• Amish Patel

Building long-term relationships (or email subscriptions as we call it)

At a time of ‘digital transformation’ in big corporates, one of the measures that senior leaders look to in order to benchmark digital maturity is the amount of email consents that are captured into their owned database for target customers. There are many good reasons as to why this is important, but somewhere along the line there is a disconnect between knowing this value across all levels and therefore driving towards it in a strategic and logical manner, without doing long-term damage for short-term gain.

Why is it good to grow your email database?

  • SAVE MONEY – put simply, you can reach your loyal customer base almost instantly without blowing your ad spend in paid channels

  • PERSONALISATION – you can use the data you collect on individuals across your channel mix (as long as your privacy policy is up to scratch) to deliver tailored content relevant to each individual at the right time in their journey towards your brand and beyond

  • CONVERSION – people have gone through a form to give you their details because they want to hear from you. When you have something new to offer (maybe an event or podcast), this channel is likely to give you the quickest and highest conversion rate

  • FEEDBACK – if you’re doing something wrong or doing something right, this group of individuals will give you fast feedback; either through their engagement with the content itself, through surveys or in the worst-case scenario, unsubscribes

What is the best way to do it?

  • Make sure it’s easy for someone to join your list – keep the capture form fields as minimal as possible. They’ve landed here because they want to join, so don’t waste their time by asking them to fill out lots of information. In essence, don’t spend money driving people here before you have tested and optimised the conversion rate of your capture form, otherwise you may have lost your one and only shot with them.

  • Create compelling content that speaks for itself – this content should create that need in its audience to join your database as they are immediately getting something in return and know there’s more to come in the future (i.e. an exclusive download or notification of more content like the one that led them there in the first place). Make sure you have content in the bank to keep you going a while.

  • Around your high value content, have a prominent presence of your ‘subscribe’ button to ensure you are making the most of it.

  • Finally, spend money in paid channels to drive those prospects to that compelling content and watch your audience grow.

A couple of watch outs:

  • Ensure you have an on-boarding journey once someone does subscribe. A welcome email at the very least, or a short series before they slip into your ongoing email calendar

  • Don’t just send overtly promotional messages about your products and why they are the best; quite frankly no one cares and this is also likely to increase your unsubscribe rates, undoing all the great work you’ve done up until this point

How long does it take?

Sorry, there is no quick-fix or overnight solution to this. Your email database growth is only as good as what you provide in return, i.e. content!

So instead of focusing on asking for subscriptions with no substance, focus your efforts on creating a steady stream of useful and relevant content, that will enrich the lives of your prospects. And remember to actually offer the subscribe button (either in a static position, a pop-up or other), instead of giving the content away for nothing.

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