6 ways to grow your email database

Posted by: Tommy Tonkins


Does size matter? Now there’s a question.

The answer for email marketing, as with other areas in life, isn’t that clear cut.

The size of your email marketing list or your email database is important but so is the quality of the data. The position we really want to be in is where we have a substantial size list full of quality data.

Below are six handy tips from us on how to grow your email database in simple yet effective ways.

1. Have a clear and easy way to sign up

Making it easy for your customers to ‘opt-in’ is the first and best place to start. Your email marketing list is one of your most valuable tools, and when email marketing is used well it can be even more valuable than your social media channels.

Make sure your sign up form is in a clear and obvious place and is on every page of the website. The most obvious places are in your header or in your footer. If you put it in your header be sure it’s clear that it’s a sign-up and not a search bar. If you’re serious about growing your list then give your sign up form the prominence on your website it deserves.

email sign up example

2. Let people know what they’re getting

As well as making your email sign up clearly visible and easy to use you should give people a reason to subscribe and let them know what they’re going to get. Text such as ‘Sign up to receive our latest newsletter’ can be made a lot stronger. Instead you could try ‘Sign up to receive exclusive offers’ or why not highlight the number of subscribers you have by saying ‘Join 10,321 others and get our latest industry insight delivered to your inbox.’

The key to this is offering people a reason to sign up, then backing this up with great content that leaves them eager for the next email campaign.

3. Downloadable content

You can take point two a step further by giving people an incentive to part with their email addresses. Offer them a resource that can be downloaded after they enter their email address.

This could be anything from an ebook containing your latest blog articles, an infographic, a white paper or a simple guide. The email address you collect is the ‘payment’ for this piece of content and is a great way to get more subscribers.

4. Competitions

Competitions are a fantastic way to grow databases. Depending on the value of the prize you give away, competitions are also a great way of getting additional data – with a high value prize you can ask your customers more questions and therefore build a better profile of them.

You can run them of your own accord or team up with likeminded organisations who share a similar target market. This kind of affinity marketing can lead to huge growth of email lists with all parties benefitting.

A word to the wise, you will attract people who just love entering competitions because they want something for free. To combat this, when the competition ends make sure you email all the entrants immediately after it closes with a welcome email – this will help clean the list as the people who want a freebie will inevitably unsubscribe.

5. Offline data collection

Collecting data offline is still a great way of growing an email database. If you’re visiting trade shows, exhibitions or festivals then it pays to take a pen and paper with you to note down the email addresses of everyone who comes to visit you. If you wanted to be clever you could do it from a tablet to save having to re-enter the data at a later date.

Collecting email data at purchase points within stores is another easy way to grow your list, especially if you incentivise individual stores to see who can get the most. Remember when doing this that best practice is to use ‘stable doors’ (boxes for each letter) for people to enter their email address in as it greatly reduces the margin for error when entering the emails at a later date.

6. Use your other channels

Use your other digital channels to help grow your database. This could be something simple like adding a sign up form directly into your Facebook page. However, what’s more effective is to use your other digital channels to drive sign-ups if you’re running a competition that people enter by submitting their email.

Paying to promote this kind of content across your social media channels while at the same time doing the same thing with your Google AdWords will see significant growth of your database. We recently used this method for one of our clients and saw a 100% increase in database size within a week.

Conclusions

To conclude, have a clear and obvious email sign up form that gives people an incentive to part with their data. Once you have them, make sure you serve them up with killer content that sets you apart from the inbox clutter we all deal with on a day to day basis – this will keep your engagement levels high and give your email a much better chance of being seen.

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