Over the past twelve years of owning various businesses, I have learned many things. But one universal key to success for every business is to grow an email list. It doesn’t matter if the business is ecommerce, content based, or a local hardware store. Every business in operation today should have several ways to collect email addresses from a few groups of people.
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If you do not have the email addresses of your past customers, you are leaving money on the table. You have already earned their business one time which makes it much easier to keep them as a customer. Targeting past customers not only increases sales, but also increases your profit margins, since the cost of acquiring the customer is only accounted for when the customer first makes a purchase. Maintaining a current customer costs your business much less than continuously acquiring new customers.
Your current customers are your best advertising. Depending on your industry, there are many clever ways to encourage your current, satisfied customers to provide the email address of someone that know that could benefit from your business. Some industries, like cell phone carriers provide incentives to customers for each referral, but most times, that is not necessary. If your business is providing a high quality product or service, simple asking your customers to spread the word by helping you reach others can help to grow an email list.
Also called leads or target audiences, these are the people who will be interested in your product or service once they learn about it. Whether your business is using social media, Adwords, paper flyers, or any number of other marketing methods, collecting emails should be added to the marketing mix as a priority. Email marketing to leads increases the chance of securing an actual sale by 3xs, as compared to using social media. If you still aren’t convinced, check out this clever infographic created by WebpageFX.
How Do I Grow An Email List?
This is one of the most common questions the All About Self Employment team is asked. It is important to remember that email spam laws vary from state to state and it is important that you comply with these laws. The laws by state may be found on the National Conference of State Legislatures.
There are a few initial steps to grow an email list very quickly:
- The first step is to sign up with an email marketing platform. I highly recommend Mailchimp or ConvertKit. Each have their own benefits and I will compare them in another article.
- Once you have selected an email marketing platform, upload the emails that you already have from existing customers. This will get your existing list organized and make you feel more optimistic about starting from scratch.
- Next, plan a giveaway. This is how you will grow an email list overnight!
Using Giveaways to Grow an Email List Overnight
Last year, I read an article about how a famous business consultant used giveaways to grow an email list to 180,000 emails within days. I was skeptical. And for good reason. In the spirit of complete transparency, I have never had those kinds of results with any type of marketing. But, once I began running giveaways, I began to see a few amazing things:
My email lists grew by up to 300%. I have used giveaways to grow email lists in the following industries: ecommerce stores, service as a subscription websites, online publications and blogs. Across every industry, a strategic giveaway works to grow an email list. Here is one of my dashboards from Fishbowl. Fishbowl is one of my favorite giveaway sites.
The 5 Years of Golf Car Options giveaway was designed to create a unique, very niche-y list of people who are own golf cars and enjoy reading online monthly publications. Our goal for this giveaway was 50 subscribers and we got 54, so we met our goal.
With the Vehicle Gap Filler Organizer giveaway, I hoped to attract at least 150 people for an ecommerce product launch. This is the product. The giveaway generated 268 email addresses. Of those people, I made 22 sales with the first marketing email I sent.
The Vegas Golf VIP Edition Game giveaway is still in progress and has already generated 41 entries. Our goal was to create an email list of 50 emails for this targeted product launch and we will definitely exceed our goal.
The giveaway emails lists are highly targeted. The open rates are significantly higher than the industry standard and higher than any other email list growing method I have ever tried, including pop up boxes. Here is a screen shot of the Mailchimp list from the Vehicle Gap Filler email list. Notice that the Industry average open rate is 10.0%, but for this giveaway list, it is 51.4%. The Industry average click rate is 1.1% but for this giveaway email campaign, it was 4.5%. Also pay attention to the bounce rate. Typically an average list bounce rate is 2%, even for existing customer lists. We only had 2 bounces from this giveaway list.
Virtually no one opts out of the giveaway lists. The email leads that have opted into my list from a giveaway do not leave. My opt out rates with email lists grown from giveaways have fewer opt outs than lists made up of my actual customers! Once I began relying on giveaways as a primary method to grow an email list, I was truly amazed by the numbers. In the giveaway list above, only 9 people of the 216 opens unsubscribed. That is less than 10%. Again, a great number.
How Do I Set Up A Successful Giveaway?
Select a Killer Giveaway Prize
Selecting the giveaway prize is the most important step in this process. Take some time with this. Here are a few tips:
- Do not use your own product as a prize. Unless it is bundled with some other products. A giveaway offering your own product feels too sale-sy and turns people off. There are some cases, especially in ecommerce, where your own product can be used as part of a strategic product launch, but that may be the only exception.
- The higher the prize value, the greater the buzz. A giveaway for a prize that is valued at $1100 will always be more appealing and worth the effort of entering than a prize for $50. I have used prizes ranging in value from $30 to $1200 and the higher value prize always grows an email list more effectively.
- Get inside of your target customer’s head. Think about who you want on your email list. Now ask yourself what other products do they love? What do they buy? What are their passions? Select the product that is coveted by your target audience and you will score big with your giveaway.
Bonus Tip: Partner with another business to create a bundle of prizes or assemble a prize pack with product samples of businesses looking for publicity.
Another Bonus Tip: Software and subscriptions make for attractive prizes. How huge does this sound, “Enter to Win a 3 Year Subscription to Birchbox.” The value is is only $330 for 3 years. And, if you use Honey, you can save 10% on the subscription, totaling your prize at $297. That is a small price to pay for acquiring hundreds of new warm leads.
Are you still with me? Do you have a prize in mind? Here is the next part.
Select a Giveaway Platform…or Two
In the past, I wasn’t interested in giveaways for one main reason. One fundamental flaw kept me from even considering them as a marketing tool. Can you guess what that flaw is?
In most giveaways you receive one entry and your chances of winning are greater if fewer people enter. How can I get people to share the giveaway and make a big deal about it if it would be counterproductive to their own chances of winning? People typically do what is best for them. I just couldn’t get past this flaw.
Until I heard about KingSumo Giveaways. The KingSumo tool turns that flaw into an opportunity to run a successful giveaway. Here is how it works.
When someone enters your contest, they are entered one time. Then, they are provided a “lucky url” and options to share. Sharing the contest on social media increases their chance of winning by giving them additional entries. It is so brilliant. Now, your giveaway entrants are your biggest supporters, allowing your contest to go viral.
KingSumo is my favorite giveaway tool for a few reasons:
- It is a plugin app that works directly with WordPress.
- It can be automated to send emails from your website.
- It drives traffic to your website.
- You can run multiple giveaways at the same time.
- It is only $198 for lifetime use.
Since I have been successfully using KingSumo Giveaways for a while, my friends over there will give my readers a 20% discount. When you signup for KingSumo’s giveaway plugin, enter code PSHQ20 and you will receive 20% off of your order, reducing the price to $158.40! That is an amazingly low price to invest in customer acquisition.
Sign up here: KingSumo
Enter: PSHQ20 for 20% off
Fishbowl Prizes Giveaways
KingSumo is my favorite, but it only works on WordPress sites. When I run giveaways for my marketing consulting clients, or for my Shopify stores, I use Fishbowl Prizes. The concept of businesses collecting lead information through “fishbowl” contests, where the contact info was put into a fishbowl for a drawing, is age old. Fishbowls are still seen on tables at trade shows across the country. Think of this as a digital fishbowl for you to collect lead information without standing around at a trade show.
With very affordable monthly pricing, that begins with FREE for up to 250 emails, Fishbowl works well for any industry, especially ecommerce. The platform is simple to use and Fishbowl promotes the giveaways on their website. If you do not have a large social media following, they will drive traffic for you. Fishbowl also solves the “flaw” and grants multiple entries as a reward for sharing the contest.
If you are planning to use giveaways as a constant tool to grow an email list, I suggest starting with a paid subscription. If you run a contest with the Free plan and the giveaway exceeds 250 emails, they charge a hefty little price for each additional email address. Just start with the $29 plan and you will thank me later. One drawback of Fishbowl Prizes is that they only allow one contest to be running at a time. Right now, I have giveaways scheduled out for months, but only one at a time.
The Short and Sweet
Are You Ready To Grow an Email List Using a Giveaway?
Not only will planning and launching giveaways grow an email list quickly, but it will increase traffic. Not just random traffic, but the highly targeted audience that your giveaway prize attracts.
I have personally launched more than 100 giveaways and have a ton of high converting prize ideas, so do not hesitate to email me at Julie@allaboutselfemployment.com if you need ideas or any help getting starting. I have also tried 5 other giveaway platforms and did not receive close to the success rate that I have had with KingSumo or Fishbowl.
As a reminder, here is how to sign up:
KingSumo and use PSHQ20 for your All About Self Employment 20% discount.
Fishbowl Prizes and start with the $29/month plan so that you are not at risk of running over the 250 emails and having to pay much more.
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