A WordPress plugin brought to you by Search Engine Journal.
It’s alright to admit it. You still devote some amount of time every morning to going through all of your emails. While you could just go and unsubscribe to the spammy emails if you wanted to, old habits die hard. It’s just become a ritual that we all just accept and often times rely on.
Despite the assumption that email marketing is a thing of the past, it still remains the go-to-form of communication within the business word – just not open your inbox for a couple of days and see all of the important messages and the amount of emails that have piled up. And, there are stats to back that claim up. According to the Radicati Group, Business email accounts totaled 929 million mailboxes in 2013. That figure is expected to increase by five percent over the next four years, which would mean that it would reach over 1.1 billion by the end of 2017.
Just because email remains important for the business world, does that mean you should continue to collect email addresses on your blog?
Radicati has some other useful stats, like the fact that there will be around 4.9 billion email accounts by the end of 2017. And, the consumer email accounts’ market share is expected to grow over the next several years. Why? Because more and more people from all over the globe are getting online thanks to smartphones and other mobile devices. In fact, Litmus discovered that “mobile now accounts for the majority of email opens, with a 51% share.” Litmus also found that desktop opens make up 31% of all opens and 61% of webmail users open email on a mobile device. In other words, people (specifically Gmail and Yahoo! users) are checking their email while on the go, while businesses still turn to the good old desktop.
The Benefits of Collecting Email Addresses on Your Blog
However, just because there’s an opportunity to reach more people because of the increase in mobile use, there are several other advantages to collecting email addresses on your blog.
People Have Already Shown Interest
For a person to give you permission to send them emails means that they already have an interest in whatever your blog is doing. Because someone opted-in on your newsletter shows that they are more receptive to your message and interested in what you have to say. That’s a huge perk when they can quickly scroll through their Facebook Newsfeed and skip a TV ad.
Email is Targeted
As we just mentioned, people already have an interest in your message if they agreed to receive your emails, which is another way of saying that you now have a targeted audience. These are the right people to receive your message and you can create lists that further breaks down your subscribers, like by location, gender, marital status, etc. Since you already know this useful information, you can provide them with content that they’ll enjoy or find helpful, which in turn, will make them share this content or make a purchase.
Of course with email you can personalize messages to various demographics. And, because it’s going into someone’s inbox, there’s a more direct connection than that over a social media network, which can establish trust over time. You can use this casual form of communication to ask questions or feedback from your subscribers as well. Because this information isn’t shared publicly, subscribers may feel more comfortable answering questions or leaving feedback as opposed to a social network like Facebook or Twitter.
Email is Transactional
If you’re looking to make a sale, then email just makes sense. It’s been proven, at least according to Forbes, that customers who arrived to your blog or site through email are more likely to shop and spend more. We’re not exactly why this is the case, maybe because you sent an offer, coupon or discount to your email subscribers or that people don’t browse social media outlets to shop. Regardless, that’s a pretty good victory for your business and one that you should take advantage of.
Since most email marketing campaigns come equipped with numerous analytical and tracking tools, you can identify the people who have opened your email(s) and the links that have been clicked. You may even have access to more in-depth analytical information, such as the demographics of your subscribers, if you have more inclusive tools. This information could be used down the road on your next campaign to personalize subscribers and address their wants and needs.
Finally, you don’t have to worry about being marked as spam because you’ll receive a notification whenever someone requests to be removed from your list. This is because of the helpful ‘‘unsubscribe’ button. If allowed, you may want to send one final email asking why that person wanted to be removed for future reference.
Another great benefit of using email marketing is that you can quickly find out the subscribers who have not been opening your messages or responding to any parts of your campaign. Just like testing your social media campaigns, you can then adjust your message so that it will engage potential customers. Whether you use a simple split test or something a bit more detailed, you should be testing items like the subject line, message from name, day of the week, and layout to see what it working and what isn’t.
It Will Reach More People
When you do an email marketing campaign, you are reaching more active account users. In fact, it’s expected that over the next four years there will be more mobile email users than social media users. For example, by 2017, there will be 1,779 million mobile email users worldwide compared to 1,573 million worldwide social media users.
How to Collect Email Addresses
Did we convince you that you should still be collecting email addresses on your blog? Hopefully we did. But, how exactly are you going to get people to not only open, but actually read your email message?
Select Email Marketing Service Provider
First, select an email marketing service provider if you don’t already have one. A decent email marketing service provider can send out emails, track results and construct sign-up forms. More advanced providers have the ability to create behavioral-based emails and split-test auto-responders.
While there are a lot of options out there, here are some of the more favorable industry leaders: MailChimp, Aweber, Campaign Monitor, iContact, Constant Contact, Mad Mimi, Benchmark and GetResponse.
Create and Place Your Op-tin Forums
If you’re using WordPress, your email marketing service provider should supply you with a nifty embed code so you can easily place a forum onto your WordPress site. Having a op-tin forum on your site will convert visitors into subscribers and potential customers. OptionMonster is highly suggested and is compatible with almost all of the major email marketing service providers.
Just keep in mind you need to do some work as well. While OptionMonster has all sorts of great tools, it’s up to you to come up with creative ideas on how to get people to subscribe to your email. You could offer a coupon, discount, free trial to a service, or eBook.
Identify Your Goal
Why are sending people an email? Is it just to thank them for subscribing? Is it to inform them of a new product or service? Are you thanking them for being a subscriber and sending a coupon? Are you just sharing a piece of educational content? Once you’ve identified the purpose of the message of the email, everything else should fall into place.
Grab Their Attention
To get people interested into opening your email, you have to grab their attention. The first place to do that is by having a captivating subject line. This should match your brand’s image, meaning that if you’re lighthearted and witty then the subject line should be the same. If you want to see how effective a subject line is you can do something like a T-test. MailChimp suggests personalized subject with a sense of urgency are very effective. Or, you could view subject line best practices.
And, one friendly reminder. Be certain the subject line matches the rest of the email. You don’t want to anger subscribers if they opened an email promising them a 25% off-discount only to discover it was just an announcement for your latest product or service. Bait and switch tactics don’t really work nowadays.
Make sure that the body of the email is something that your subscribers will find useful, like a discount or an informative list. Whatever the message contains, make sure that it’s of value, compelling, and gets directly to the point.
Also make sure that the message contains an easy to find call-to-action. It could be something like clicking on the link to receive a free eBook by next Friday (or something similar). This gives the subscriber motivation for clicking that really important link.
You also want to make sure that the design is clean and has “Pinterest-worthy” images. People love images, and they love to share images. If you were having an event, maybe create an eye-catching flyer that your subscribers could share on their social media outlets.
Speaking of social media, make sure to include your email marketing campaign with your content marketing strategy. For example, whenever you publish a new piece of content, send out an email. The subject line should be the title of the content and the message should contain a teaser that interests users to click on the link where they can view and digest the content.
Be Mobile Friendly
We’ve thrown a lot of information at you within this article, so in case you have forgotten, more people are opening up their emails through mobile devices. Because of this trend, make sure that the text and images are mobile friendly. And, definitely make sure that your website is responsive as well.
If you don’t think this is a big deal, just remember that 70% of consumers will unsubscribe from an email list if it isn’t attractive on their mobile device.
Best Time To Send Emails
Finally, it wouldn’t hurt to be aware of the best days and times to send out your emails. ConstantContact notes that while Tuesday through Thursday were the traditional favorites, it appears that Monday has become the best day of the week to send out emails.
As for the best time of the day, try to avoid between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., since that is when the most emails are being sent. If you want to stand out in your contacts’ inboxes aim for either 8 – 10 a.m. or 4 – 6 p.m. Keep in mind testing can help you figure out when your subscribers prefer opening emails. Matter of fact, a split test should do the trick.
Email definitely has the potential to be a major asset. It’s been a tried and trusted tactic for marketers and appears to remain a key point of interest. And, we see no reason for that to change for blogs as well.
Do you still collect email addresses on you blog? Have you noticed anything different?
Featured Image: Daniel Schoenen via Shutterstock