Collecting opted-in, permission based contact data is a corner stone of successful email marketing – whether your target audience is consumer or B2B.
Here we focus on key techniques and devices for building your database by adding quality, opted-in names to maximise your campaign response rates.
Customer touch points
Your first step is to map the key 'touch points' at which your prospects come into contact with your organisation.
Each of these touch points is a potential opportunity for you to capture new opted-in contacts by inviting them to sign up to your email newsletter or to download some free information or special offer voucher for example.
Key touch points are likely to include:
* Website homepage
* Website content pages
* Your email campaigns, newsletter and daily communications
Collecting new contacts by signing prospects and customers up to a regular e-newsletter has several advantages.
* Your contacts have actively opted-in to regular email communications from you
* Your newsletter provides you with an opportunity to keep the relationship with your contacts warm and fresh
* The newsletter enables you deliver added value to your contacts
* The newsletter provides further opportunities for database building, through viral messages
Your website homepage – the engine room of your database building
The newsletter sign up feature on your website homepage can be the most effective way of building your database by converting anonymous website visitors into opted-in contacts.
Getting website visitors to signup to a newsletter takes more than just a form.
To maximise the number of newsletter signups, marketers need to spell out the benefits of subscribing and make this call to action a 'no brainer'.
The web signup option should be highly visible, easy to complete, sell the benefits of registering, and collect enough relevant details to enable some initial targeting – without causing visitors to abandon the form.
Marketers who get the balance of these factors right can see their homepage become the engine room for building their email marketing database.
Tips and guidance
1. Place your signup link in a prominent position on your homepage, above the fold and easy to find
2. Take the fear out of the signup by making it clear how personal data will be used and emphasising the ability to opt-out at any time
3. List the benefits of signing up and spell out the added-value content that your newsletter delivers, and promise special treatment e.g. special offers, 'first look' at new stock etc.
4. If possible, offer a choice of newsletters to suit your different audience groups
5. Show samples of previous newsletter issues
6. Where possible, let recipients know how frequently they can expect to receive their newsletter
7. Look to capture details such as gender, or interests, to help you segment and target your initial messages
8. Consider using 'double opt-in' whereby the contact is required to validate their email address by clicking a link in a validation email you have sent to them
9. Send a non-commercial, 'welcome email' as your first message, to help establish and build trust and engagement
Your signup form
Signing up to your newsletter should be a quick and straightforward process.
Make sure you ask for basic contact information that can be used for future targeting and personalisation.
If your businesses uses an ecommerce solution, don't rely on user registration to drive data capture. Include a prominent newsletter link.
Experiment with your signup form by testing out alternative copy, signup incentives and capturing different amounts of personal data.
If collecting personal details impacts your signup rate try collecting this in an initial welcome email to new subscribers, or in a follow-up form after registration.
Forwarding to a friend
With every email you send you have the opportunity to expand your subscriber base by encouraging your recipients to pass the message on to friends and colleagues.
Best practice guidance
Include a visible and prominent 'forward to friend' link in your email campaigns
Don't rely on recipients using their email client's 'forward' button as this may create rendering problems, and you can't accurately track who received it and what interested them
Ensure the forwarded email has a 'friendly from' of the referring friend. Otherwise it may appear to the referee to be spam
Ensure the forwarded email contains a 'referring message' e.g. "Kate thought you might like to see this email"
Test to make sure your forwarded emails render correctly in all relevant email clients
Make sure you include a 'sign up' link on your email so 'friends of friends' can complete a form and be added to your permission database.
Your email campaign and message need to be both relevant and compelling in order maximise the number of forwards.
Tailor your message and offer so it is something recipients cannot resist sharing.