How you grow your email list matters.
If you’re doing it right, the effectiveness of email marketing shouldn’t really be a question. What you should be concerned about is how you’re adding new people to your database. Yes, email is a potent channel, but if you grow your database without intention you’re going to be left with an ineffectual program.
So how, exactly, should you grow your list? You have two main options: SEO-powered content marketing and social media.
Content marketing is a great answer, but it’s a long-term approach. If you’re really good, then you could say it’s a medium-term approach, but either way, it’s going to take some time.
That leaves social media. Unlike SEO, you can proactively get new conversions through your ads and organic posts. It’s a much more direct way to reach your audience and convince them to join your email list.
The rest of this article maps out how to approach your content strategy for social and how to spin up ads that make people convert.
Now, social media is crowded. You might even say overpopulated. But with the right offer and precise targeting, you can transform your social channel into a pipeline of new email addresses.
Paid Ads Over Organic Posts
Before we go any further, it’s important to say that paid ads are the primary catalyst for growth through social media.
The harsh reality is organic social just isn’t what it used to be. Facebook’s algorithm changes have crippled the reach of organic social — so much so that organic alone just isn’t a viable growth strategy these days.
That’s not to say the stuff you’re going to learn below won’t work through organic posts. They absolutely can. But if you’re looking to grow quickly, i.e., add emails to your database, then you cannot subsist off organic alone. You simply won’t be able to reach enough people.
With that in mind, let’s talk strategy.
3 Ways to Get More Emails From Social Media
1. Advertise a Lead Magnet People Really Want
The most effective way to get more emails from social media is always the simplest – create an offer that your audience really wants and advertise it to them.
When people log in to any social platform, their intent usually isn’t to download a piece of content from a business. Most don’t have any intention; they simply pull up their feed and start scrolling.
To pull their attention away from the pet videos and hot-take posts, you’ve got to create something truly worthwhile. Ebooks typically aren’t enough these days. That approach has been done to death, and people just aren’t that excited about 4,000-word PDFs anymore.
So step back and think about something that will bring overwhelming value to your customers. If it feels like you’re giving something away that’s too good — that feels like you should be charging for it — then you’re on the right track.
Some examples include
- Templates that people use in their day-to-day work
- Reports from an expert on your team
- Plugins or add-ons for software your audience uses
Perhaps it goes without saying, but the more obvious the value of your offer, the more likely people are to download it.
Once you’ve got the lead magnet ready, then it’s time to get it in front of your audience. Facebook advertising gives you a lot of freedom to target people based on their interests, demographics, and so on.
Of course, you don’t want to get overwhelmed or reckless. It’s easy to spend money serving ads to the wrong audience. If you already have a few hundred people in your database, create a Lookalike Audience that targets people who have a lot in common with your existing customers.
2. Run a Contest or Giveaway
If you’ve spent any amount of time on Instagram, chances are you’ve run across a version of this strategy.
Typically, the account running the contest asks people to tag two or three of their friends in the comments for a chance to win something for free. The more people you tag, the better your chances of winning.
This is a great strategy if you’re trying to increase engagement on your page, grow your follower count, and get a list of people to target with ads. However, it’s not quite enough to grow your email list, because no one is actually filling out a form.
The solution is quite simple: Require people to fill out a form to enter. You can do this with a good old-fashioned giveaway, or you can turn it into a contest where people actually submit something and a winner is chosen.
Either way, just make sure that participation requires people filling out a form because that’s how you’ll get those email addresses. This is also an approach you can put dollars behind and advertise to get more people involved.
3. Build a Members-Only Community
The internet is teeming with micro-communities where people connect around a particular topic and engage in frequent, sometimes passionate, conversations. Think Facebook groups, subreddits, and Discord servers.
The appeal is obvious: People want to hang out with other people who share their interests. Ideally, some people in the community will be subject matter experts, so the majority of members will be constantly learning new things.
Building one of these communities isn’t that difficult from an infrastructure perspective. A Facebook group will do just fine. The challenge is growing your audience enough — or indeed establishing yourself as enough of a thought leader — to entice people to join.
But once you do get the community rolling, you can easily add thousands of members in just a few months. Now you have a direct line to your audience where you can see what they’re talking about, what their problems are, and even how they interact with each other.
How does this get your emails? Well, you just make an email mandatory to join.
So the first two tactics are instant-impact style strategies. You can get them rolling in a relatively short period of time, and they can have a quick impact.
Building a members-only community is not the same. It takes time, but the ROI can be enormous over the long term.
Whatever approach you choose, it’s important to remember to keep testing. Even if you come up with a killer lead magnet or a giveaway, it might take off on your first try. Keep at it.
These strategies are the basis for most of the lead generation that’s done on social media, and once you make the right adjustments, they can build your email list for years to come.
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