In a world that becomes more and more aware of email spam, growing your email marketing list and sending out personalized email is as challenging as ever.
Country laws prevent marketers to clutter their recipients’ inboxes and often the simple act of sending a commercial email without the end user’s opt-in is considered unlawful. (That is how it works in my country, Italy, too.)
So you have to make the extra (creative) effort to grow your list while keeping your current subscribers loyal at the same time. (And that can be tough, too! Read what Rand Fishkin of MOZ has to say about it.)
In this post, I will give you 7 ideas to grow your email marketing list without triggering spam filters or getting the law against you.
1. Send Email Outreach Messages, NOT Marketing Messages
Don’t send out unsolicited marketing messages– besides being illegal in many countries, it’s also surefire way to get your efforts in the recipient’s Spam folder or, worse, Trash bin.
If you want to be taken seriously, you need to act like a human being.
Outreach to the recipient, don’t sell them stuff. Be human and generous, don’t ask them to join your list.
Ask recipients if they want to opt-in for a freebie or a special offer, but don’t give the impression that they will have to join a list, too. You can ask them to join your list only after they have received their free good or offer.
Your subscribers should always feel in charge of their presence in your list, never manipulated into it.
2. Leverage Transactional Emails and Support Emails
Transactional emails are all those emails you send out automatically every time a user subscribes or unsubscribes, downloads a freebie, joins a community, and so on.
Support emails are emails you or your team send to users who requested helping a certain area. Automated emails in response to support requests also belong to this type of messages
The marketing power of these emails is often underrated.
I’ll tell you why.
When users receive a transactional email, they are usually in a relaxed state of mind, so they are more receptive of any gentle offers you may want to present to them.
Of course, you should keep the CAN-SPAM Act guidelines in mind, so such offers should appear after the transactional content, possibly in a “P.S.” at the end of the email, which conveys a sense of one-to-one intimacy that is characteristic of a letter.
You can leverage support emails, too, with support-related offers. For example, if you run a list where you share tips and tutorials for using your products and services, by all means add a note to your support emails to direct your users there!
3. Integrate Email Marketing and Social Media
Last year Bosmol.com co-blogger Lavinia Tauro wrote an interesting post about integrating social media with email marketing. I don’t need to repeat what she said (her post is great, by the way!) but I recommend you follow each social medium’s guidelines when it comes to business communications to avoid being flagged as a spammer.
Everything else is creativity on your part. What you really need to have is a knowledge as profound as possible of your audience.
And did you know you can actually turn your Twitter followers into list subscribers? One way to do this is to tweet special content and offers you know your Twitter audience loves, and to make it available by list subscription only (make it easy! Name and email are enough.)
4. Encourage Re-sharing Of Your Emails
Make it easy to your subscribers to re-share the emails you send them, especially when they come with incentives and free goods that may help attract new subscribers.
Simple “Tell a friend!” links or buttons will work, but you could work out something more complex like “Share this free E-book with 5 friends and get an extra bonus Tutorial!”.
You know your audience, so you also know what is more appealing to it and most likely to convert well.
5. Integrate Email Marketing With Other Opt-ins
If you already use other opt-ins on your website — for example, you ask your visitors to follow you on Twitter or fill a form to get a white paper or a coupon code, or even to place a comment on your blog — you can combine them with list opt-in.
An example from a WordPress blog I run:
6. Add Your List to Your Business Card, Not Just Your Website
You already have your business number, email and website address on your business card. Why not add your list address, too?
It is much easier for a prospect to subscribe and see what kind of quality you can offer before they actually hire you. (It’s called evidence of trust.)
7. Make Your Emails Pieces to Keep, Not Throw-Aways
Never go sloppy on the quality of your emails— subscribers may forgive one or two over the course of a year, but if you begin to deliver content of lower and lower quality, you are bound to see your unsubscription rate increase over time and put your list in danger.
Instead, make each email you send out to your list a piece to keep— and to share (see #4 in this post).
They will not just keep your current subscribers… subscribed, but they will also attract referral subscriptions through sharing and more subscribers through word-of mouth.
So growing your email marketing list may not be easy, but it can be done. What are YOUR tips to grow your list?