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6 Things You Need to Know When Growing Your Email List via Social Media

By: Corina Leslie

What’s the best marketing channel – email or social media? It’s one of the hottest debates among marketers nowadays, but most of them seem to agree: you have to use both. While email allows for a more intimate communication, social media supports your brand and list building efforts. But how do you grow your email list with social media? Try the tips below and you’ll see a steady increase in your number of subscribers.

Email vs. social media: what are the stats?

First, let’s look at some stats to get a better idea of where each channel stands right now. According to research by OptinMonster:

  • 60% of people say they prefer to hear from brands on email; only 20% chose social media.
  • when it comes to conversions, the difference is massive: email converts at an average rate of 6.05%, while social media is behind with 1.9%.
  • what’s more, email has the largest user base: 3.8 billion accounts worldwide, compared to 3.4 billion social media accounts.

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When you also consider that organic reach on Facebook went down to less than 2%, you start wondering what the point it in using social media at all. But things aren’t as black-and-white as that. Both channels have immense potential – you just have to learn how to maximize it. Here are a few tactics to help you make better use of social media and grow your email list.

Tell people what they’re signing up for

Whether you’ve just started growing your email list or you’ve had it for a while, you always want to add more subscribers to it. The perfect place to start? Your social media audience.

If you’ve been working hard in the past years to get as many people as possible to follow your social media pages, now is the time to capitalize on that. However, people are not just going to sign up for your emails; they need a good reason to do that.

“Start by telling them what they can expect once they get on your list,” advises Josh Brown, Digital Marketing Consultant at Helpjuice. “Be transparent and make it a rule to post about it every week. Let your audience know how good your emails are and why they would benefit from receiving them. This is a simple tactic that has yielded great results for us,” he added.

Offer (at least some) exclusive content

This is one of the most efficient ways to increase your subscription rate: offer people something they can’t get anywhere else. While some of your content may previously appear on your website or blog, make sure parts of it are only for the eyes of your subscribers. Of course, mention this perk in your social media posts as often as possible.

People who already like your brand on social media will love the idea of being a part of your exclusive club. However, for this tactic to work, send really good stuff – content you would enjoy yourself. Make it special every time and you’ll notice a boost not only in your subscription, but also your open rate.

Create a content offer

If you want to go the extra mile, nothing will get people on your list faster than a content offer. What are content offers? They’re pieces of content you create with the specific purpose of expanding your database. Anything from e-books, infographics, white papers, mini-courses, or cheat sheets can be a content offer.

Once you’re happy with your product, place it behind a gated registration form, requiring people to use their email address in order to receive your offer. Before you do that, though, be sure to verify those email addresses. Otherwise, poor-quality contacts can spoil your list in no time – more on that later.

Don’t have the resources to work on a complex content offer? A quiz is a great alternative! Here is how email conversion copywriter Chanteuse Marie is growing her email list by using a fun quiz:

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Post teasers before you send out a special email

All your emails should be worth reading, but every once in a while, we all have a really good one that we want more people to see. Use your social media platforms to announce it. Post a teaser telling people what the email is about, without revealing too much – a little mystery always piques curiosity.

Also, to create a sense of urgency, give your audience a deadline to sign up. For instance, if your email is going out Thursday morning, post on social media about it a couple of days before. Fear of missing out will push many of your followers to join your list.

Are you using the Facebook “Sign Up” button?

If you aren’t, they you’re the one missing out.

In the upper right corner of your Facebook home page, you should see a button that says “Sign Up.”

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Click on that and choose what action you’d like to invite your followers to take. Linking to your subscription page is easy and gives people a way to sign up without even leaving the social media platform.

Full disclosure: don’t expect an avalanche of new subscribers, but since the button is there for you to use – and it’s free – why not make the most of it?

Ignoring Pinterest? Big mistake

Most people think of Pinterest as a platform you visit when you need a recipe or you’re looking for some interior design inspiration. But Pinterest is more than that, and marketers and business owners who are using it right see great responses from it.

Some argue that Pinterest isn’t even a social media platform. The truth is it works just like a search engine, but focuses on pictures more than text. So, your images have to be in good shape. If you can’t afford a photographer or buying nice stock images, you can always use a free source.

Also, a good way to boost your Pinterest engagement is by publishing infographics. They’re visually rich and tend to attract more viewers, which you can then direct to your subscription page. Bonus tip: a couple of years ago, Pinterest introduced hashtags, so sprinkle some throughout your copy to increase engagement.

How good is your email list?

Armed with these tips, you should be on your way to steady email list growth. But here comes a key question: are you gathering only high-value, active email addresses? Or are you also allowing risky contacts to creep into your list?

Having lots of subscribers makes any email marketer happy. But since you work so hard to grow your email list, make sure the addresses you collect belong to real human beings.

Here are two reasons why you should keep an eye on your email hygiene:

  • sending emails isn’t free – at least not when you have a medium or large-sized list. Your email service provider charges you according to the number of subscribers you have, so why would you pay money to email fake or abandoned addresses?
  • let’s say you don’t care about the money you’re wasting. Nonetheless, a high bounce and complaint rate is a sign that you’re not following email marketing best practices. With the amount of spam circulating via email nowadays, inbox providers will come to think of you as a spammer, too. Next thing you know, your emails will land in the junk pile – or nowhere at all. That’s right: when you have a poor sender reputation, you’re this close to ending up on a blacklist. That means you won’t be able to email anyone until you don’t improve your practices.

Thankfully, no email marketer has to end up there, especially when keeping a neat email list is so easy. First, let’s take a look at the riskiest email addresses you could be gathering from social media.

  1. Abuse emails
    These accounts belong to people for whom labeling emails as spam is a habit. So, while you may be happy you just got a new subscriber, that subscriber may turn out to be a complainer and later mark you as spam. People do that for various reasons: for instance, they forgot the ever signed up for your emails, or one of your campaigns simply comes across as spammy to them.
  2. Temporary emails
    They are some of the most common email addresses one could collect via social media. Oftentimes, people don’t want to give away their address, so they use a temporary (also called disposable) email to receive access to whatever you offer. Within days or, sometimes, even minutes, these addresses self-destruct and the email you send to them will bounce.
  3. Role-based emails
    Another trick people will use when they’re only interested in a freebie is a role-based email. These addresses don’t belong to a single individual, but to a group of people within an organization. You’ll easily recognize them because their format looks like contact@, info@, or team@. Their very nature makes them almost valueless to your email marketing. Although someone may monitor them, chances are the person who does only glances at the messages they receive, deleting most of them.
  4. Misspelled emails
    When was the last time you made a typo? Probably five minutes ago, when you were texting someone or writing something on social media. It happens to all of us, including to the people who are trying to subscribe to your emails. They type in their email address in the registration form, but misspell it. The problem is that eric@gnail.com will surely bounce and tarnish your sender reputation, so consider using the double opt-in subscription method.

How using double opt-in helps you keep a neat list

Remember the last time you subscribed to someone’s emails and you received a confirmation link you had to click? That’s precisely the subscription process you should use, too, to ensure your new subscribers really want to join your list.

Implementing the double opt-in on your website is the first step you can take towards better email hygiene. However, it’s not enough to prevent certain risky emails from being added to your database. This is where email verification comes in.

What is email verification and why it matters

As we saw earlier, using social media to grow your list comes with the risk of getting some poor-quality contacts. Abuse, temporary or misspelled emails affect your sender reputation and can cause your emails to land in spam. But what if there was a way to reject these risky addresses in the first place and only allow high-quality leads on your list?

This is what an email verification API does. Once added to your website – or any other platform you use to collect email addresses – the API verifies every email address before allowing it to be added to your database. And it does that in real time.

A reliable email verification API will detect and automatically reject:

  • abuse emails – you’ll keep spam complaints at bay by preventing these users to join your list.
  • temporary emails – why risk any bounces when you can count on the API to filter out these accounts?
  • misspelled emails – the API not only rejects addresses that contain typos, but it also offers the user a suggestion to correct their spelling.
  • role-based emails – formats such as info@ or contact@ will be spotted right away and won’t make it to your list.

On top of that, the API can detect other types of risky addresses, like spam traps or catch-all emails, which is also beneficial to your hygiene.

If you suspect you have such contacts in your database now, weed them out as soon as you can. Email verification services can be used in bulk, as well, so you can clean your list before installing the API on your site.

One last thing: have fun!

Email and social media marketing are both challenging. Growth doesn’t happen overnight and staying on top of the frequent industry updates can feel overwhelming. Moreover, competition is formidable: we’re all fighting for people’s attention. While staying informed and adopting new tactics is essential, what’s also important is to enjoy the ride.

Also, take a step back and look at what you’ve accomplished: how much have you evolved and what are the most important goals you’ve reached? Then, ask yourself: how can I continue to improve? What could I do today to build a more powerful email list and social media strategy?

Keeping an eye on your progress and constantly striving to be better is key to long-term success, especially when you grow your email list with social media.

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