Email is the only medium that allows businesses to cost-effectively send highly customized content straight to a specific customer. And yet only 30% of email subscribers buy anything from a brand’s weekly emails.
With a statistic like that you have to wonder: Are businesses missing something?
There are endless ways to get more email subscribers. But if you’re focusing more on your number of subscribers than the quality of those emails, you’ll struggle to squeeze even meager returns out of that list.
To get results in email marketing without overspending you have to focus on the quality of your email subscribers first.
Let’s take a look at 7 proven ways to do just that.
1. Define “Quality” Subscribers for Your Business
Quality is a word we like to throw around. We know it’s important. But what does quality really mean?
To develop a plan to get more email subscribers that are high quality, first get really clear on what quality email subscribers looks like.
Regardless of your industry or market, quality email subscribers are the following.
They’re Your Target Customers
It seems obvious. But if you’re not applying strategies that attract the right people, you can end up with a bunch of subscribers that aren’t interested in becoming paying customers — ever.
They have no interest in your brand and never will. They signed up for “the wrong reasons” and they’ll continue to weigh down measurements.
A quality subscriber is a subscriber that you very intentionally targeted with your email lead-generation strategy.
They’ll Engage with You
Because you’ve attracted the right people, it’s easy to engage with them. You understand what’s important to them.
You provide it consistently. You see engagement rates that support the fact that you’re sending the right message to the right people.
They Are Easy to Convert
You’ll attract some email subscribers that are closer to conversion than others. Feeding the content marketing funnel means bringing people into your brand early or a competitor will.
But your time, effort and financial focus are always best allocated to going after the low hanging fruit first. Leaving it on the vine to wither is bad for business.
Quality subscribers will cost less to convert, increasing your ROI on email.
When you have quality subscribers, you’ll understand why email is such a powerful conversion tool.
Will you get the average 4.16% email conversion rate? Or will your conversions be much higher? It all depends on the quality of your email list.
Know Who You’re Attracting
Throughout this article, we’ll discuss putting strategies in place that attract quality subscribers for your business.
But you’ll need analytics in place to ensure you’re on the right path. In the case of email, the numbers will really speak for themselves.
You’ll need to track:
- Bounce Rate (undeliverable)
- Open Rate
- CTR (Click through)
- List Growth Rate in relating to the above 4.
- Sharing/Forwarding rate
- Your overall ROI
If the bounce rate’s going up and the others are going down, you’re not attracting quality email recipients.
You should look at these numbers as a whole. But also look at them for specific campaigns. This helps you understand if the content is the issue rather than attracting the wrong subscribers.
And look at your KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) for each segment or target audience. This helps you understand with which segment you get your greatest return on investment.
Take this information to build an email list that’s even better than it was before.
Let Low-Quality Subscribers Go
Finally, let low-quality subscribers go. They’re not doing you any good. Don’t remove people who are interacting just because they haven’t bought anything.
But do trim the list of people who
- Never open your emails
- Haven’t opened an email in 6 months unless they’ve bought before
- Come back as undeliverable
These people don’t want your emails. They aren’t the quality you’re looking for, so don’t waste your money on them – especially if you have an email platform that charges you by the number of contacts you have or emails you send.
Keeping them just bogs down your numbers. It makes it hard to know how you’re really doing.
Get truer numbers that you can learn from. Improve your email campaigns. Let these people go.
2. Drive Traffic to a Landing Page
The most straightforward and effective way to get more quality subscribers is by directing traffic to a landing page. On this landing page, offer the person something that your target audience will find valuable in exchange for their email.
Getting quality email subscribers to sign up is a matter of knowing what the target audience finds valuable so you can make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Something is valuable when you can’t get it anywhere else. Or you would have to pay to do so.
It’s usually something that offers immediate gratification. It makes your target’s life better in some way. But because you want to attract quality leads, it should be uniquely valuable to your target customer.
Some common items that your target may find valuable include:
- An extensive case study that your target can replicate to be successful (B2B)
- The results of a private study (B2B)
- Well researched eBook with information people can’t get anywhere else. (B2B, sometimes B2C)
- A 20% discount on their first order (B2C)
- Entry for a chance to win a branded item, service, upgrade, shopping spree, etc. (B2B or B2C)
- Downloadable trial or free app (Both)
- Fun and informative quiz that requires email to get the results (Both)
What you offer doesn’t have to be expensive. Some target audiences will sign up for something worth as little as $10. Some B2B audiences may need a bit more encouragement.
Not all valuable content will help you get quality email subscribers. Items that attract just anyone to sign up could blow your list up fast. But 50%-75% of those new subscribers will not be quality ones.
Some examples of things you should generally avoid include:
- Popular electronics like iPhones
- A trip that would appeal to anyone
- Information that is readily available online
Now let’s look at how to drive people to this valuable content.
Social Media (“free”)
Use social media’s “free” side to share with your followers about this valuable offer. That’s “free” in quotations because it still costs time or money to manage the social media profile.
Create compelling social media headlines using proven formulas like:
Use odd numbers. They statistically earn more clicks.
State a common challenge. Your offer is the solution.
“Can’t get traffic to your blog? We increased our traffic 900% in 9 days with this simple technique.”
Get people curious.
“Want to know why you’re losing Instagram followers? This “P” word may be the answer.
Give it some prestige.
“We asked 11 top fashion experts what will be hot this fall. This is what they told us.”
Make it seem exclusive.
“Your competitor hopes you never learn how to do this on social media.”
Be candid. Some direct promotion is okay on regular social media as long as it’s not the norm.
“This is how to save 20% off your next order.”
Couple your post with a great image or video to drive traffic back to your landing page.
Social Media (paid)
Paid social media can help you grow your list faster with more quality leads. It allows you to very specifically target certain groups of people based upon things like:
- Buying behavior
When you align your ad carefully with your targeting choices, it’s hard to attract the wrong people.
Generating email subscribers through social media ads is actually one of the best ways you can spend your money on social media ads.
73% of marketers consider email to be the core of their marketing efforts. A quality subscriber list will generate more conversions than social media and search combined.
But before you spend money to grow your list, it’s wise to take some time to develop a strategy and learn how to effectively run social media ads.
One of the greatest things about social media advertising is how easy it is to scale. You can test ads among small groups. Determine which performs best with a given target.
Stop the less successful ads. Then increase your daily spend on the successful ad.
Create a Winning Landing Page
Your landing page is where you actually capture the email address to earn that new subscriber.
It should very closely align with the ad or post that led the person here. The most effective landing pages follow a series of best practices.
- Remove the menu. You don’t want anything distracting the person.
- Keep it short. Focus only on the offer.
- Have a clearly visible CTA under your lead-capture form. Make it a large button.
- Have descriptive CTA. Get the Book, Enter to Win, Start Saving Now, etc. earn more sign-ups than something generic like… Subscribe, Submit, Sign up.
3. Provide Social Proof
Like attracts like. Quality customers help you attract quality customers.
When people hear from people like them that you offer quality products or services, they feel more comfortable sharing their information.
It provides evidence that you’re not all talk. You can actually do what you say. You can be trusted.
Treat your reviews like the assets they are. Put them to work for you.
Strategically showcase testimonials that are highly relevant to a page.
Is the page targeting construction companies? The testimonial should be from a construction company.
Is the review about how your superb social media management skills tripled a company’s revenues? It should appear on a page about social media management.
How to Increase Social Proof for Your Business
There are many ways to show that people like your future quality email subscriber appreciate your brand.
- Displaying social media follower counters if it’s impressive
- Displaying like and share counters if impressive
- Produce a video testimonial to share on social media. Include a CTA that leads back to a landing page.
- Display recognizable client logos prominently
- Display prestigious publications or businesses you’ve provided professional content for
- Display certifications that matter to customers.
Be careful not to overdo it. Too many testimonials or other social proof can seem obnoxious.
Be selective and strategic. Show your target that people just like them approve.
4. Create More Relevant Content
You don’t have just one target audience. Your brand likely has several. Hopefully, you’ve created some written buyer personas to represent each type of person in your target audience.
It could be an ad. It could be a blog, a video or email copy.
If you try to speak to everyone, you end up not connecting to anyone. To get past casual brand awareness where someone actually considers signing up for your email list, you have to make this connection.
You do this by creating more relevant content both before they sign up and after they become a subscriber.
What makes content very relevant?
- It’s relatable to the person (Challenges, way of life, experiences, way of speaking, etc).
- It comes at the right time.
You become more relatable through segmentation. You send the message at the right time through automation.
Segmentation allows you to create more personalized content. This a data-driven strategy that your customers love.
What the People Want
According to a recent Salesforce survey,
58% of people say that a personalized experience is very important.
62% of people think it’s acceptable that companies send them offers based on previous purchases.
52% say they’re somewhat likely to abandon a brand that doesn’t personalize content.
And 52% say they will gladly give you more data if you use it to better personalize their experience.
77% of people say that email is the desired method to receive communications from a company.
Reaction to Companies that Don’t Segment
Research by marketing firm, Campaigner, found that companies that don’t segment get the following negative results:
60% of subscribers delete the email without even looking at the subject line.
23% mark emails as spam.
The Good News
The Direct Marketing Association found the following when they did an extensive study on segmentation.
The average ROI on segmented email was $44 for every $1 spent.
The marketing gurus over at Hubspot found that segmentation increased CTR by 12%. In marketing terms a 12% increase on any KPI is sensational.
These findings are supported by studies performed by other reputable research firms.
How to Segment
You’ll start by gathering data about your existing customers whenever possible. If you don’t have a respectable number of customers to work with, you may be drawing on industry data.
Then refine your segmentation as you learn more about customers.
You may think you know your customers well. But having more comprehensive data may cause you to rethink some of it.
You may be making assumptions based upon a very small but vocal sub-section of your customer base.
Data helps eliminate that bias.
Gather the Data
Gather this data from:
- Digital analytical tools
- Your sales team
- Customer service team
- Customer management software
- Industry research & trends
The more data-based your segmentation the more effective it will be.
Ask the Right Questions
You can segment in thousands of ways. But don’t get discouraged. Think about what’s most important. Start there. Then you increase segmentation later.
Some common ways to segment include:
- Job Position
- Company size
- Past behaviors
Sub-segmenting your segments can help you become even more relevant. For example.
You have plumbers who have purchased a new drain camera this year and those who haven’t. You have small business plumbers and those who work for large national brands.
But don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Create More Meaningful Content
Now you can speak more directly to each target about what matters to them without distracting them with irrelevant content.
If you’re already struggling to create relevant content that goes out to everyone, you may find this a challenge to overcome.
Much of your content can be re-purposed to reach a different segment, reducing the expense of creating unique content for each segment.
But be really careful not to give your secret away by accidentally leaving a reference to another segment.
Any way you slice it, segmentation is labor intensive. Without the right tools and systems in place you can waste hundreds of hours doing monotonous tasks that should take minutes.
The learning curve is enormous. It’s often hard to justify the cost of software you need to work efficiently on a small business marketing budget. It could cost you tens of thousands of dollars a year.
The most cost-effective way to segment is working with a digital marketing company that already has the systems down and experienced people in place to get the job done with less waste.
Because these companies have many clients to spread the cost out, they can afford spending the money on the best software that streamlines everything.
The second major component of relevance is timing.
What would happen if someone signs up for your email list because you promised them a free eBook. You then wait until the next day or even a week to send the book. Very likely, they’ll unsubscribe before you get the chance.
Automation allows to you easily and consistently send the right emails to the right segments or individuals at the right times.
It also allows you to automatically enter very personalized content into the email like a person’s name, recent searches or a special message.
These emails are created in advance. They’re ready to go when something happens. That something could be:
- Becoming an email subscriber
- Watching a video
- Abandoning a cart
- Buying something
- Asking a question
- Filing a complaint
- Writing a review
Event-triggered emails have extraordinarily high open rates, often over 50-75%. Play your cards right. Use the prime real estate to:
- Delight a customer
- Make a sale that was aborted
- Avoid a bad review
- Re-engage someone who became distracted
Over 75% of email revenues can be attributed to event-triggered emails. If you’re not using them, identify the barriers preventing it. If you are and they’re not extreme revenue generators for you, it’s time to look at what you can do better. That often goes back to segmentation.
Automating Your Publishing Schedule
Do you ever wish you just had someone else to manage all of your email for you? Automation is like the virtual assistant you never had. You set up the rules, schedules and groups.
Automation software does the rest, no hand-holding required. Automation tools today are smart. You can show them where to go to retrieve relevant information on a regular basis. They can insert it seamlessly into the emails and then send the emails to the right people.
Want to share your latest blogs without having to go through and insert images and summaries into the email? Automation can handle that.
Want to remind a person of the items they were considering as part of your next newsletter? Automation does that.
Automation takes the monotony out of managing email. It allows you to be seamlessly consistent and highly relevant. But like segmentation it’s must more cost-effective when you work with a company that has the tools and expertise already in place.
Both segmentation and automation are no longer optional. Leading marketers agree that segmentation and automation tools are among the most important tools in their toolboxes.
5. Show Your Expertise
Demonstrating your expertise on a non-competitor website that shares your target customers is a great way to get more quality email subscribers.
Find opportunities to network with websites in your industry or your community. Use this opportunity to impress with your expertise. Welcome people to subscribe to your email list.
Work out all of the details first to avoid creating free content for a website that won’t allow this subtle promotion. See if they’ll also allow you to link to your website in the content. That will help you boost your SEO at the same time.
Sometimes getting more quality email subscribers is about finding new and better places to reach your target customers.
6. Turn Your Blog into a Lead-Generating Machine
Blogs are most effective as a brand awareness tool. They’re very broad in nature so they cast a wide net. Once they bring in this broad audience, it’s time to turn visitors into subscribers so that you can send the more relevant content through email.
Use your blog like a sales funnel. As people read through your amazing content, offer them something in exchange for becoming email subscribers.
Use a simple form. Or apply the same landing page principles we discussed in the social media section above.
7. Turn Subscribers into Promoters
Finally, if you want more quality email subscribers put your existing subscribers to work. Turn them into your biggest promoters. Share content that people want to share with others. Make it easy for them to share it with social media buttons.
Use automated email to solicit reviews from customers. Reach out to customers who have negatively mentioned your brand before they leave a review. See if you can resolve the issue.
Delight email subscribers with how well you know them. They’ll tell their friends and co-workers.
Stay top of mind so that people remember to refer you to a friend.
A Texas Tech study found that 89% of people say they’ll refer your business to a friend after a good experience. Only 29% actually do.
Why Are Referred Email Subscribers Higher Quality?
The numbers again speak volumes.
Referred email subscribers have a 16% higher CLV (customer lifetime value) than non-referred subscribers. They’re 4X more likely to buy in general.
A staggering 84% of B2B buying decisions came about because of a referral.
Every customer who refers you to someone will, on average, refer you to 3 people. Those are 3 new quality email subscribers.
Creating an email marketing strategy that encourages people to share your emails with others makes sense.
Get More for Less When You Focus on Quality
The quality of your email list determines how difficult it will be to generate revenues from those subscribers. We’ve discussed proven ways to achieve that quality.
Get more out of your email marketing budget with proven tools, techniques and expertise. We can help you grow your business through email. Contact us today to learn more.