Email marketing – the why:
If you have a website (whether it’s a full site with multiple pages or a blog), you will want to have an email sign-up form highly visible so people can sign up to receive new content from you. Heck, even if you don’t have a website but you use Facebook, you can set up a sign-up form on your Facebook page.
Some businesses don’t see the need for or benefit of collecting email addresses from site visitors. But here’s the thing: you NEVER know when you MAY want to email your [potential or actual] client base to let them know of a new product or service, a sale, an event, that you’re closed due to an ice storm, or whatever the reason may be. Sure, these things may be rare in some businesses, but again, you NEVER know when something may come up that will leave you thinking, “Gosh, if I only had a way to communicate with anyone who has ever expressed interest in my business or bought something from me.”
Now, you may be thinking, “But I can post that information on Facebook or Twitter.” Well, you CAN, but you have no guarantee that people will see your post due to those pesky algorithms. And what if they don’t “like” your Facebook page or “follow” you on Twitter? Then they definitely won’t see your updates.
Your email list is the only thing that is YOURS (sort-of). It’s not owned by a social media outlet, and only the email recipient can decide if he/she wants to view your email or if they want to remain on your list.
You can wait until after your website launches to decide if you want to have an email opt-in form on your site. BUT, the downfall to that is (1) you may miss out on subscribers and (2) setting up the form and auto-responders takes time if you want them to look great and work properly, so you might as well knock it out from the get-go!
We had a client who chose not to include an email sign-up form on her site, and she was getting frustrated because no one was seeing her blog posts (especially some friends and family who she really wanted to share her posts with). She was doing a great job posting quite often, but if the people she wanted to see the posts weren’t on Facebook, then they didn’t know a new post was published. And, even if someone IS on social media, that doesn’t mean they will definitely see your post if you share it. Since then, we’ve set her up with an email marketing account and an opt-in form on her website so she is able to collect email addresses and easily communicate directly with her subscribers.
Enter GDPR Compliance
If you plan to add people to your email marketing list via your website or social media, you’ll need to do your homework regarding the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Gone are the days of site visitors simply exchanging their email address for your free gift a.k.a lead magnet.
Yes, you can still offer your lead magnet, but you must also provide an option for people to choose to be added to your mailing list (or not) as well. This new rule (as of May 25, 2018) only applies to your visitors located within the EU. But, be aware – everyone (including companies located within the US) is required to comply. Read this post for more information and resources to help you get this sorted out.
How to make it happen
Using an email marketing program like MailChimp allows you to collect email addresses and send emails/newsletters (or as MailChimp calls them – Campaigns) to the people on your list. You can personalize the emails so it appears as if the email was sent just to them (similar to a mail merge). You can make the emails look as newsletter-ish or email-ish as you’d you like. You can add photos and graphics, link to videos and more information on your website, add “buy now” buttons, and so much more! (Be sure to make any email opt-in forms on your website GDPR compliant).
When to make it happen
If you choose to not include an email sign-up form on your website while it’s being developed, that means that you’ll need to go back to your web developer later on if you want the form to match the look of your site. At that point, you’ll likely incur additional charges because you opted out of that included service during the main development stage.Include an email opt-in form during the web development stage to avoid more work + expenses later. #websitetips Click To Tweet
Another reason to include an opt-in form from the get-go is that it’s really part of your overall design. We’re not just talking about the fonts, colors, and other design aspects, we’re talking about placement and what works best for your business. At The Essential Website, we incorporate this as part of your website strategy process – choosing the best location, aesthetics and more.
Sending out emails/campaigns regularly helps remind people who you are, what you offer, and more. The key is to set yourself and your website up for success by putting all the right elements in place from the get-go.To be prepared is half the victory. Include an email opt-in on your site from the very beginning! Click To Tweet
Tell us – do you have your email opt-in form on your site and in an easy-to-find location?