Having an extensive email list is a powerful tool for any business, whether your strategy is focused on B2C or B2B. If you have ample subscribers, you can form them into an online army of evangelists who will march in support of your next product, service, solution, or idea.

An email list is also a powerful way to track a lead’s progress along the buyer’s journey, propelling them to a sale that will benefit everyone.

However, and this is a big however, the way you grow your list is very important. If you attract the wrong people to sign up, the number of subscribers you have won’t be an accurate reflection of the power of your list because your online army will include tons of deadweight. 

To quote an old cigarette commercial, “It’s not how long you make it. It’s how you make it long.” In other words, you have to grow your list in a way that will attract the right subscribers. How can you do that?

Goodies and Giveaways to Drive Subscribers

There are many ways for a company to grow its email list, and one of those ways is to offer a free goodie in return for a potential customer’s email. Many companies even run giveaways to their lists, raffling off expensive prizes to get more people to sign up.

Marketo, for example, asks for your email in order to get most of their digital resources, such as ebooks and digital definitive guides.

It is true that giveaways and free goodies will convince people to sign up to your email newsletter, making this a powerful tactic, but there are some questions you need to ask yourself to make sure your offer is attracting the right subscribers.

Is the Goodie Right for asking for an email?

Firstly, is the Goodie big and important enough to warrant asking for an email in order to get it? Your company may offer an ebook, cheat sheet, or definitive guide to potential customers. How do you know if you should ask for an email first?

Returning to the example of Marketo, they will offer some things like this helpful video with no email required, but they’ll offer other things, like this definitive email marketing guide, only if you sign up with your name and email. What’s the difference?

Is length or quality the differentiator here? Not really. You want all your goodies to be of the utmost quality.

Instead, you may want to think about who the Goodie is intended for. Is the product designed for leads that are just starting their buyer’s journey? In that case, maybe you should allow them to get the Goodie for free, without the extra friction of giving up an email.

After all, someone who has just found you may not be willing to give you that level of permission. In that case, just asking for an email may be enough of a barrier to entry that the potential customer moves on.

Is the Goodie, however, something meant for someone already further along in their buyer’s journey? If so, getting their email can be a great way to track their progress and follow up, perhaps sealing the deal as a result. And, since they have already started to trust your brand, they won’t have any problem parting with their email address to get that Goodie.

Does the Goodie harmonize with your Ideal Customer?

Look again at Marketo’s two example above. The things they offer as resources on their website fit perfectly with their overall marketing message. As a result, they are exactly the kind of things that can attract ideal customers for what Marketo offers. That is not by accident.

Let’s say you choose to offer a free iPhone to new signups. How many subscribers can you attract? Thousands, perhaps.

But how many of those new subscribers are only on your list for the prize? How may care, or even know, what your company does? More importantly, does your company even offer a product or service that could help them if they cared to find out about it?

If your company focuses on B2B, giving away an iPhone would make no sense. In fact, there are few companies in the world that could make such a giveaway work for them.

The kind of goodie you offer, just as with every bit of your content, must be in harmony with your ideal customer. If the goodie you offer doesn’t match any of your already fleshed out buyer personas, you’re probably wasting time and money with the giveaway.

Offer Your Newsletter to the Right People

Even if your goodie harmonizes perfectly with your brand, and with your ideal customer, you still have to be careful about who you advertise your offer to. Why is that?

People don’t always understand what it is your business does, and they may not understand if your offer is for them or not. If they are confused, they may sign up for a newsletter that won’t help them in order to get a Goodie that won’t help them.

The danger there? These subscribers ignore your emails once they figure it all out. That affects your open rates. Or worse, they mark you as spam, affecting your deliverability to others that really could use what you offer in your emails.

So choosing wisely where you advertise your email signup is important. And wording the offer to target only those that will truly benefit will keep your numbers lean and powerful.

Yes, email marketing is a powerful aspect of your overall marketing strategy. It’s a special division of content marketing because it is content for a very specific group, content they gave permission for you to send to their inboxes.

But this tool is only useful if you gather people to your list that belong there. That means targeting your Goodies and giveaways to fit your buyer personas, and making your offer stand out to only your ideal audience. Only then will the people on your list be that army of supporters that can take any company, small or large, to the next level.

The Clever Content Club

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