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While social media channels now play a critical role in digital marketing, email is still a reliable way to attract leads and keep them engaged with your brand. Building your email list is one of the most reliable methods of generating sustainable traffic and sales over the long term.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the most effective strategies for growing your email audience while focusing on high-quality leads that are primed for conversion. With a few simple tips, you can update your email marketing practices for 2021 and develop an email presence that stands out from the competition.

1. Utilize exit-intent pop-ups

Marketers often avoid pop-ups due to their reputation for being intrusive and distracting, but a well-placed exit-intent pop-up can have a significant impact on your subscriptions. Unlike conventional pop-ups, exit-intent pop-ups are designed to appear when a user takes an action indicating that they’re about to leave your site. If their cursor moves off the edge of the page, for example, they may be clicking on the exit button.

Exit-intent pop-upExit-intent pop-ups offer two main advantages: first, they won’t display unless they need to, so they won’t distract a user who’s already interested in something on your site. Second, they’ll appear just before a user leaves, giving them a chance to reconsider and potentially increasing the average visit length. Given how easy they are to implement, exit-intent pop-ups are an incredibly powerful tool for digital marketers in 2021.

2. Offer a lead magnet

Most internet users already receive far more emails than they can read, so they tend to be skeptical of adding even more newsletters to their inbox. If you want to generate more subscriptions, you’ll need to convince leads that providing their contact information is worth the potential benefit.

Lead magnets are designed to catch your audience’s attention and motivate them to join your email list. A lead magnet could be anything from a PDF or ebook to a raffle draw or entrance into a private Facebook group—anything that leads will consider valuable. Even if your lead magnet is somewhat costly to develop, it will still be a worthwhile investment as long as it can attract new subscribers.

Lead magnetIn general, lead magnets are most effective when they have a direct relationship to the brand’s products or values. If you sell bikes, for example, you should offer a lead magnet that people who are interested in bikes will care about. This strategy turns your email list into a self-selecting group—in other words, users who cared about the lead magnet will also be far more likely to take a look at your products.

3. Improve your email deliverability

Unfortunately, your email marketing skills won’t lead to much if your messages don’t make it to their intended recipients. There are a few reliable ways to optimize your email deliverability and ensure that the email to be delivered actually makes it to the inbox.

Retaining inactive subscribers is one of the most common factors behind a poor delivery rate. If you leave users on your list after they stop responding to or even opening your emails, they will simply bring down your performance metrics and decrease your email deliverability over time.

With that in mind, you should make an effort to bring back inactive leads or delete them entirely if they don’t show any signs of re-engaging. While you’ll lose a small percentage of sales on inactive users who would have re-engaged eventually, continually sending them messages isn’t worth the potential loss in deliverability.

Frequency exampleGiving subscribers more control over their experience is another powerful tactic to consider if you’re struggling with deliverability. Email marketers often assume that sending more messages will lead to better results, but you’ll usually end up overwhelming your audience and distracting them with content that they don’t find relevant.

Instead, let your users decide how often they want to receive your emails and which types of content they’re more interested in. Along with allowing them to choose during the sign-up process, include a clear link to their account settings in each marketing message.

If they ever feel like they’re receiving emails too often, or they’re no longer interested in a particular type of message, they’ll just reconfigure their settings instead of unsubscribing or simply ignoring your emails. In the long run, this will have a positive effect on various email marketing metrics.

4. Run social media contests

Email and social media are most effective when used together, and social media giveaways are one of the best examples of this dynamic. Social giveaways can provide an injection of new users and help you connect with leads who wouldn’t otherwise come into contact with your brand. It’s important to prepare good social media marketing content to get more engagement and interactions with your brand.

Like lead magnets, giveaway prizes should have a clear connection to your brand rather than simply being a neutral product of value (such as a gift card). In the same way, if you’re running a contest, the conditions should have a similar relation. A biking company might ask users for pictures of their bikes in exotic locations, for example.

You can also use giveaways to grow your list in other ways. Along with the initial entry for providing their email address, you could offer users additional entries for things like sharing the giveaway on their social media profile or liking your page on multiple platforms. Social media giveaways often achieve most of their outreach through word of mouth, so incentivizing organic sharing is a great way to expand your audience.

5. Provide referral rewards

Just like referral bonuses for giveaways, conventional email marketing referral programs can be extremely effective. Finding new leads from scratch is typically much more complicated and expensive than getting your existing audience to introduce their friends and family to your brand.

referral incentive programSimilarly, the cost of offering referral benefits is relatively small compared to the benefits of a sustainable referral program. Referral systems often work best when they provide a benefit to both the referral and the existing customer who referred them—new leads are more likely to join if there’s something in it for them.

6. Add a sign-up button on social media

Social media giveaways will provide immediate growth, but you can quickly turn your social media profiles into lead generators by simply adding a subscription button to each of your pages. This will make it easy to turn first-time social media visitors into website users and eventually subscribers to your email list.

If you have a Facebook Business page, you can create a dedicated call to action to move users through your sales funnel. Similarly, Twitter Cards allow businesses to accept subscriptions with a single click. Some other social media marketing platforms aren’t as conveniently compatible with email subscriptions, but you can still add a link to a dedicated landing page. You can also grow your social media list in the opposite direction by adding profile links to each of your marketing emails.

Building an email list takes time, but these tips will help you create more sources of leads and develop your audience over the long term. Don’t forget to periodically trim down your contact list and remove inactive leads to optimize performance and increase your email deliverability.

It’s ultimately worth it to build your list because doing so gives you subscribers that have relatively high-intent to purchase and are interested in your products from the beginning. A well-curated email list will be integral to the success of your email marketing strategy.

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About the Author:

Laura Cerbauske

Laura Cerbauske  

Laura Cerbauske is an experienced digital marketing and SEO specialist at Omnisend – Ecommerce Marketing Automation platform. When not blogging, she likes to read about SEO, digital marketing and ecommerce trends, technology and personal productivity. Follow on Linkedin.