It’s easy to pooh-pooh email as a marketing tool. We’re all bombarded with marketing emails from companies we bought from once years ago, and all of their messaging ends up in our junk mail folder.
Why even bother putting effort into something your customers will ignore? Maybe, you think, you should just focus all your resources on other types of marketing.
You would be unwise to do so.
The largest and most influential generation of consumers today, the Millennials, are big fans of email. A recent survey found that 73% of the members of this generation prefer that businesses contact them via email.
And business professionals are big fans as well, with 80% saying that email marketing improves customer retention.
Email list management is an underrated tool in the small business arsenal. It’s an essential part of an integrated marketing strategy that you can’t afford to do without. So let’s talk about what email capture is, and how to put it to work for your business.
Overview: What is email capture?
Email capture refers to the business practice of collecting email addresses of potential customers in order to eventually turn them into paying customers.
Email capture takes a number of forms, and can include tactics such as getting people to sign up in exchange for a newsletter or a discount, asking for it with a pop-up, requesting it when the user attempts to access more content, or requesting referrals from current customers.
Email capture is a vital element of digital marketing campaigns, and key to growing a business by expanding the customer base.
3 benefits of capturing emails for your small business
If you’ve done well focusing on other types of marketing and advertising, you may wonder why capturing emails should become a part of your business strategy. Here are three key benefits of email marketing that show why this important way of connecting with your customers should not be ignored.
1. It provides a direct pipeline to potential customers
Unlike ads, email provides a direct line of communication with potential customers. When they are reading your email, you have their full attention.
You can be certain you are reaching out to the same individuals repeatedly, while you can never be certain your ads are actually being seen. This allows you to build a relationship with your audience and increase the likelihood that they will buy from you in the future.
2. You can narrow your messaging
Ads can be targeted, but only to a certain degree. You ultimately don't know what kind of messaging your customer has been exposed to, so it's hard to tailor your message to them.
With emails, you can control and narrow your messaging to move them through the email marketing funnel toward a place of greater trust in your brand — and therefore a greater likelihood to buy.
You'll also know more about their activities and buying habits, and be better able to group them into increasingly narrow categories. Therefore, you will know the exact right time to offer your product and how to make that offer most attractive.
3. You can grow and develop your list
Your email list belongs to you, and it's something you can build on over time. You can use it to expand and find other emails through referrals, and continue to learn more about your customers.
As a result, you’ll be able to adjust your messaging — and maybe your offerings — to better fit them. It is a tool to maximize your success as a business in every conceivable manner.
7 ways to capture email leads and increase conversions
OK, I’ve convinced you that your email list deserves some attention. But how do you capture those leads? Here are a few surefire strategies to boost your email capture and increase conversions as a result.
1. Use pop-ups
An email pop-up ad can sometimes be obtrusive and annoying to website visitors, but you can place them carefully in order to avoid that.
And it works, because it asks visitors directly for an email in exchange for something they might value, like a discount or more content. Instead of having the email capture form pop up immediately when visitors arrive at your site, have it appear at the end of an article.
This is less likely to annoy an individual who just wants to read some content first.
2. Implement floating ads
A floating ad can sit in the corner of your lead capture page without bothering the reader, while always being in their field of vision as they read through a piece of content or peruse your products.
If the customer gets a hankering to get more involved in your company, that floating ad is right there, ready to accept an email address should the customer be so inclined.
3. Utilize discounts and exclusives
Whatever you’re selling, discounts and exclusives are arguably the best ways to collect emails. A visitor who is shopping on your site is more likely to provide their email address if they can get 20% off their order, free shipping, or an additional item for free.
Exclusives like access to a product before launch or a sneak peak might also be enough to secure an email address.
4. Offer a newsletter
An e-newsletters is a great way to connect with your customers. That is, as long as you put effort into it. Make sure you provide useful content and exclusive deals that give people a reason to open it rather than sending it to the spam folder.
Attach a newsletter sign-up invitation to each piece of content you post or each deal you offer, and include calls to action, such as: "For more great deals like this, subscribe to our newsletter for free."
5. Require an email for more content
Offer two tiers of content — the "free" content that gets the visitor in the door, and the "premium" content that is still available to them for free — provided they give their email address to you.
For example, if you post an entry-level piece of content like "Top 5 Ways to Supercharge Your Website Traffic," offer a PDF download in the middle of the article that offers a step-by-step guide detailing advanced ways to improve traffic — which they can download if they provide an email.
6. Master your timing
Regardless of your tactic to collect emails, you must deploy it at the right time. Are your visitors more likely to provide their email in exchange for a discount when they first visit your website, or after they have put items in their cart?
If you know the answer, you will know when and where to ask your customer for email info to maximize your chances at success. This information is hidden in the data your website holds on customer activity. Evaluate this info carefully to hone your approach.
7. Ask for referrals
If your customers love you and your products, why not just ask them for referrals? Send out an email to your list inviting them to refer a friend or relative to try your product or service, and offer both the referrer and the new potential customer some kind of reward.
You could even make a regular event of it, offering something truly special once every quarter and announcing it with a bold “referral-palooza” email campaign.
Software can boost your email captures
Software offers powerful email capture tools to help you expand your customer list. The Blueprint has reviewed the top email marketing software platforms, so check out a few reviews and highlight two or three that appear best suited to helping you build an email list and an email marketing campaign.
Then, try them out and select one that you can build your future marketing efforts around.