn’t done once someone signs up for your email list. There also needs to be a constant focus on sending high quality content to the list.
We’ve put together a blog post on how to be awesome at customer communications. The highlights are:
Know who you’re talking to: Take the time to really understand who your customers and prospects are.
Send the right content: Once you know who you’re talking to, this should help you determine the right content to send.
At the right time: Website visitors arrive at your site during different stages in their relationship with you, so treat them that way in when you deliver messages to them.
To the right place: While email is the primary channel most companies use to communicate with their customers and prospects, it’s worth considering if other channels are appropriate for your business.
Give people a choice: Let your customers and prospects determine how frequently you communicate with them.
Now it’s your turn. Have you used a giveaway to build your email list? What challenges did you have? What success did you experience? Let us know in the comments below!