Spring 2015
5 Ways to Use Social Media to Build Your Email List

Eighty-four percent of consumers say they’ve purchased from a brand’s email message over the past six months, according to Salesforce’s 2014 Mobile Behavior Report. That is a statistic—and a sales channel—that cannot be ignored. Since 57 percent of email recipients forward the brand’s message to others and 34 percent share the information with their social media network, you can use email to boost sales and viral exposure. Even if you don’t sell online, email—more so than social media—is a proven method to engage your customers.

Collecting customer email addresses is imperative because it builds a dependable platform; one that you own versus platforms like Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. At any time those platforms can shut down or change so you have to pay for exposure, or they could get hacked. If you have your own customer database you never have to start over.

There are ways to continually build that database. Here are five tips to do just that.

email-021. Make it easy to join your list. An opt-in box—where customers input their email address and other personal data—should be prominently displayed on your website. Third-party email marketing providers like AWeber, Constant Contact, SnapRetail, MailChimp and iContact offer off-the-shelf opt-in forms that you can add to your website. You can use their pre-packaged designs, or—more preferably—create a custom design to match your brand.

Make sure you don’t ask for too much information and be clear on the form what the consumer is opting in to receive (i.e., exclusive deals). At the very least, ask for an email address and first name. You could also ask for a birthdate if you do any special promotions during a birthday month, or a phone number if you call or text leads. Keep in mind that the more information you ask for, the fewer opt-ins
you’ll receive.

The majority of email marketing services also have forms you can add to your Facebook page. Opt-in forms on your Facebook page are helpful because the customer knows and trusts Facebook and uses it daily.

To add an opt-in form to your Facebook page, use the free app supplied by your email service provider. Use Facebook’s search bar to locate the app. Here’s what a simple custom MailChimp form looks like. It allows Crystal Media’s Facebook page to collect email addresses of retailers.

2. Create a valuable opt-in offer. More people will subscribe to your list if you offer something in return—like a money-off coupon or invitation to a private event. Clearly communicate your offer on your website, opt-in form and social media outlets.

The offer doesn’t always have to be money off; it could also be a free consultation or a service like complimentary jewelry cleaning. Make sure your offer presents a real value to your customer.

Here’s an example from Luxy Hair, a clip-in hair extensions company, that features an opt-in box on its website. It clearly states what you get when you join.

It’s important that you have signage at your kiosk or within your store that also announces the offer. Anyone visiting your store is a perfect candidate for your email list. If people like your products, they’re going to want to receive your emails.

email-043. Host a contest. To see a higher conversion rate of people joining your email list, host a contest where the consumer needs to give you their email address to enter to win something; whether it be product, a gift certificate, local sporting tickets, concert tickets, a trip or more.

When running a contest on social media, use an application like http://woobox.com to collect email addresses. It’s featured in this example (top, right) from Angie’s Boomchickapop Facebook page.

4. Promote. Just because you have an opt-in form and email list that doesn’t mean anyone knows about it. Invite people to subscribe. Tell them why they should join: access to exclusive deals, private event invitations or simply being the first to know about new product arrivals.

Schedule posts to go out on all the social media outlets you use, like Facebook or Twitter, or pin images of a past email you sent with a link to your opt-in box. Promote your email list monthly on all of the platforms you use.

5. Run a Facebook ad. Finally, you can run an ad that links to your opt-in form on your website or Facebook page (or both). Facebook only shows your posts organically to about 3 to 5 percent of your likes so if you want to reach the other 90+ percent, you’ll want to do so using ads.

Allisyn Deyo-Martin

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