Challenge: How To Grow and Retain Email and Mobile Subscribers
Increasing the size of your email and mobile lists whilst keeping your contacts engaged in your messages is no easy task. These challenges present two key issues for consideration:
To grow your email database, marketers sometimes purchase lists. This practice will surely get you into trouble: it might add invalid addresses to your list and thus pollute your entire database. Even if the addresses you acquired are valid, the new recipients will most likely not be interested in your content and either unsubscribe or not engage with your emails altogether. Both of these alternatives are undesirable. For mobile, you simply cannot purchase number lists. It is against all carrier use terms and conditions, against most country anti-spam legislation.
To retain subscribers, a lot of companies send fewer emails, thinking that the communication frequency might in some way define engagement. Email noise as against the rarity of mobile messages means that the mobile channel is more special, right? You bet it is, but there is a potential downside to mobile. Abuse this great channel at your peril. People entrust their mobile number to you, only on the basis that (unlike email), you treat it with respect. When sending mobile messages, ask yourself, would I be happy to receive this? If not, don’t send it. Remember, 1) High value content of 2) a great offer.
Increasing the size of your email and mobile lists and keeping your contacts engaged in your messages is no easy task. These challenges receive two common responses:
Solution: Earn Your Subscriber Lists
A Clear Value Proposition for Email and Mobile opt-in
Never purchase email lists. Whilst you may have got away with this for email marketing ten years ago, it is no longer a valid marketing practice. ANY lists you have not created yourself will have a history with the ISPs and for the most part, will be rubbish. To prove this point, my marketing team are constantly barraged by companies wanted to sell us Marketo, Hubspot, Infusionsoft, MailChimp user lists. Ask yourself, how on earth were these obtained legally? They weren't. We had a look at 'a sample' from one of these companies last week. Over 30% were to users such as info@XYX.com, salesme@XYX.com and other delightful names. The balance were full of gmail and yahoo addresses.
Mobile on the other hand is vastly different. We generally only have one mobile number, maybe two. Every message receive on those numbers will be noticed, and read. Make sure you have something great to say, or a fantastic offer!
Buying mobile lists is prohibited in most countries. Anyone that attempts to sell you mobile lists should be reported to the authorities. The FCC in the USA is a good place to start. Each country has their own legislative body when it comes to SPAM. Find them and report them immediately. One of the reasons why the mobile channel is so effective is a) the lack of noise (spam) on the networks, and b) the ease at which mobile message lists can be blocked. Simply reply with STOP to any message you receive and your're done. Now then, you may still find the odd unscrupulous marketers sending messages without the compulsory 'Opt out (Reply STOP to Unsubscribe) message. When you do, report it.
Be clear to to your subscribers how many emails they may receive each month, and certainly, how many mobile messages they could expect to receive and WHY. Give them a clear description of your value proposition is. For example, will your email and mobile messages offer: (1) tips and tools on how to run their business more efficiently, (2) product updates from your company, or (3) special offers? Your audience will want to know “why” they should subscribe before they decide to further clutter their inbox with even more emails. They will certainly check your value proposition before allowing you access to their mobile number. Remember, people nowadays have upwards of 10 email addresses. These are used primarily for list traffic emails. With a couple of rules sent up in their email client, every one of those messages will end up in their promotions folder. One day, it they have time, they may sift through the many thousand emails there. Will they find yours?
Segment Lists to Match Your Priorities
Are you concerned that you are emailing your subscribers too often? Give this thought a break and instead ask yourself if you are emailing the right people with the right message. In order to retain your email subscribers, you’ll need to provide them with ongoing value that is targeted to their needs. Make sure you are segmenting based on knowledge you have about your recipients.
Optimize and Test
Try not to limit your email and mobile message testing only to subject lines or first paragraphs (mobile). Test the various elements in your marketing efforts to optimize the performance of each channel. Alternate message content, landing pages, colors, videos, even MMS over SMS, they them all to see which variant performs the best, the ‘rinse and repeat’. If you are not sure where to start, google A/B split testing and you'll find hundreds of articles. This one here is a good place to start.