For many companies in Singapore and Asia that are inclined towards digital marketing, email marketing is a big part of pushing their products and services out in order to get more sales. However, start-up marketers shudder at the thought of building a subscriber list from scratch, because the task just seems onerous, so they turn to purchasing mailing lists from 3rd-party sales lead generation companies as a first resort. But chances are purchased lists in Singapore or Asia may do more harm than good in marketing your brand.
Firstly, you never know how many times the same contacts have been resold and emailed to by previous customers! The initially warm receptivity of fresh sales leads towards email ads wears out with the passage of time and it becomes a matter of time before they turn hostile by reporting email ads as spam.
Secondly, these contacts, which never personally opt in through your website in the first place, are not going to recognise you or your company. In any marketing processes, there is "warm-up phase" required to educate and nurture sales leads until they come around to understanding who you are, where you are coming from, what is your expertise, and finally, what you have to offer. Failure to adhere to best marketing practices can result in ruining your brand's reputation in the long run, something which is obviously undesirable. This malpractice of email marketing is common in Singapore and Asia.
Thirdly, when you factor in the inevitable attrition rate, acquiring new email subscribers is as much continuous as it is critical to the survival of any online business in Singapore and Asia. This means you can't rely on buying email lists forever, even if you are privileged to purchase warm, targeted lists from rare quality sources—you could go broke! It pays to reduce your acquisition cost by generating email sales leads yourself, with your own skills and technical resources.
For these 3 big reasons, I have created a quick checklist of 26 tips for growing your list organically for you to run through. Some are simple to execute, while others are sophisticated and require planning. Not all will be applicable in Singapore or Asia depending on the nature of your business, but do keep your mind open and continue to maintain what you have always been doing and considering new methods. These are tried and tested implementations that email marketers in Asia reported with great success.
1. Wherever possible, publish your opt-in form in the top fold on every web page. Your website visitors can't help but notice it and subscribe if they so wish. Give your opt-in form as many chances as possible!
2. Use a lightbox-style popup form. A popup form is best implemented in article pages, whereby the visitor scrolls down to scan the article and is disrupted by a sudden popup. For the best conversion rate, the offer must be related to the topic of the article. Not recommended for implementation on every web page because it would seem obnoxious. Use it selectively.
3. Speaking of the offer, make it an valuable gift that visitors can't resist! Ask yourself: What is it that I would pay for but give away for free? Not saying that you are to give the whole house, but value is subjective. Think strategically what you can offer as a lead-in—the beginning phase of a buyer's journey to bring complete fulfillment to their needs, wants, problems, challenges etc.
4. Give visitors compelling reasons to subscribe by stating the benefits of your offer. Even introduce quantity-limited or time-limited exclusivity.
5. Create an ecover graphic for your gift to increase its appeal. You can find some amazing 3D ecover designs here.
6. Keep your opt-in form short and sweet. Most forms I see on other websites only ask for a name and email address and that is good enough. Some even do away with the 'name' field. Here at iSmart, as we provide landing page design to our B2B clients, we also find the necessity to ask for more information about their visitors like job designation, income level, number of years of experience etc., but we implement 'smart' forms designed by HubSpot Singapore which will not ask the same questions again should existing subscribers opt in for another offer on the same website, not even their names and email addresses.
7. Have dedicated landing pages to drive subscriptions because visitors can now focus 100% of their attention on your offer, thus increasing conversion rate.
8. Reproduce your landing pages in your Facebook fan page! This is possible with setting up a tab and showing your landing page within the tab's iFrame area. Use Woobox for this.
9. Make use of social networks to send your fans and followers to the landing pages. Tweet about it or announce it in your Facebook timeline or LinkedIn news feed. Also mention your offers in your LinkedIn profile description, as Google+ posts and in the Google+ 'About' section. If you have gotten ecovers ready, pin them on Pinterest and consolidate them in a pinboard so that fellow pinners and followers can find them easily.
10. Include social sharing buttons on the landing pages to encourage subscribers to share them to their own connections!
11. Include your landing page/offer link in your email signature.
12. Try pay-per-click (PPC) advertising using Google AdWords or Facebook Ads to drive targeted traffic to your landing pages. Compared to email list purchases, you can start small and manage your expectations over how much ROI is generated from each lead.
13. Design mobile-optimized landing pages and use AdMob to promote them.
14. Write and submit articles to article directories or be a guest blogger. Content marketing is mostly a free but effective method to demonstrate your expertise, establish your authority and get readers curious about what you can do to solve their challenges.
15. Email existing contacts to let them know of your latest gift and encourage them to share with their social connections.
16. Go one step further by setting up an affiliate program to attract affiliate sign-ups so that affiliates are motivated by monetary incentives to promote your landing pages, provided you have something to sell in the back-end.
17. Comment on other blog posts of related topics so that you can leave your name and landing page URL in your comment.
18. If you write a regular newsletter, archive old issues for public viewing so website visitors can expect what kind of quality content you have to offer, and will subscribe if they so wish.
19. Branch out into producing short YouTube videos to drive traffic to your landing pages. The URLs can be mentioned in the text description or shown as a caption or in the last few seconds of the video.
20. Do ad-swapping. Ad-swapping is a mutual arrangement in which 2 non-competing marketers exchange ads to cross-promote each other, the main aim of which is to get new subscribers very quickly. Ads can come in the form of banners, text links, blog posts or even tweets, but the most common and effective swap medium used by digital marketers is email. If the other party is reluctant to carry out an ad swap, discuss how else he could benefit from collaboration for as long as you can get him to promote your gift/landing page to his list as a form of personal endorsement.
21. Purchase a solo ad space. Normally, marketers would not do ad swaps because they already have a solo advertising scheme in place for their emails or newsletters. Check with them how much it costs to place an ad in their newsletters and how many new subscribers can be expected. Marketers can charge for solo ads because they have huge readership, so do consider solo advertising as a possible investment option for lead generation.
22. Keep creating new offers! More offers lead to more landing pages and more reasons to opt in more often to download them.
23. I have seen a couple of brilliant last-ditch effort to get unsubscribers to resubscribe again. A simple message on the 'unsubscribed' page goes like this: "We are sorry to see you go. If you feel you have unsubscribed by mistake, please click the button below and you are back in the list!"
Other websites employ a "double unsubscribe", which is similar to "double opt-in" in that you have to click a confirmation link in a new email.
Yet others offer an alternative gift (or a lightbox popup form) on the 'unsubscribed' page to entice you back, or execute an exit popup showing a subscription form for another gift.
24. If you are a frequent business networker, you can also print your landing page URL on your business card and tell people about it if they need more information.
25. Host your own events, both online and offline: webinars, hangouts, seminars, training classes, networking sessions, contests etc. These events provide opportunities for participation and the first gate is a simple online subscription or registration form!
26. If you print marketing collateral, include your landing page URL or a QR code in them. QR codes are especially effective for exclusive promotions and can be depended on for its 'anonymity', need for a small print area and suitability on certain items like receipts, catalogs, small sheet inserts, bags, boxes, price tags, etc.