The best customer communication channel

Business to customer communication has become more personal than ever. After a huge growth of social media over the last decade, people are able to reach their favorite brands with a few clicks on Facebook or Twitter.

However, email has been shown to be by far the best communication channel with up to 246% ROI compared to other digital channels. Why?

Email is even more personal than social media. By subscribing to your updates, people invite you to their inboxes. They trust you. Through email, you can engage, retain and build relationships with your customers.

Naturally, in order to utilize its benefits, you need to have people interested in receiving email updates from you.

We’ll focus on 5 tactics you can use now to start growing your subscriber list.

TACTIC 1: Double up on content marketing / thought leadership

People are keen to learn. The cumulative knowledge of thought leaders have been spreading through LinkedIn, company blogs and self-published books. Kissmetrics and HubSpot have become widely known in the marketing world for offering high-quality articles and webinars. TrackDuck has grown from zero to 50 inbound leads per day by investing heavily into their blog.

Smart focus on content marketing helped these companies improve SEO rankings and increase the traffic to their website dramatically. That’s the first essential step towards growing a subscriber base. What next?

TACTIC 2: Ask people to sign up… with smart widgets

I know, it might seem like common sense to ask someone to sign up, but often there isn’t a clear, easily found mechanism for a reader to take action.

This is where Smart Sign-Up Widgets come into play. If used improperly, these popups can be annoying. So annoying that they may drive readers away. However, when used intelligently and at the right time, they can do wonders. In fact, companies such as Thrillist, HowDoesShe and Quicksprout grew their subscribers’ lists by leveraging the power of smart widgets on their landing pages.

Get started by checking out Unbounce, LeadPages and Digioh, all of which can do a great job in turning your visitors into subscribers.

Believe it or not, even a simple signup box can increase your number of subscribers significantly. For example, HubSpot increased their subscribers’ base by 128% in just three months by using a single signup box on-site. Note that these tools have inherent testing capabilities, which will also help to optimize for conversions. That brings me to the next point.

TACTIC 3: Optimize for conversions

If you convert 2% of your website visitors into subscribers and improve your website traffic 10x, congratulations. You’ll have ten times more subscribers. However, if you improve your conversion rate to 4% at the same time, your subscriber base will grow 20x.

Where should your CTA buttons be? What’s the best wording?

Testing user behavior on your site is a great way to optimize for conversions. A few great tools that help you display different versions of your website and track user behavior are Optimizely and VWO. The creators of Optimizely helped President Obama optimize his election campaigns in 2008 and 2012 by running simple experiments on his website. This helped him save $60 million and, arguably, prevented him from running out of cash too soon.

You don’t need a fortune to apply the same principles to your business. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

TACTIC 4: Create lead magnets

Collecting someone’s email is a transaction. People treat their private information seriously, so you must provide something of equivocal value for the amount of information you ask. While most of us are used to exchanging emails for great content, the rules are different if you want to ask for more information than just email address.

Whitepapers, guides, case studies and other research related to your field may be offered in exchange for someone’s full name and/or company. At Boomtrain, we published a guide to behavioral personalization to help marketers use data-driven approach to communicate with their customers. “A bunch of guys” (sarcasm) recently published the whole book about Data Science. No matter in what shape or size it comes, the essential rule is the same: always provide value. People want to learn, and this takes me to my last point.

TACTIC 5: Take a course (email1k.com)

AppSumo is a 7-figure business that generates 90% of revenue from its email list. This course promises to show you how to double your email subscriber list in 30 days.

The course is not as time consuming as one may think — you simply sign up and receive easy-to-read emails with actionable tips. Among other things, you’ll find out how to best utilize contests and promotions, how to create a sense of urgency, and how to drive people to take action within your emails. The course landing page itself is a great example of providing value in a trustworthy way while creating a sense of urgency.

On the other hand, you can also try a full inbound marketing course offered by the guys from NinjaOutreach. 12 months of the business is distilled into a 12-week crash course, and you will be guided how to navigate your business through 4 phases: creation, growth, optimization, and scale.

All in all, email has been and still is one of the best ways to engage and retain users. The five tactics mentioned above are essential to building your email list. What tactic have you found the most useful?

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