Building a High-Converting Email List: Strategies for Ecommerce Entrepreneurs (Like You!)
Earlier this week, we told you about the TikTok ban in the state of Montana. This situation troubles us because it serves as an omen that we will see further banning of foreign-owned apps and trouble down the line with your hard-earned social audiences. It’s important now more so than ever before to make a move towards owning your own email list. But it’s definitely easier said than done, otherwise we’d have tons of businesses with excellent email lists that show incredible rates of growth and engagement. That’s not the case, and as we see in the Montana ban, there are many businesses who see most of their brand engagement and transactions on apps that are now catering to smaller businesses like Instagram and TikTok. We don’t discourage using these apps while it makes sense to do so! In fact, that’s why you’re an entrepreneur, because you’re an individual who can appreciate taking advantage of the moment to build your brand.
The good news is that, no matter where you are at with your business on social channels or otherwise, you can improve your list and make it work for you. Even if you haven't started building your email list yet, it's time to hop on board. Why? Because having a robust email list can be the key to conversions. Unlike social media followers, who may only see a small percentage of your content due to algorithms and competition, your email list is a direct line to your audience. Plus, when someone opts in to your email list, they are actively indicating interest and opening themselves up to email solicitation. So, make sure you're providing value and keeping your content relevant to your audience. By cultivating a strong email list, you're opening the door towards building a dependable audience that can be exported and imported across different email platforms, something that you can’t quite do across all social media platforms as easily. You can try to convert your audience to follow you across all channels, and might see some success, but having the customer’s email is one of the most reliable ways to contact your audience directly.
Don’t fret. The goal here isn’t to grow your number astronomically. Of course, it’s nice to see good growth, but we actually want to de-emphasize the quantity of your list for now. That’s because we believe in cultivating quality relationships and maximizing engagement. You would probably want a high engagement rate for a smaller list than a larger list with hardly any engagement. After all, engagement is curiosity, and engagement is sales. We’re not just saying this at Emercify. We’ve seen it for some of our client’s brands: when we have more engaged audiences, we see, on average, over 40% email open rates, and more conversions across the board, too. All this to say, it’s not a bad thing to focus more on the quality and the conversion of the audience that is already existing, while making acquisition of new audiences a secondary priority.
Strategies to try
Leverage social media following and existing audience
Like we mentioned earlier, our advice is not to completely neglect your social following. In fact, you can probably cultivate far better success when you leverage your existing audience across all channels. It can be as simple as offering incentives to your followers for signing up for your email list. Then, you have two channels to reach your audience on and cultivate an understanding of who they are and what their interests might be. By using these channels together, you start to learn more about your audience that allows you to make smarter marketing decisions.
Cultivate your email list content – lean in to exclusivity
This one can feel daunting to entrepreneurs. But… cultivating your content does not necessarily mean creating a whole new slew of content with every email you send out. Now with AI capabilities, it’s much easier to create content that can then be sent out to your email list with little effort, and it helps to build an exclusive experience for your email followers. In the current marketing landscape, it’s all about being able to build the exclusive experience for your audience, and so much of this is being able to maximize efforts in the tools that you use. For example, personalized data and shopping recommendations can easily become a “To Pair with Your Recent Purchase” section in the email. Depending on the service or product you offer, you can also build a tiered experience for your customers. For example, if you offer a mentorship for your customers, you can create marketing emails specifically targeting them, and helping this segment of your audience build an affinity with your brand gives a highly personalized feel that can be customized by the customer quite easily.
Improving landing pages and email solicitation for maximum impact
What good are all of your best efforts if where you are routing your potential audience doesn’t include a clear call-to-action, doesn’t provide value to the customer, and isn’t optimized for a user-friendly experience? This is where testing and gauging your own reaction is useful. Are you piloting a new landing page? Try visiting it yourself in live view mode on your desktop computer and on your phone. Testing a new email sign-up/subscription pop-up? Make sure there aren’t any weird formatting issues by attempting to submit your email first.
While it can vary by brand, more and more people are shopping on their mobile devices, so it’s important to make sure that your work is optimized for a mobile view, and optimized for the browsers that your audience frequently uses (both the audience you have, and the audience you want!)
Don’t be afraid to experiment with social proof & personalized content
Social proof is a surprisingly powerful marketing tool. As it turns out, your audience likely buy from each other just as much as they buy from your marketing efforts. When you can harness the power of both in your marketing strategy? That’s golden for your brand. Social proof doesn’t have to be a daunting task; it can be as simple as including a testimonial from a customer’s review as a highlight in your emails, or including average rating information about specific products, or even your customer service that you provide customers.
We’ve also talked recently about the importance of segmentation, even in the most basic sense. If you segment your audience successfully, that makes your personalization efforts even more effective. Being able to talk to large, but specific, segments of your audience, will only help build your relationship with customers further.
Tips & Tricks
We can’t stress enough how important is to make sure that your email solicitation process is clear to aid in your marketing efforts. Double and triple check that your solicitation pathways work across multiple channels, browsers, and devices to make sure you can capture your audience wherever they come from.
It’s also important to know what your niche is and your specific audience is, especially if you want to create a successful list. How can you entice customers in your niche to join your list if they aren’t convinced that you can actually provide them with value within that niche? Having a good understanding of your target and niche audiences will help you in the long run, and will make sure that every dollar you put into marketing will have maximum impact.
Last but not least, it’s important for you to find a good balance between organic growth and paid growth for your brand. While organic growth might take a little longer to become established and successful, the word-of-mouth and audience-led nature of organic marketing is more sustainable in the long run and speaks to the long-term success of your brand. You’ll see more instant results with paid growth, but depending on your budget, your efforts here could potentially be limited, and you’d want to make sure that your marketing goals are well developed for maximal return on investment. Long story short, there’s a place for both models in your marketing plan, it really depends on you.
In truth, building a successful email list is not for the faint of heart. It takes time, dedication, and being willing to keep learning about your audience to improve your marketing efforts. With a little elbow grease, and realistic expectations, you, too, can build an email list that works for you and brings you closer to your audience. Good luck!