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Ask Us Anything about List Growth




At this point, you’ve probably heard the stats: 66% of online consumers have made a purchase as a result of an email. Email yields an average 3800% ROI – more than that of any other digital channel.
But in order to reap the incredible benefits email has to offer, you have to start with a strong foundation. You know your email marketing efforts will be fruitless without a quality, engaged list of subscribers… but how do you build your email list the right way?
During this live Q&A, you’ll:

  • • Learn all the right methods to carefully curate an email list.

  • • Discover the tools you can use to grow your list quickly and easily.

  • • Get all your list growth questions answered by our panel of experts.

Carly: Hi, everyone. Welcome to today’s presentation, “Ask Us Anything About List Growth.” I’m Carly and I’m the director of Partnerships here at Emma. What that means is I develop and nurture relationships with other great brands like Privy in the marketing and technology space in hopes of providing the best experience possible for all of our customers through our partnerships and integrations. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Emma, Emma is a provider of best in class email marketing software and services that help organizations of all sizes get more from their marketing. Through tailor and additions of our platform for businesses, franchises, retailers, restaurants, universities, agencies, Emma offers enterprise-level capabilities and a team-friendly experience that’s simple and enjoyable. If you wanna learn more, check us out at

So I’m gonna be your moderator for today’s discussion. And before I introduce you to some folks around the table, I wanna do a little bit of housekeeping. We will send a recording of today’s presentation after this, so if you need to hop off the phone or you just wanna share the presentation with a colleague or friend, we’ve got you covered. This is after all an Ask Us Anything, so we will be taking your questions. So if you didn’t ask one at registration and tons of you did, thanks for that, please type them directly into the GoToWebinar chat modal. You’re muted for the duration of today’s presentation, so type any questions you have and we’ll be sure to add them to the list.

All right, so we’ve got a great jam-packed hour for you here today. Head of today’s Q&A, our friend Ben from Privy. We’ll do a short presentation for us all about list growth to help set the stage, and I’ll start with the Q&A. So I wanna first, let’s go around and hear from everyone who’s with us. Let’s me start with you, Becca.

Becca: Hi, I’m Becca Foreman. I’m a client success manager here at Emma and what that means is that I work with some of our VIP customers to ensure that they have everything they need throughout their email marketing life cycle and help kinda guide them around the house here at Emma.

Emma: Hey guys, I’m Emma Matthews. I am the director of Professional Services here at Emma. We have a team, a couple of teams actually that make up Professional Services. We have a design team, a team of email specialists, and then also a technical services team. Our goal is to help our clients use their Emma account to the fullest and also see the best results from their email marketing efforts.

Carly: Awesome. And last but not least, Ben, and then if you just wanna hop right into your presentation.

Ben: Sure. Thanks, Carly. Thanks for having me, everyone. I’ll just jump right in and chat a little bit for 10 or 15 minutes about list growth to set the stage for today’s Q&A. So, I’m Ben. I’m the founder of Privy. We power list growth and onsite overlays for over 100,000 sites and growing, and super proud to say that we’ve got great brands like Ellen DeGeneres, Uniqlo, the Beatles, many, many more. And let’s jump right into it. So, I wanna kinda go back in time and have you think back a couple years ago and what your team conversations were like. What was that number one priority, right? At the time, it was all about how do we drive traffic and the world was changing. So rather than cold calling or Super Bowl ads, we’re realizing that we could attract visitors through search and we’re doing everything we could to get a link back from high-ranking sites and rank higher ourselves.

So today, you know, we know those answers for the most part. It’s not easy and you may not rank number one, but you generally know where to go if you’re trying to drive traffic. The last couple of years, there’s been a lot of talk about what do you do with those contacts after you have them? You know, and it’s about that nurturing chart that you’ve probably written up so many times, right? Some of us probably over complicate our lead nurture or you feel like you haven’t done enough with it. We see both pretty regularly, but again, you kinda know the answers on what you should be doing.

And today, I think whether you know it or not, our biggest problem today is that we all suck at conversion and that’s the truth. You know, across you know, hundreds of thousands of sites, we’ve seen this stat that eMarketer put out to really remain true, and it’s that 90% of the traffic who is coming to your site is actually leaving without completing the goal that you want them to complete, whether that’s joining your list, making a purchase, signing up for a demo or a sales call, whatever that is. And if you think about how that impacts your funnel, in a perfect world, you’ve got one continuous flow of traffic through nurturing, through first purchase or repeats. But if the average is only 2%, then all that hard work that you’ve put in around these follow-up campaigns and automation series aren’t even scratching the surface in terms of the impact they should be having on your business. So that leaves all of us sitting there saying, you know, “How do I really grow my list or my business?”

I think it’s important to take a step back before you rush into A/B testing your forums and try to understand what’s really happening. So let’s take a real-life example and put your mind in that of a shopper walking into a store, right? So imagine 100 people are walking into the store, whether they’re driven there by the location of the store, as word of mouth. It doesn’t really matter. According to the industry average, 98 people are gonna walk right out without even talking to the store associate. How sad would that make you feel if you were the owner of that shop? And in reality, would those people even remember being there? There’s no real opportunity to re-engage these people, especially if they’ve walked out the door, right? There’s no way to turn them into customers or potential customers again if they leave before you engage them.

And I think it’s important for us to take that and bring that to our kind of current jobs, whether you’re in B2B or B2C, and remember that, you know, whether we like it or not, we’re all in sales and there’s really two kind of examples here. One is kind of Orange Leaf right? You walk in and maybe there’s a high school student behind the counter who has barely recognized that you walked in is not helpful at all, right? That’s one side of it. And then the other is the salesman who’s kinda selling you that car and way over aggressive. So I think we need to find the balance and it’s probably somewhere in between those two. But the beauty of playing in digital is that you know that everyone on your site is actually behaving differently, so you can put strategies in place that serve these people based on what you know about them.

So if that’s the case, most of us aren’t doing that and that’s what’s the issue, right? So we’re treating all these visitors the same, like we’re checkout person at McDonald’s and asking every single one of them if they want fries with that. But that’s not what the best salespeople are doing, right? So this is Vince. He’s our good friend. He’s always a top performer in sales and what he does best, just like all the best salespeople, is that they’re taking cues from what people are thinking about, maybe what they’re looking at, and then at the right time, he’s jumping in with the right message. So why do all our sites behave differently, right? Why aren’t we all trying to do this at scale on our site? And it’s hard, right, you need to take all these things you know about the visitors and use that information appropriately based on how they find your site. You should be able to take many guesses and for a bunch of information about what stage in the buying process they’re in, and serve them properly.

So everyone’s heard the term personalization and we really feel that it’s not a buzzword. Just kidding, it’s incredibly buzzy. How about conversion rate optimization or list growth, growth hacking, whatever? These are all buzzwords and that’s the truth. We should really just be talking about better marketing. So what does that actually look like? And this is where it starts to get interesting about list growth. So we love this stat and through all the years of marketing, it really remains true. Most people are willing to give you their information, especially their email in exchange for something that’s clearly defined benefits, right? So with that in mind, what is your offer, so to speak? Is it a join our email list and we’ll send you great information about product stuff down the road? Is it an actual incentive? You know, in e-commerce or retail and maybe get 20% off your first purchase? For B2B folks, it could be join our list and we’ll send you this great white paper, a piece of gated content, or it could even be more aggressive with this concept of sweepstakes.

And as you kind of think about each of these different campaign types, of course, these are gonna carry the biggest impact on your conversion rate of converting visitors into leads. So once you’ve thought through what your offer is going to be, how do you make it relevant? Think about what you know about these customers, what language is their browser set to? Where are they coming from? How did they find you? What page are they on? All of these can be used to create a relevant, consistent message that’s going to increase the likelihood of them joining your list.

So what does that actually look like? So this is a perfect example, right? Let’s take Susie [SP] on the left here. She arrives on your site and perhaps in the past, she’s already purchased your most popular product. So in this case, you may actually think about using an overlay to generate new product awareness based on what she purchased in the past. Or let’s say Jeff [SP] lands on the site for the first time looking for your red sweater. Be sure that any sort of overlay or email capture that you’re thinking about with Jeff is targeted maybe using the red sweater in the imagery or in the messages.

So after you’ve thought through that, you need to think about how you’re actually going to display this on the site. Is it a pop-up window? Is it a fly out? Is it a banner? We’ve seen that all of these can be really effective based on where and when they’re displayed, especially when you’ve got a really strong offer that you’re thinking about.

And lastly, it’s about thinking about when is the right time to display that campaign based on the action that they’ve taken on the site, right? So is it gonna be based on a timer if they match the targeting criteria or is it if they’re scrolling down, you know, maybe 75% of a blog post, or maybe it’s using something called exit intent, where they’re actually tracking the mouse movement and as they go to leave the site, that’s what prompts the campaign?

And these days, you need to remind yourself that the concept of a pop up is not a dirty word, right? People have a cringe-worthy reaction, but list growth doesn’t necessarily mean pop up, you know, there’s all these other displays, but they are incredibly effective, which is why you’re seeing more and more of them and they really do remove friction, making it easier and quicker for those who wanna engage with your brand or your business.

So just to walk through a handful of examples, you can think about tailoring the message based on the trigger as well. So in this case, you’re seeing it an exit intent form that actually recognizes that you’re trying to capture them before they leave, right? Wait, don’t go yet. In this one, this is a customer of ours shared with Emma called GoldieBlox. They’re really just getting started in this instance and they had a welcome offer and they took the time to make sure that it looks good on their site, it’s consistent with their brand, and this had been incredibly effective for them.

For B2B or B2C folks that are kind of thinking to themselves, we don’t do any couponing, that’s not our brand, this is a really good example of a piece of content that Mario Batali uses to incentivize email capture. And so on Earth Day and many other recognized holidays, they take the time, they put together a great visual PDF and they gave that behind email signup and that usually adds tens of thousands of subscribers every time they run a campaign like that without feeling like they’re discounting the brand. This is a technique that works very well in B2B as well.

And then if you’re a retail or restaurant and you’re kind of already enabling prints coupons, you know, just simply changing your behavior a little bit and putting those behind email capture can have a huge impact on the size and quality of your list. We’ll talk about all this. And these are just a couple of quick examples, but what we’ve seen is that when marketers and business owners are investing in conversion, then they can really do amazing things and everyone loves them, right? You become the team hero when you push the industry standards and what we’ve seen is you know, forget about the 2% that you’re converting today or less. We’ve seen these users pushing over 10% conversion from visitor to sign up, which is really amazing.

Couple other examples for those sitting there saying, “I don’t really understand a lot about targeting or anything like that,” this is a great example, right? So this is a really, really small business that, prior to implementing these sorts of techniques just had an embed form and you know, their lists hadn’t grown in years. And then, what they did was they added this onsite overlay, there’s no coupon attached to it, and within a couple months, they’ve already added over 5,000 new subscribers with no coupon whatsoever. That was a 8% visit to sign up rate, really amazing.

This is master class. So this is another kind of higher-end brand, and they really wanna focus on no coupons because it just doesn’t make sense for them. So what they did kind of like Batali, they had some targeted campaigns that would only load on specific pages that were triggered when you would scroll a certain percent of the way down the page and they just offered you sneak peeks, essentially just exclusive content that you couldn’t get anywhere after registering for the form.

This is Project Repat often business, one of those companies where you ship them old tee shirts and they turn them into cozy blankets and they realized that for them, it was really unlikely that a first time visitor was gonna make a purchase. So what they did was they shifted their kind of goal for first-time visitors on the site away from trying to complete the purchase and more about trying to capture the email. And they matched that up with some really educational, amazing visual welcome series in the hopes that that would drive the visitors back. And they moved, you know, from less than 1% conversion rate to over 12%, and then they added some additional kind of targeted overlays that were specific to people that had a certain amount of money in the cart and were able to reduce the number of carts that would have normally been abandoned by over 10%.

Last up is Klean Kanteen, is a mission-driven water bottle company. They originally had one lightbox on pop up that loaded no matter who you are, whether you were a first time visitor or back for your 10th time. And they rolled up their sleeves and they decided to understand how many different kind of referral channels there were, and they realized there was about 40 of them. And so what they did was they actually created very specific campaigns that were targeted and the message and the imagery matched the 40 of their top kind of referral sources and they were able to increase the number of opt-ins essentially by time and a half, not bad.

All right, so just in closing, you’re probably wondering where do you really start and for us, we encourage simplicity. So we definitely recommend launching a super basic form even if it’s not overly targeted, just to remove the friction of how much time or how many clicks it takes to actually register as a lead or join your email list. From there, step two would be think about the traffic that’s coming to your site a little bit differently and perhaps target one campaign to desktop traffic and think about another format that’s perhaps a bit more subtle targeted to mobile traffic. You wanna think about beyond that, some page relevant campaigns based on that user journey and then once you’re thinking about these techniques, then you wanna think about A/B testing and improving opt-in rates. But until you have the basics in place and get comfortable with the techniques, I wouldn’t even get started on the more advanced things yet. Thanks, everyone.

Carly: Awesome. Thanks, Ben. That was great. We’re going to bring in the questions, but before we get to the first one, Zach just mentioned that he met some of our folks at Digital Summit in Atlanta. So hi, Zach. Glad you were able to meet with Casey, she’s awesome. You’re in good hands. So let’s jump right into some questions. We’ll start with one from Megan. So Megan is asking, “How do you balance growing your list while maintaining an engaged audience? Do you recommend cleaning your list of inactive subscribers every year?” I think, Emma, this is probably a good one for you to answer?

Emma: Yeah, sure. I’d love to. So there’s actually a couple of good points in there. One would be, how do you balance…well, two questions. One will be how do you balance your list while maintaining an engaged audience? I would say that you maintain an engaged audience by growing your list. So those are two things that need to always be happening at the same time. What we like to do at Emma and typically, what we’ll recommend is that a welcome series can increase long-term brand engagement. So as soon as someone signs up being absolutely sure that you have a welcome email or welcome series in place. If there’s, you know, one takeaway from this webinar that would be my personal choice. It is just so extremely important.

So what we recommend a lot of times for clients that we’re working within our services department is that they come on board, they join an email list, they start getting a welcome series and then we suppress them from getting all the other marketing emails that the current audience is getting, so that they’re going through the welcome series and they’re getting that specific content tailored to what a new subscriber would receive more education, thought leadership, storytelling, testimonials, all of that stuff to really help them integrate with the brand. And then once they’re through that welcome series, they’re able to join the rest of the audience and continue getting the great content that you’re sending.

So the second part of that question, do you recommend cleaning your list of inactive subscribers every year? I would argue that we wanna think about let’s clean up in a different way in that we don’t wanna just wait till the end of the year and start removing people. We wanna acknowledge that majority of your list is not opening your emails. We say a lot of times that around 20% to 25% of open rates is the industry average, but really anywhere else in life, the odds of 20%, 25% would not be that good. So I like to think that reengagement and I call it more like just reconnecting with people who are not opening your emails is something that should be done frequently and often. And recognizing that if you’re sending an email every week, if someone hasn’t opened an email, maybe two months, they’ve had eight opportunities, what you’re sending may not be working for them or the frequency at which you’re sending. So thinking about reconnecting with them so that you don’t get a year in and say, “Oh no, these people haven’t opened my email in a year,” and you just have, you know, and then you end up removing them.

The last thing I’ll say about that is that we like to think strategically about removing people versus keeping them on your list. If you are suffering from your open rates decreasing or you’re suffering from around like 10% open rates, that’s a time where you really do need to think that keeping inactive contacts on your list could be negatively affecting your inbox placement. So that’s really an opportunity where you would wanna do some kinda opt out campaign. Whereas if your open rates are still increasing but you still notice a good portion aren’t opening, that’s where I would recommend just the reconnecting and trying something different and recognizing that what you’re sending isn’t really working for those people and trying to make an effort to keep them.

Carly: Yeah. That’s great. Thanks, Emma. So just got a good question from David, “Why should we be more subtle with mobile targeting?” And Ben, you touched on that a little, so I don’t know if you can speak to that in more detail.

Ben: Yeah, sure, happy to. So there’s actually been a bunch of changes that Google has rolled out that whether they’re doing it now or planning to will actually impact your search results based on how you’re using kind of automated triggers on mobile. So, what does that really mean? Do you need to be scared if you’re using something like Privy or lightboxes on mobile? No, this is really specific to how you are triggering those on mobile. Okay, so really what Google is trying to avoid and it’s…you’ve probably had this happen to you at some point where you’re on Facebook or you do a Google search, and you click on something and the first thing that happens when you get there is instead of the content you were looking for, there’s this really annoying ad, maybe when you’re on, you know, New York Times, let’s say, that like plays immediately, right?

So those are the types of things that they’re really trying to target, and you know, email capture can get caught in the way of that if you’re not careful. So on mobile, what we recommend is rather than having a timer, or you know, an automated scroll, what you do is you think about using like a subtle tab at the very bottom of the mobile browser that, you know, doesn’t open automatically unless it’s clicked. So Google has kind of said that they’re totally okay if these are userinitiated. So on mobile versus desktop, you know, on desktop, you might be thinking about a timer or scroll, but on mobile, it’s not necessarily that the displays and the designs need to be more subtle per se, it’s just that the trigger should all be user initiated instead of automatic. That’s kind of our recommendation on how to remain as compliant as possible. And really like the thinking behind that is the mobile experience is it’s smaller anyways, right? So you wanna do these things like even before Google made this announcement, we were kind of speaking that language in terms of best practices for mobile because it’s just such a different user experience when they land on your site from mobile and desktop.

Carly: Yeah, that’s great. So, we just got a question from Cindy and Cindy is running a small business, and she said, “All of this is great information, but the time commitment sounds utterly overwhelming. How much of all of this can be done by Emma? How much would I have to do myself?” And that, Becca, do you wanna jump in there?

Becca: Yeah. So part of what our client success team and our services team does here at Emma is kind of works as your partner in marketing. You can think of us as an extension of your marketing team or maybe we are your marketing team. We can help give you the different tools you need to get set up. Maybe there’s something you haven’t thought of that we’re here to help you do that. But our services team can definitely work on anything that you want us to do basically. Emma, do you wanna touch a little bit on like how we can help with list growth specifically?

Emma: Yeah, for sure. It’s almost a challenge when… I hate hearing when clients and somebody who will do feel overwhelmed by email marketing and when it comes down to it and you strip down everything and you focus on just high-quality content that you probably already have in your brand and setting up, you know, a signup form that has an automated welcome email and being very intentional on the frontend with the setup of your marketing strategy. A lot of it takes care of itself and then it’s just that connection with your context and sending them the content when you have relevant content to send and not just feeling like, “I have to send this week because I send every Tuesday,” and then that is where, you know, it does get overwhelming, you feel that pressure.

But yeah, as Becca was saying, with our services team, we’ve email marketing specialists that we pair with tons of our clients that help them do pretty much getting them set up and educating them on email marketing for them to do it themselves to us taking over, and from copywriting to graphic creation to deploying emails, coming up with an email marketing strategy that works for your brand, everything in between. We love working super close with our clients and really integrating with their brands.

Carly: Yeah. So, next question is from Eugene and Eugene is asking,“What are the best tactics to drive subscription outside of the email channel?” I don’t know if Ben, if you wanna touch on that a little bit.

Ben: Yes. So just if I understood that right. Aside from getting subscriptions through sending email, what are the best…is that kind of what the question was?

Carly: Yeah, that sounds good.

Ben: Yeah, so I actually don’t know how effective it is to expect new signups from sending emails. We’ve seen that hands down, the number one channel for growing your list with high-quality subscribers is your website and your blog. Certainly, we’ve seen some techniques be successful when you’re trying to get folks like who may follow you on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram to click a link and then join your list. But I think the opportunity that most people really ignore is how many visitors are landing on your site and not connecting with your brand. So, you know, we would encourage you if you haven’t already thought about how much traffic you have coming to your site and how fast your list is growing today without doing any of this, you know, that’s hands down gonna be the lowest fruit and the biggest opportunity. Lowest-hanging fruit, sorry.

Carly: We knew what you meant. Yeah, that’s helpful. Thanks, Ben. So another question and Ben touched on this a little bit during his presentation, but Pauline’s wondering if we have any advice on B2B-specific advice, “How do we attract quality and not quantity?” I don’t know if Emma, you wanna speak to that or Ben, or both of you, or all of you?

Ben: Emma, go for it.

Emma: Sure. Yeah, I was actually just asking Ben before the webinar about his perspective on B2B and B2C, and really, I think that we’re in agreement that there’s not a ton of difference between B2B and B2C within the context of email marketing and list growth. What I would say is that really, list growth is almost even more important with B2B clients because you’re offering a product or service that is more complicated or pricier, that has more anxiety around purchasing. So, therefore, you need to walk your subscribers down a path with tons of education and testimonials and storytelling. All these things that will help someone to understand what you’re offering, understand how it’s going to help them and understand what the purchase process is like and everything that comes with it. Whereas B2C, you know, collectivize a little bit easier or there’s lower friction to purchasing.

So I think that email marketing really does shine the most with B2B in with how much nurturing it can help you do. So I think I would say the signup form strategy is the same as B2C. I would say having opportunity just to sign up everywhere that are simple and that have a very clear incentive to sign up. Ben, do you have any additional thoughts about that?

Ben: Yeah, no, I thought that was all great and I think for B2B like quality, especially if you’ve got direct sales people or things like that following up, qualifying these people is probably more important than the number. So, you know, doing things a little bit differently and maybe targeting your forms only to people on their second or third visit to the site, maybe perhaps waiting on that third visit a little bit longer after they’ve seen a certain number of pages before you’re presenting them with forms, because you know, in the B2B world and that’s how we do our marketing, you know, I’d wanna make sure that this potential lead, even if I don’t know who they are, is completely engaged with my business perhaps multiple times and they are actively spending time on the site. Like that’s a really good indicator if they then complete the form versus someone who you earlier on, maybe on their first visit, just offer some sort of coupon to or like a free demo when you haven’t yet figured out how engaged they are. In many cases, you can actually do that by waiting and targeting the people that are further along. And in that case, you may not even need to ask them for, you know, 10 fields of information if you’ve waited and targeted your forms appropriately for B2B.

Carly: Awesome. So, this next question is a great one and I know that Emma and Ben get questions like this a lot, and we were actually chatting about this very thing before the webinar even started, and Ben had a great answer, so we wanted to highlight this question from the shot. It’s, “How can I gain more visitors to my site?” Ben, you wanna repeat what you said to us earlier?

Ben: Yeah. So definitely, I’m not sure what kind of business he has, but I’d be thinking about generating great content on the blog, the classic like inbound marketing playbook. You might think about supplementing that with some paid advertising on Facebook or Google search, but the reality of all of this is, there’s kind of benchmark in numbers around conversion rates. So certainly, there’s cases that you know, you might consider edge cases where someone’s conversion rate is gonna be like 30% as opposed to what we would expect of kind of 5 to 10. But you know, if you’re sitting there with 100 visitors to your site every month, then you might wanna just put a very basic email capturing forum, but I would be spending my time organically trying to drive traffic to the site, is through the content or some small dollar advertising in very targeted ways. And as your numbers grow in terms of traffic to your site, you know, when you have you know, some level of significance in that traffic, then you can start to trust your conversion rates a bit more. There’s a whole bunch of techniques based on the targeting or maybe think about adding some sort of incentive that you can do to do a better job converting that traffic.

Carly: Awesome. So I’m gonna send this next one over to Emma and it’s actually from Emma. So Emma wants to know, “How can I get automated messages out to people who sign up for my list? I’m reluctant to promote without being able to deliver on promises.” So, Emma, can you answer Emma?

Emma: That is so just like very, very confusing. So I love that you’re thinking about getting automated message out to people who sign up for your list. I’m not sure what email platform you’re using, but hopefully, they make it simple because that is so incredibly important as I was speaking to earlier. With Emma, it’s so easy as well and even using Privy. If you sign up for Privy, it directly connects to Emma, you go in, set up a simple automated workflow and just start attaching emails to that series.

And I also love that you are talking about promoting or you know, wanting to deliver on promises. A lot of times when we’re working with clients with my team, what we recommend is that kind of start small. There are so many things that you could divide up your audience into and send them content based on that, but that does require time and effort and sometimes you might have lower quality content if you’ve broken it up into a million different pieces.

So what I always say is that when you have people coming to the website to sign up, think about the information that you need from them that is absolutely critical to your business, into your email marketing success rather than the information that is just nice to have. If you do that, you’ll probably only walk away with like one, two, maybe three ways of targeting your audience and that way, not only are you not missing an opportunity to collect new subscribers because you’ve asked so much information, but you’re also able to get that specific information that you’re gonna be able to use to target mailings and do that in a manageable way.

Carly: Yeah. So, we just got a question from Victoria that I think, Becca, is a really good one for you to answer and hang in there with me a minute. It’s a little bit long, but “After an email send, we often receive bounce backs for individuals who have left their company. These emails include information for who to contact in their place. What do you do with this information? Right now, my company just removes the outdated email from our sends and ignore the new contact given since they haven’t opted into any of our marketing communication. Do you have any insight or best practice for using or not using these new contacts?”

Becca: Yeah, this is a really great question. So, the first part of it is, you know, this person has left the company, it’s not dead email. Removing that person from your list, that is the first step. That’s a great first step. In terms of using or not using those new contacts, the new information that you’ve received, with email marketing, you do have to have a direct opt-in or explicit permission to be emailing a contact. So even though you may have had a business relationship with someone in the past, this new contact is someone completely different. So I would suggest, if your business permits, is to send out a phone call, find out more information outside of email on this person. For one, that’ll give you a really great touch point to kind of add someone else to your true list of people and kind of help explore your brand a little bit more, but also that’s a great way to get them to opt in and kind of give them a really great first impression.

Carly: Awesome. So Christie just asked, “We get clients that ask us a lot about buying email lists. What is your typical response to this question? We always recommend against it but sometimes have trouble convincing the client.” So I think Becca or Emma can definitely…or Ben, anyone can speak to that.

Becca: Yeah, buying a list is against many email providers’ permission policies. So for one, if you’re buying list, you’re gonna have problems there. If you’re also buying a list, those people haven’t opted into your brand, so they’re not expecting to hear from you. You’re gonna have a much better relationship with that person if they have opted in or if you found them organically versus buying a list and pushing your message in front of them.

Emma: Yeah, and I would even say not to get into the deliverability rabbit hole, as I like to call it, but you could even be harming your sender reputation if you start sending emails to people who haven’t signed up. That is technically spamming. And that’s what the Gmail and all the other inboxes are looking out for. So even if you do that and then you decide not to and then you move forward, you could have potentially done a little bit of harm that you’ll have to kind of crawl out of that hole and get back to a healthy sender reputation. So yeah, it’s just not worth it. And we even, you know, if…when people are sending to bought lists, there’s so much stats in research, like if you have a 5% open rate and no one’s clicking through, you know, it’s just kind of a waste of money at the end. On top of that, it could potentially be harming your sender reputation. So definitely growing your list organically is the way to go.

Becca: And I think a lot of people get caught up in having the biggest list possible versus understanding that the quality of your list is gonna be what’s most important. Just because you have a million names doesn’t mean those million people are engaging with your brand and are interacting with your emails. So focusing on the quality of the context that you’re adding to your list is super important as opposed to just focusing on the large number that you’re adding in.

Carly: Yeah, that’s great. So another great question, “How do you grow your list using platforms like Facebook and Instagram?” Ben, I don’t know if you have any insight into that.

Ben: Yeah, definitely. So a couple thoughts. If you spend any time on those platforms yourself, especially Facebook, you’ve probably seen ads from pages that you liked that have like a call to action on them. Those are called lead ads. Those work okay. We still recommend that you’re driving traffic from Facebook or from Instagram to your site directly, and what we would recommend doing is actually targeting a form or an overlay that’s gonna load specific to that channel, right? So maybe you’re posting something on your Facebook page that drives them to your site and the form itself or the overlay should actually overtly recognize that you know that person just came from that ad or from that post, maybe by matching the images or the text on that post, because the reality is what that person should see on your site if you’re driving them there should be relevant to what brought them there, right, before they click.

So those are the types of techniques we see in terms of social media that have worked really well for email capture, and that’s, you know, the same whether it’s Facebook or you know, even something like a clicking on a Google search ad, right? You wanna try to tie the content of the overlay or the form to the journey that brought them there in the first place.

Becca: Yeah, I think that is a great answer, Ben, and this is also…I’ve worked with a number of people who have just highlighted a link to their signup form or posted, you know, some content that they’ve sent out in their email and they’ve seen some success there. If you have a really large social following, adding in a signup form length that you don’t have to necessarily highlight it in a major way, but just leaving it there so that people can see that you’ve got a list that they can sign up for. If they’re reading all of your Instagram posts, they probably wanna hear more.

Carly: Yeah, that’s great. Great stuff. So question from Melinda about growing your list on a small budget. I know we’ve touched on a lot of things you can do, I think on a small budget, but I don’t know if there’s any other specifics. Ben, Emma, Becca, any you guys wanna add.

Emma: No, I mean, Ben might be able to touch on this more as far as specific to Privy, but I would just say having you sign up form at literally every single place that you can possibly think of that you are meeting potential subscribers. I was actually reading a blog the other day about…I can’t remember what the website was, but they doubled their email list in a month. And basically, they were talking about the ways that they did that were that before they had just a signup form on the homepage of their website and then they added nine other forms at every different touchpoints. So in store or at a conference, you know, making sure that you’re collecting email addresses when you’re meeting people face-to-face. Emma has a free iPad app that’s a signup form, that looks really nice, and that you can go out and collect subscribers. And then Instagram and social, and even in your email signature and on every page of your website, and make it as simple as possible with, you know, a great incentive. So that, you know, I don’t think… it doesn’t cost anything to put those signup forms everywhere and I think that Privy has a great free offering as well, which is super awesome for people who are on a budget. So Ben, if you wanna chat about that.

Ben: Yeah, sure. So, that was a great answer, and in general, you know, part of our view is that we don’t want anyone to feel that they can’t afford to do these things. So like Emma was saying, we offer what we describe as our always free plan, which includes every single one of the display formats that I listed earlier. So pop ups, embed forms, banners, bars, the full range of capabilities on the designer itself if you wanna drag and drop to design those to match your brand or you use any of our templates as well as all the kind of interesting triggers like the exit intent or the scroll or the timer. So, you know, I think for folks who are really just getting started and maybe just launched their business or their site and don’t have too much traffic, that’s what that plan is all about, and of course, that’s fully integrated to move over to Emma as well.

Carly: That’s great. And I think that one kinda leads into a question from Janet around frequency of sending emails. And she’s asking, “What is the recommended frequency of sending emails, promos, discounts, new product announcements, etc., without risking people unsubscribing? Becca or Emma, you guys wanna chime in on that one a little bit?

Emma: Yeah. I think the most important thing to think about in this situation is to think like a subscriber. Don’t focus too much on what your message is and what you want them to hear. Think about what they want to hear. So if you’re able to figure out that they want to receive some promo emails or that maybe new product announcements are more important to them, focusing on that message and make sure that you are really personalizing each message that you’re sending out. If you’re doing that, then the frequency that you’re sending is not gonna be something that they’re not wanting to see.

Becca: I love that answer. Yeah, I do think it’s all about not so much like worrying about frequency, but worrying about which targeted segments are you sending to. Obviously, you know, even just dividing your list by people who are unengaged versus engaged, that gives you information into typically people are unengaged because they are receiving too many emails or the content is irrelevant. So sending them less is, you know, one option to test there. And then for the people that are receiving emails, typically you can send them more content, but again, it’s all about what I call like thank you content. If people are receiving your emails and there’s valuable information in there, so much so that they would want to thank you for sending it to them. It’s not just you sending something to send, you’re sending something that is meaningful and impactful, then I think the frequency you can really play around with and you know, as long as you’re thinking about the quality content that you’re sending, that’s the main focus.

And I love what Ben said earlier. There’s so many like catch phrases and stuff or like list growth and frequency and cadence and all these things, and really, it is about are you sending great content that is helping people do whatever it is that your product or service solves? If yes, then you’re probably on the right track. If you’re forcing it, people are probably gonna feel that.

Carly: Yeah. Yeah, that’s great. So, we got a question from Jenna about, “How do you grow your list for a free newsletter-based email list where you’re not selling anything to offer a discount?” Any thoughts on this one?

Becca: Yeah, I…

Ben: Sure.

Becca:  Oh, go ahead, Ben.

Ben: No, no, no. You go, Becca. I’ll just chime in after.

Becca: I was just gonna say, I think this kinda goes hand in hand with making sure that you’re sending something that’s super relevant to that person. If you’re sending great content out, they’re gonna wanna be reading your newsletter. You can think of something kinda like theSkimm, they send really cool content every single day and they’re sending daily and it’s a free service and they have tons of subscribers. So just ensuring that you’re not sending, you know, you’re not just throwing content at them, you’re really sending them something that’s focusing on what they wanna hear is something that will help ensure that your list is gonna continue to grow.

Carly: Ben, did you wanna add anything there?

Ben: No, I thought that was great.

Carly: Okay. Well, Ben, I have one for you specifically. Laurie is wondering about the verification screen in the Privy popup and wondering if you have any tips for designing a popup so that people are more likely to sign up.

Ben: Sure, sure. I’ll handle those separately. So yeah, with all Privy forms, we are integrated with Google’s invisible reCAPTCHA. So what that means is that it’s not gonna load every time, but every time someone submits their email on your form, Google’s checking, you know, how likely is it that this person is a bot or a spam, and if they feel that it is, then they’ll load a captured expectation after the signup and that is something that we can review on your business if you don’t want that and shut off, so just getting into contact with support.

And then in terms of tips for success, actually at pre-con for Marketing United, I gave a pre-con session on kind of like the anatomy of a top-performing signup campaign, so maybe I can you know, somehow distributed that afterwards to attendees, but it talks about, you know, design best practices and some of the kind of considerations on how to structure an offer and things like that.

So I think definitely, even in this talk, thinking about is there some sort of exclusive piece of content, case study, a small coupon that you could consider using as a direct incentive immediately after signup. In those cases, we’ve seen conversion rates jump from, you know, classic 1% or 2% to closer to 10% without feeling like you’re giving away the forum and that’s a kind of easy thing to test. Two, we typically recommend that you start with some really small incentive and see how that moves the numbers and then know that in the back of your mind, probably the two biggest levers you have on conversion rates are how many fields you’re asking for from the customer. So think about reducing all the way down to just asking for the email as well as potentially experimenting with some slightly larger incentives, maybe 15% off your first purchase or instead of 10.

Carly: Yeah, that’s great. So another one and Ben, this might be a good one for you to start with. “Is there a way to tell if someone is already on your list or if someone has previously visited your site and did not give their email address so we don’t show the lightbox to them again? Just trying to figure out a way to not annoy web visitors.” That’s a question from Aaron, so take it away, Ben.

Ben: Yeah, we definitely recognize that targeting and picking up on who has registered and how many times have they been to your site and the frequency. And so a lot of that heavy lifting is done automatically in the Privy platform. We do that based on cookie-ing every user that comes to your site. And you know, on the more advanced, like even on the free plan, you can choose the frequency, right? So if someone registers for one form and they return from that same device, then Privy recognizes them and they’ll never show them that same form again. If they see the campaign, but they don’t register, then you can actually control the frequency and determine when they would next be eligible to see that same form, if they return the second time or third time.

And then, you know, certainly on some of the more advanced plans, we have targeting rules, so you could actually determine on which visit to your site, you know, the first visit, the second visit, the third, etc., or even based on how many page views, things like that before they’re presented with a form.

Carly: Yeah, that’s great. Emma, this is a good question for you from Sid, “So, most professional service decision makers, i.e., doctors, chiropractors, lawyers, accountants, engineers are not on social media or allow themselves to be contacted by via email. Any thoughts on how to reach them?”

Emma: Sid, with the curve ball. So, I would say I think that’s great information to acknowledge that what works for you doesn’t always work for your subscribers. I think that so many times, us marketers we are thinking like, “This is my gut, this is what I think will work great, you know.” And it’s really not about you at all. It’s really not even about your brand. It’s about what your subscribers need and one, what is going to be most helpful and most valuable to them. You know, people don’t care about products and features, they care about how it’s going to help them do their job better or live their life better, whatever that may be. So I would say just getting as much information as you can on where, you know, where those decision makers are, what is the primary method of communication for them, and then making sure that you have the resources, staff to engage with them at that particular moment.

And I would even say like not giving up on email. It might be that the incentive that you have or the ease of use of finding your email signup form might not be available, so that could be an option as well. But other than that, I would just think about really getting to know these potential clients and figuring out, you know, what is going to work best for them and then how can you plug in to meet their needs that way?

Carly: Yeah, that’s great. So, Stephanie wants to know, and Becca, I’m gonna throw this one at you, “I struggle with list hygiene and list management, any advice on how to manage list cleanup for a list of around 100,000 subscribers?”

Becca: Yeah, this is a great question that I actually get all of the time. So one way that you can really target your unengaged or inactive audience is to use segmentation on your response metrics to kind of figure out how your audience is interacting with your mailings. So if you have a list of people who haven’t opened a mailing in the last year or maybe haven’t even received a mailing, if you have a really large list, go ahead and pause those people, give them time to kind of forget about you in a way so that you can send over an offer to them to get them reengaged, give them the opportunity to kind of get back into action with your emails. And then if they don’t interact or there’s no action taken, that’s when you would want to kinda clean that up a bit.

Don’t be afraid to take people out of your audience, but also don’t worry too much about doing that. Pausing sending is a great way just to ensure that you are getting the right message in front of the right people and focusing on your most active subscribers is a great way to do that.

Carly: That’s great, Becca. So I think we’re gonna take one more question and we’re gonna end with a great question from Amanda. That’s, “Any unconventional ideas on how to grow a list quickly in a new market?” Throwing it out there to any of you, maybe, Ben, you wanna start?

Ben: Sure. So, the beautiful thing about driving traffic these days is it’s actually simple to go on Facebook and to create an ad even for, you know, call it 50 or 100 bucks, and set the targeting to whatever your new market is, right? It can be geographic in Facebook, it could be interest-based, right? So maybe it’s you know, men in New York who, I don’t know, like the New York Knicks, right? So maybe that’s your new market. So you can drive that traffic to your site, target them with a kind of like either a landing page or a welcome overlay that, again, lines up nicely with the messaging from the ad, welcomes them, and is, you know, asking them to engage with the brand, maybe you’re just looking to capture their lead information or maybe you’ve got some promotion for the new market you’re entering. So you could consider that. But I think, you know, when we think about testing new stuff, it’s all about how can we get in front of the right audience inexpensively and kind of test the waters through mechanisms like that.

Carly: Awesome. Any last things to add there? Becca or Emma?

Becca: No, that’s great.

Carly: Great. Well, thank you so much, everyone, for joining us. Thank you, Ben, Becca, Emma. This was great, really great questions, We will send out the recording to all of you guys after this. I hope everyone has a great day. Thank you. Bye.

Becca: Thanks.

Ben: Thanks

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