In the world of email marketing, success always begins with a robust subscriber database. In the early days of email marketing robust purely meant quantity – get lots of subscribers, blanket them with generic messages and hope enough of them take action. Today’s robust email database relies on quality. You should be communicating with people who like your brand, want to hear from you and are likely to take action.

Let’s take a look at some of the fundamentals behind growing a highly engaged and valuable email database.

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Your Brand: The gateway to database growth.

Before anyone will give you permission to send them marketing emails, they have to feel connected to your brand and what you do. To develop these connections your brand must be in some way memorable, different or likeable.

Consider the following:

Tell your brand story

Your story gives your brand an identity and should demonstrate why you exist and what your values are. It gives context to what you do and the value that customers can expect from dealing with you. To form deep connections your story should place your customers and their journey with you at the centre, nurturing a sense of trust and belonging.

Solve problems

If your product or service solves a commonly identified problem in a new or innovative way, then people are highly likely to connect with what you’re doing. If this is the case, communicate the problem solving value of your offering clearly and simply. People will be quick to connect with your brand if you tell a compelling story and explicitly outline your value.

 

Get on board with customer journeys.

Building an email database filled with the right subscribers requires a solid understanding of your customers and the journey they are on. You should be able to clearly identify your audience, their goals and the ways in which they become aware of your brand and begin dealing with you. This core audience is your bread and butter so be sure to speak directly to them rather than watering down your message for mass appeal.

Once you have a clear picture of the customer journey you should be able identify the key moments at which your audience is most engaged with your brand. Submitting an enquiry, downloading a resource or completing a transaction are all great examples of such interactions. Think about how your marketing messages and content can make the most of these moments and create opportunities for email data collection. By aligning yourself with the customer experience you do away with hard sell, invasive messaging. This makes customers more comfortable about sharing their data, helping you to grow a robust and engaged database of subscribers.

 

Understand permission and don’t abuse it.

Permission is the absolute cornerstone of effective email marketing. Without it, your efforts are at best wasted and at worst, nothing more than spam (and quite possibly against the law). When your subscribers choose to hear from you, they’re entering into a relationship with your brand, giving you an open door into their world. The permission relationship is what separates email from other forms of marketing and should be valued and respected at all costs.  

From the beginning, clearly set expectations by informing potential and new subscribers of the type and frequency of communications you’ll be sending them. Once these expectations are set, stick to them. If you exceed the volume of communication promised, or send irrelevant messages you risk damaging not only your email database, but your brand reputation as well. Remember – you’re marketing to real humans, not numbers.

 

Be generous. Offer incentives for permission.

At its core, the process of gaining permission is a value exchange that requires you to deliver something in return for subscriber data. Start thinking about what you can offer in exchange for permission that will really appeal to your audience. Developing these attractive offers (sometimes referred to as lead magnets) is where the understanding of your audience and their journey comes in handy.

Your lead magnets should align closely with the journey your audience is on and help them to achieve their goals. The more relevant the offer, the more likely they will be to sign up. Choosing the best lead magnets for your brand will of course depend on your industry and product but when executed well, can exponentially grow a robust subscriber database.

Here are some examples of lead magnets that everyone loves:

  • Discount codes and vouchers
  • eBooks and whitepapers
  • Tools and resources
  • Obligation free quotes/ health checks

To learn more about growing a healthy, robust email database this year get in touch.

Chris Strutt

About Chris Strutt

For me, the customer experience is everything. The way a customer discovers your brand and the interactions they have with you along the way are the most valuable opportunities in marketing. Create a fantastic experience and you’ll have customers for life! My passions lie in exploring customer journeys with brands and uncovering opportunities to generate value while also optimising experiences. Striking this balance is motivated by the idea that a customer is for life. Great marketing works interactively with the customer through their lifetime, solving their problems and meeting needs along the way. When I’m not rocking out lifecycle marketing strategies, you’ll find me hanging out at cafes and record stores or playing guitar somewhere - always geeking out about the intricacies of music past, present and future. Otherwise, I’ll be pottering around in my garden attempting to grow some veggies!