Answer this question with complete honesty: Do you work harder to get people onto your list or to keep people there?
By now, you probably know that it's far most cost-effective to retain a loyal brand advocate than it is to attain a new one. Unfortunately, when we talk about list building, we often focus on numbers alone.
You will experience more engagement, visibility and profit if you have 100 interested, brand-focussed people on your list than if you have 10,000 people who are feeling lukewarm about your brand.
If your list is bleeding out, with people unsubscribing on a regular basis, then you're doing a much better job at attracting random people than you are at retaining your ideal customers.
Maybe the people who are signing up aren't your ideal customers at all. Or, maybe they are, and you're simply not giving them what they need.
Let's find out. And let's fix it.
List Building: Stop the Bleeding, Start Healing
For the purpose of today's conversation, let's concentrate on your email marketing strategy, how you could be causing your list to hemorrhage, and how you can stop the bleeding and promote healing, with high-quality list building.
Here are some of the most common reasons people are unsubscribing:
- Your Content is Blah. Most people won't even open your emails. And when that one, special, brand-interested person does, are you going to squander the opportunity with boring, repetitive content? You may feel that you're wasting your creative genius on something people may never read; however, try thinking of it this way: for that one person who decides to open one email, and who is blown away by the relevance, informative nature and entertainment factor of that email, that's five more people she may share it with…and one hundred more emails she'll take the time to open and read because she's come to expect something great.
- You're Using Email Communications to Sell. Consumers hear sales speak and they run for the hills. They don't have the time, attention or patience to listen to one more sales pitch, and they certainly didn't give you their contact details just so they could be sold to. Make service the primary purpose of all email communications, throwing in only the occasional sales email. This will keep your audience interested, intrigued by your willingness to give…and you'll still get your opportunity to let them know in what other ways you can help them.
- They Don't Feel your Emails are Intended for Them. Every time an ideal customer reads an email, they should be in awe of how well you understand them. They should feel that you're speaking directly to them, a unique individual with specific needs and a particular problem. If your emails are too general, or apply to someone other than the recipient, there will be an opt-out. Oftentimes, brand builders will segment their lists, so that only emails relevant to each segment are sent, increasing audience retention and conversion.
- You're Overstaying your Welcome. How many times a week do your ideal customers want to see email communications from your brand? You can learn the hard way (through loss of subscriptions), or you can just ask them. Audiences differ widely; some need daily support, whilst others don't want their inboxes to overflow with too much information (especially sales pitches). Know your audience, and don't overdo it.
- There are Technical Difficulties that Come Along with Your Emails. How sure are you that your emails are displaying correctly? And that all the links work properly? I always suggest sending test emails to your own inbox before scheduling them for the entire list (or segments of your list). Too many errors, and you'll rapidly fall from the favour of even your most loyal readers.
- The Emails are Too Long or the Language Doesn't Appeal to your Recipients. Every brand has a language, and that language should be based upon the words and phrases most commonly used by its target audience. If your email recipients aren't feeling that your communications are intended specifically for them, or they're too wordy or too succinct for their taste, they're going to opt out.
- They Didn't Realise they Signed up to Receive Emails. No matter what method you use for capturing email addresses, you need to advise people what you'll be doing with their contact information. Let them know they'll be receiving mail in their inbox from you, so that when they do, they're not perplexed…or pissed off enough to unsubscribe and report your communications as spam.
Start to employ these fixes in all your future emails, and you will see a decrease in the number of people who unsubscribe. Never forget to think like a consumer. You have an inbox of your own. What drives you nuts? What makes you angry? And what's refreshing, unusual and welcomed?
Not sure you're targeting the right people with your email campaigns? Or not certain the people on your list are the right people for building your brand? Find out by scheduling a One-Hour Intensive Brand Audit. We'll review your brand's vision, mission and values and then determine your next steps for list building that increases credibility, visibility and profitability.