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The 4 Most Overlooked Touch Points to Grow Your E-mail Database

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By Clint Kaiser

RISMEDIA, March 1, 2010—(eM+C)—From a marketer’s point of view, every customer or prospect interaction is an opportunity. It’s a chance to generate revenue, foster loyalty, win back a former customer or gather data. For an email marketer, capturing the email address is crucial.

When it comes to capturing email addresses, the challenge is that the biggest touchpoints are already covered — websites, call centers and web checkout processes are all optimized for email list growth. It’s time to think outside the box.

Here are some next-tier opportunities that you may be ignoring or underutilizing for growing your database:

Your Facebook page
Prime real estate exists on your Facebook page to promote, among other things, your email program. The imagery on the left sidebar can easily be leveraged to succinctly highlight your email offerings. Visit the Facebook pages of Domino’s Pizza and Lands’ End to see great examples of the cross-pollination of their online marketing efforts. Think the overlap among your email subscriber base and your Facebook fans is significant? More than likely it’s not as great as you think.

Your Twitter page
Very similar to your Facebook page, the same left-rail real estate exists on your Twitter page. Use this space to cross-promote your email program. A URL and copy simply need to be built in to the posted image. Don’t expect huge numbers overnight, but small, incremental numbers over time at zero cost make Twitter cross-promotion an easy decision when looking to grow an email list any way possible.

Additionally, promoting your email program in a way that highlights its unique aspects may be done in the body of the social communication tool itself. Obviously, it must fit within the engagement strategy of the touchpoint (relationship building, promotional, customer service or some combination thereof) and be done judiciously, but monitor user feedback for comments on the value of the program and leverage that content.

Your email message
When your email message is forwarded, it’s because one person identified the content as being valuable to another. The recipient is likely to want to receive that content on a regular basis. Make it easier for recipients to sign up by including a link at the bottom that overtly says, “Want to sign up for our email program? Click here.” Take that person directly to the sign-up page. I worked with a retailer who generated hundreds of new subscribers with each message by using this tactic.

Your mobile program
If you have a mobile program up and running or are currently building a strategy, don’t forget to piggyback on the constant data exchange that this channel enables. Sending an email address to a short code is a great way to leverage one channel’s strengths for building out another. As always, providing an incentive — sent via email — will assist in conversion and help improve data quality.

For most companies, email list growth is an effort in small incremental gains over time rather than revolutionary changes overnight. String together several small tactics, however, and the numbers can start to have a material impact after a few months.

Clint Kaiser is director of strategic services at Merkle, a Columbia, Md.-based database marketing agency. Reach Clint at ckaiser@merkleinc.com.

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