Email lists are essential to any business, but they are gold to an event marketer. Your email database is not just key to marketing your event to prospective attendees, but it is one of the values you bring to sponsors and exhibitors who are deciding on whether or not to invest in your event.
Maybe you’re thinking, “But we use Facebook to reach our audience.”
There is an old saying, “Don't build on rented land.” To marketers this means, as wonderful a tool as social media is, you don’t want to rely on it as your contact database. Joe Pulizzi, founder and executive director of Content Marketing Institute warns, when it comes to building your contact database, “don’t invest in a platform that doesn’t care about your business goals or your business in general.”
Take heed and use the following three ways to build and grow a robust email database for your organization.
1. Email Pop-up Forms
Email pop-up forms get a bad rap. Many people call them an intrusive interruption. However, when set up the right way, they are a service to your readers. Let us say you’ve published a great blog post that caught a reader's attention. The information was valuable to them and naturally; they would like to read more. It is the perfect time to invite them to sign up for your mailing list to ensure they don’t miss out on more of your valuable insight.
Doing It Right: Create a pop-up form that appears as the reader reaches the bottom of your content. This way the pop-up is not an interruption, but an invitation presented at the most appropriate time. Talk to your web programmer or email service provider about incorporating a sign-up form that does just that. If this is not an option, another option, although less impactful, would be to include an email signup form at the bottom of all the content you publish on your site.
2. Gated Content
Not all your content should be gated (requiring an email address and other personal information before downloading). If you expect someone to turn over his or her contact information to you, the content you provide should be worth it. Research reports, white papers, studies, and e-books are great examples of worthwhile content.
Doing It Right: Keep your sign-up forms to a maximum of five fields. Only collect the information you absolutely need. If your content is the first interaction the person downloading it has with your organization, chances are they are going to use a junk address to access it. Embed an email signup form at the end of your e-book or white paper so they have a second chance to sign up with their real email — once they see you have provided them with something of value.
3. Make a Promise
Andrew Davis, content marketing speaker and author, proposes delivering high-quality, regularly scheduled content to your audience. Content they get excited to see in their inbox each week. That content could be a “Tip of the Week” or a “Weekly Roundup of Industry News” or even a “Cartoon of the Week” that addresses your industry’s impact on the world. The point is, you make a promise, and you deliver on that promise on a consistent basis.
Do it Right: Invite people to sign up for a special email list for your “Tip of the Week” delivered to their inbox every Monday morning at 9 am ET. Keep your promise by delivering only that bit of content every single week without fail. Include in each of those emails, an invitation to sign up for your general email list so they can get more great information.
3.5 Bonus Points
Not everyone in your audience is going to have the same interests. To prevent people from unsubscribing to your list once they have signed up, make sure you are sending only content that is relevant to them. Segment your mailing list by topic. When people sign up, they can pick and choose only the topics that are relevant.