Improve your Email Acquisition Strategy (8 Growth Tips)

Improve your Email Acquisition Strategy (8 Growth Tips)

written by Houston Golden
Founder & CEO, BAMF Media
July 9th, 2020
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Email marketers often have to deal with high email churn rates, low email open rates, and an array of metrics that show one thing – the leads you generate simply aren’t good.

I can’t stress this enough. You NEED to have a decent email acquisition strategy BEFORE you start collecting leads.

One question most business owners ask email marketers is how to get more emails in their list.

That’s one of the biggest questions every business wants to answer.

Whether you collect your emails at the awareness or interest stages of your growth marketing funnel, you can ALWAYS boost your revenue in some way by having a bigger email list.

But most of the time to achieve the desired effect you need to consider the health and warmth of the leads your generate.

Are they actually interested in what you have to offer?

Will they open your emails out of interest?

You certainly don’t want to have the “spam” mark next to your name JUST because your leads don’t find the information you have to offer interesting or valuable.

That’s why I decided to share with you 8 quick ideas for improving your email acquisition strategy without breaking the bank.

TIP #1: Have a clear S.M.A.R.T. Goal

The first step that MOST owners (and even some marketers) miss is setting a clear goal related to the purpose of the emails they want to collect.

The goal should be clear, concise and reflect the bigger movements within the company.

Let’s say you are just starting up. You get 10,000 emails from your email marketing campaign. What do you do with them?

Having an existing content marketing strategy will solve your problem. If you have timely, informative, and engaging content to share with your audience on a regular basis, too many leads is a must.

But if your sales team can’t handle more than 100 leads per week, then this might be a bottleneck for your business.

As crazy as it might seem …

Believe me, having TOO many warm leads can be a problem.

A lot of growth marketers might counter me and say …

“Hey, if the sales team is a bottleneck, fix that bottleneck.”

But, especially for startups, fixing ONE bottleneck, will only move that bottleneck further down the pipeline.

And you certainly don’t want to deal with constant frustrations and bottlenecks.

This will reflect poorly on your teams, leads, and existing customers.

As NO ONE will receive proper treatment, appreciation, or satisfaction.

To solve this, you need to improve your goal.

Have a clear goal that is consistent with your current resources.

To start your email acquisition strategy and lead generation efforts THE RIGHT WAY, you must first define your goal.

A properly defined goal will allow you to scale up and pay proper attention to the different cogs in your company as they move.

How to define your Email Acquisition Goal?

Start by taking a piece of paper (or open up a Google Docs file) and write down the answers to the following questions.

  • How many leads do you want to gain each month?
  • What type of lead growth would ensure the long-term success of your business?
  • In what way would you engage with your leads once they’ve entered their email in your list?

These are the three main questions that you need to answer prior to choosing the tactics for your email marketing if you want to keep your metrics in check.

email acquisition, Improve your Email Acquisition Strategy (8 Growth Tips)

You can also print out (or digitally edit) the above BAMF Strategy card for a S.M.A.R.T. goal so that you have a reference to your email goals.

A clear goal that is continuously refined will allow you to scale up your lead generation efforts better and in a way that WON’T harm your company, but will rather HELP it grow in the long run.

TIP #2 Build out Reward-based Lead Gen Magnet Acquisition

The most simple rule for improving your email acquisition is to just reward your leads.

It’s the “lead magnet tactic” but I suggest you take it ONE step further.

Think about WHY lead magnets work.

You’ll read a ton of articles, tips, and blog posts that say “write an eBook” or “create a lead magnet” suggesting that you create simple digital resources that help you collect leads.

While digital resources DO work, you should FIRST think about your audience, their expectations, and the resources they will find VALUABLE.

Notice the use of the word “VALUABLE,” not “helpful.”

You should consider that your lead magnet is a REWARD.

Your lead will perceive your “lead magnet” and judge it based on the expected value they consider reasonable in return for their email.

This comes down to the basic reciprocity systems we have in our brains that define the VALUE of what we give and the expectation we have about the VALUE we get in return.

Your leads expect VALUE, not “help” or a “resource” and this VALUE comes in many shapes, forms, and sizes.

This value might be different, depending on your audience.

A discount coupon is a great example.

Most B2C and eCommerce business owners know that an eBook doesn’t work as well as a coupon does for email collection.

At the same time, an email from an executive will be more valuable than an email from a hobbyist.

An executive OFTEN checks their email and processes pretty much everything related to their job through that email.

For them, the address is a valuable asset that ALLOWS them to do their job properly.

So they might not be as willing to give their email in return for a simple infographic.

It probably won’t do the job… especially in 2022.

So to create your “lead magnet” you should think of it as a reward.

Think about the customer’s perception of the VALUE related to the address they give you.

How to create a Lead Magnet?

The first step towards the creation of a lead magnet is to think about your resources. The second step is to analyze the customer evaluation of those resources.

To do that all you need to have is a two-column table.

Create a simple chart in Excel or a two-column table document in Google Docs or just do it by hand on a list of paper with two separate columns.

email acquisition, Improve your Email Acquisition Strategy (8 Growth Tips)

You can also print out our BAMF Strategy sheet for lead magnet evaluation to help you out in the process.

On top of one of the columns write “Resources and Rewards I can give/creative/provide” on the other write “Value to the Customer.”

At this point, of course, it is presumed that you already have an ideal customer set in place. (If you don’t, check out our article on creating a growth launch plan right here)

This list will help you to try to come up with something specific, potentially exclusive, and something FREE of value that YOU and YOUR business are able to provide.

So in the first column, list down ALL the potential resources your business HAS and CAN give out to the customer in return for their email.

In the second column, write down a grade from 1-10 on what the perceived value of the customer might be.

To come up with that number, you can use Google to research specific niche forums or if you are confident that you know your ideal persona, try to put yourself in your shoes.

Once you have completed your rough analysis, you can start implementing and A/B testing your lead magnet.

IF you are the head of a BIG corporation, the analysis should be far more sophisticated and you SHOULD spend far more time developing and implementing the solution.

However, the basic idea is still the same. And if you are heading a startup, I suggest that you spend ENOUGH time strategizing, but MORE time implementing, as the direct implementation is FAR more important for a startup than polishing out all the different small kinks and ensuring that everything is 100% on point. 90-99% is enough to start.

TIP #3 Consider the Email Habits of your Leads

Another important factor in your email acquisition or lead generation strategy is to consider the habits of your customers.

  • How often do they check their email?
  • How many emails do they receive on average?
  • What’s the average type of email they receive?
  • What’s the most common type of email they would open?

Finding the answers to all of these questions will help you determine the type of emails and campaigns you need to include in your email marketing strategy.

Your acquisition strategy, the type of lead magnet, and the number of emails (and timing of those emails) that you are to send to your newfound lead are directly related to the answers to the questions above.

For example, if you don’t know how much attention your customers pay to their inbox, you wouldn’t be able to properly evaluate your conversion rates.

Another example related to the decision process of creating an email campaign where the digital habits of your customers come into play is the writing of your headline.

Should your subject line be personalized, emotional, shocking, or informative?

Some email marketers will say all of the above, but almost everyone agrees that IF you understand HOW your customers CHECK and USE their email you will have a better perspective in the evaluation of your email campaigns.

How to Research the Digital Habits of your Customers?

Almost every type of customer research starts with a simple Google search.

The search should help you find valuable information about your leads that will help you with your email marketing efforts.

You are looking for enough evidence to help you evaluate and create a clear picture of how and when your customers are using and checking their emails.

email acquisition, Improve your Email Acquisition Strategy (8 Growth Tips)

To find the correct answers, you can print out or digitally edit the BAMF Strategy card for Digital Email Habits above and keep it as a reminder during your search to know the information you want to find.

When it comes to the research itself, it can be as extensive or concise as you’d like. However, we suggest being thorough enough to the point where you are confident with the information you’ve found.

First, try to collect as many statistics as you can about the industry you are in and email marketing.

Average open and conversion rates, the number of emails your customers receive on a daily basis and more WILL provide at least some basic clarity on the state of your customer’s inbox on each given day.

Then, depending on the most common occupation, research the work hours, flexibility, and everyday challenges of your customers.

Look for findings that will allow you to understand the daily and weekly habits of your customers.

Do they start their day by checking their phone?

Do they check social media when at work, how often do they check it?

Do they work in an office or are they physically occupied during their work hours?

All parts of your research should focus on finding insights into your customer’s digital habits.

If you already haven’t (in your ideal customer research) try to also find any relevant information, such as pet ownership, interests, political opinions, most common entertainment choices, and more.

Compare your findings with the industry averages and create analysis, based on a clear evaluation.

TIP #4 Solve a Real World Problem

Usually, this tip is given to entrepreneurs when consulting them on the businesses and brands they create.

However, it can also be translated to your lead generation campaign.

Think about the acquisition cost of your leads that you can afford and create a new campaign that’s centered around GIVING BACK to the community in return for their email.

That way, you’ll both be helping out to the world, but also gaining leads for your business in one single action.

Donate $1 for each person that subscribes to your newsletter to a charity that your ideal customer cares about or would donate to themselves.

It’s far better than giving out a $1 discount and will certainly help raise the goodwill of your customers towards your brand.

Consider the impact of your campaign and the leads you want to target with it, as ultimately you want those leads to be warm when they come in your funnel.

Similar campaigns can go viral, so targeting and proper management of the campaigns should be of the highest importance when building out the implementation of such a strategy within your broader acquisition efforts and the marketing efforts of your business.

TIP #5 Build out a Feedback Survey

People love sharing their opinions.

That’s why you see thousands of tweets, comments, and social media posts send out each day.

We are an opinionated bunch and we feel like we are adding value by sharing our thoughts and perspective.

And most of the time, we do.

But more often than not, we FORGET about showing appreciation to the customer or VALUING their opinion and just want to push our own agenda and vision.

While this tip might go back to your broader inbound marketing strategy, it also works as a quick email acquisition tactic.

Creating a feedback survey won’t only give you new leads and emails, but might also ensure that you receive valuable feedback for your product and/or business.

In addition, people would usually be spending more time with your brand, which always results in better awareness.

Your leads will feel included in the creation of your product. This might prove not only powerful but also highly beneficial to the development of your brand, vision, and product.

Just make sure that you both target the right leads, but also build out your feedback loop in a way that provides your leads with the right value and allows you to implement the feedback that you receive.

Here are a few feedback lead gen ideas

  • Include a “Private Comment” Popup in your blog posts – prompt your users to send an email with their thoughts on your article that WON’T be publicly visible (like in the comments section)
  • Provide them with a free trial ONLY in return for their feedback – it will improve the “gain” factor of your free trial by allowing your users to earn it for a few minutes of their time

These ideas will usually require more time for strategizing, research, analysis, and execution but are often underutilized by most companies.

Thus, if you feel confident in your other email acquisition tactics, make sure to try out something different by working with your team on one of the ideas above.

TIP #6 Have an Exit PopUp

One of the more powerful email acquisition tactics that often gets either underused or misused is an exit popup strategy.

This is basically a popup that appears in front of your customer when they try to leave a specific page.

Usually, this is the best type of popup and is far better than popups that appear on a scroll or the immediate IN-YOUR-FACE popups that might prompt you to avoid a page altogether.

While it might be relatively shocking to the customer (as they probably won’t expect it) and it might seem clingy to you (i.e. feel as if you are begging them to stay) when this tactic is utilized properly it can do wonders for your email acquisition strategy.

How to Create an Exit PopUp (with OptinMonster)

To create an exit popup, you should use a plugin or software that works with your website.

There’s an array of different options on the market, but for the purpose of this tutorial, we’ll use OptinMonster to create our exit popup.

Sign up for our email newsletter to stay updated on our newest software reviews and growth hacks!

Start by registering (and paying, when necessary) for the software you want to use.

email acquisition, Improve your Email Acquisition Strategy (8 Growth Tips)

Connect the software to your website by following the provided tutorials.

email acquisition, Improve your Email Acquisition Strategy (8 Growth Tips)

Don’t forget to also connect the tool with your existing email marketing platform.

email acquisition, Improve your Email Acquisition Strategy (8 Growth Tips)

Go to the screen that allows you to create a new popup campaign.

email acquisition, Improve your Email Acquisition Strategy (8 Growth Tips)

Select one of the existing templates (or create your own)

Design your PopUp with the messages you want to appear on the screen.

email acquisition, Improve your Email Acquisition Strategy (8 Growth Tips)

Make sure it’s simple and not overwhelming for the customer.

Also, try to avoid repetition with any other popups they might have already seen from you.

email acquisition, Improve your Email Acquisition Strategy (8 Growth Tips)

Based on the software tool you are using, adjust when the pop will appear and at which pages of your website it will pop up in front of the customer when they are leaving.

email acquisition, Improve your Email Acquisition Strategy (8 Growth Tips)

Click the “Publish” button and start tracking your results.

Don’t forget to track the KPIs related to your popup and do A/B tests when necessary.

TIP #7 Consider ALL possible Lead Gen Channels

Lead generation doesn’t start and stop with your OWNED media channels. (Owned media is defined as your website, social media, and email marketing tactics)

How many times have you found yourself talking to another founder at a conference, making a connection, and ultimately earning them as a customer?

But when you think about the nature of the conference space, being surrounded by like-minded individuals in an environment that SPARKS conversation about business and solutions, it’s easier to see WHY conferences are such powerful lead gen spaces.

So why don’t you transfer this type of thinking and ideas to the digital space?

Think about where your ideal customers reside online.

This tactic is true regardless of the nature of your business. Your business might be B2B or B2C and you’d still be able to use this tactic.

In fact, do you know what AirBnB did to improve their awareness and acquisition?

They thought about the places people would SEARCH for low rent spaces for vacations and went there. Craigslist.

It’s the case study of the decade.

And you can achieve similar success with your email strategy if you simply start pushing your efforts towards channels that MAKE SENSE for your business.

Digital Channels for Lead Generation (Underutilized)

Here’s a list of common underutilized channels that might help you get started.

  • Reddit
  • Quora
  • Twitch
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Specialty Forums (every niche has one)
  • Facebook Groups
  • Closed Door Niche Communities online
  • Highly Popular Niche Blogs

Sometimes a guest blog on a popular niche forum can do wonders when utilized as an email generation tactic.

TIP #8 Think of it as a SALE

Okay, the biggest growth mindset hack I can share with you is that you should think of ANY customer/lead/prospect-to-business transaction like a sale.

You are making a sale.

You are selling some sort of a reward or a lead gen magnet in return for their email.

So, yes, email is the currency. But it’s still a sale.

Thinking of the transaction as a sale will shift your mindset in ANY creation process when doing your tactical implementation.

“Okay, what am I giving in return?”

“What is the state of the customer at that stage of the sales experience?”

These questions will start popping up in your head just because you’ve decided to shift your mindset when thinking about email marketing.

And it’s the most powerful thing.

If you are an owner, it helps you with your funnel evaluations. If you are a marketer, it will shift your attitude towards the SERIOUSNESS of the actions you are making within the business.

I’ve seen TOO many email marketers that think “eh, it’s just an X” … well, it isn’t.

Whatever X is, if it’s a part of your email marketing tactical implementation, it’s important to the process at hand and will help you achieve your goals.

About the Author

The name's Houston Golden. I'm the Founder & CEO of BAMF — a company I've grown from $0 (yes, really) to well over $5M+ in revenue over a span of 5 years.

How did I do it? Well, it's quite simple, really. I've helped hundreds of business owners and executives get major traction (because when they win, we win), I tell all on this blog.

Growth hacking is a state of mind. Follow along as I explore and expose the unknown growth strategies and tactics that will change the way you think about marketing.
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