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6 Simple Strategies for Parent Email List Building That Work

As a business targeting parents, you may have made a start on creating a customer email/contact list, but how do you grow your list and really get it to deliver results for your business? Here are 6 Simple Strategies for List Building That Work:


list building

At Mykidstime we have grown a mailing list of over 80,000. It wasn’t an overnight process but we learned a lot as we did it, so here are some strategies that you can use that help:

#1. You Must Ask for Opt In

It is now not only good practice to ask people to opt in but by the GDPR you must get their consent. I like the opt ins where you can choose what type of communication you will receive and choose between eg SMS, Email, Phone calls.

There’s a reason email services like Mailchimp ask you when you’re adding emails to your list if the people you are adding have granted you permission to email them, because noone wants to be spammed.

mailchimp permission

Make sure you use Double Opt In as this is another way of proving the person consented should you be asked to show this.

Always have an unsubscribe link on your emails to your list. One company I know emails and the only way to unsubscribe is to email them to tell them you don’t want their emails. No one wants to have to do that, they want an anonymous link to click.

#2. Offer something free

On Mykidstime we have a free Lunchbox Ideas ebook that we offer parents in return for their email. We made it an ebook so that it was easy to set up an auto reply so that when they sign up they receive a link to the ebook, saves sending out one at a time.

lunchbox ideas ebook

I have also seen many ecommerce companies offer an extra discount off your shopping cart in return for your email. I like this example of a discount offer because it’s time sensitive too.

coupon example

Think what you could offer as an incentive, something that really is of value to the parent.

New GDPR rules mean you need to be very clear about what they are opting in for, what they are giving consent for and your terms and conditions should also explain where and how their data is kept and how they can make a Subject Access Request to you to ask for what data you hold on them.

Tip: when you set up your email offer, have someone test it with a fresh pair of eyes to make sure they receive the “gift” and that all goes smoothly with their experience.

#3. Consider a Popup Box

Some people hate the idea of popups and I agree they can be annoying but if implemented wisely they do work to increase your mailing list.

The biggest mistake I see websites making with this type of box is that it comes up too quickly. You need to give people time to read your content before you ask them to opt in. So always have it set up to be on exit, i.e. when they go to leave your page that’s when the box appears.

We use OptinMonster on Mykidstime, and we have found it very effective in increasing our mailing list. We set it up to be on exit on the page and we offer our free lunchbox ebook (see #2.) so there’s something potentially helpful to the parent to entice them. (You do have to pay for OptinMonster though so another recommended service that is free is LeadIn by Hubspot.)

Here’s an example of an OptinMonster scroll box which stays at the bottom right of the screen as the user scrolls so it’s not too intrusive either.

scroll boxes example

#4. Personalise the Message

I don’t mean Dear Jill blah blah. Some people may like the Dear Name touch, I’m not a big fan of the fact that a company that I have only just connected with assumes they can be personal with me. No what I mean by personalise is to offer me information that is useful to me wherever possible.

So if I have never bought product A from you, then don’t keep offering me Product A. (or indeed if I have bought product A then don’t offer me more of it – Amazon does this and it’s always a bit annoying). Some emails and texts that I receive from companies are obviously blanket emails sent to the whole database.

That might be appropriate if it’s notifying your customers of events but mass marketing days are over. Use segments to start to give a more personalised approach (see next tip).

#4. Target Segments

You should consider sending different messages to different segments.

What segments should I use? Well as a starting point you will always have active, inactive or lapsed customers and prospects. Why send the same email to these when clearly they need different calls to action?

Or maybe you have small, medium and large spend customers that you want to offer different incentives to. Maybe you have different products and services that different customers buy from you and you want to upsell them based on their past history (not the same Product A though!)

If you are worried this is going to take a lot of extra time, think instead of the value you are offering the segments and how this could drive more business for you.

Tip: Create a field that is updated every quarter on your contacts database or mailing list software so that you can easily pull a list by types of customer.

#5. Don’t Overdo

Don’t go overboard on contacts, it’s a fine balance between being useful and being spammy again. And all that happens is people start to ignore your emails and just drop them straight into their trash.

I signed up for a well-known retailer’s emails and they send them weekly. I don’t look at them now. Frequency is one reason but also it’s the content. It’s just not engaging enough so that when it’s coupled with too many emails, it’s a switch off.

You want people to genuinely look forward to opening and reading your emails, not hit the delete button.

delete button

#6. Measure, measure, measure

As with all marketing activity always measure. Most outbound email services have built in reports. Look at them a day after and then a week after a mailing.

Spending 10 minutes analysing key things like which links people clicked on, how many people unsubscribed, and comparing the measures to your last mailing is important for fine tuning your mailing approach. Look at your Google Analytics. How did this campaign do for driving traffic or sales?

You might also consider doing an A/B test approach. This just means dividing your database into two and sending them different versions of your mailing and seeing which one yields more clicks, contacts, sales.

A B Split Test

Building your mailing list is a continuous process, try things, measure, if they worked continue them.

Did you enjoy this article? Read some of our other Business blog posts: 10 Easy Steps for Writing Great Blog Titles that Parents will Click on and How to Run Facebook Competitions that Actually Do Something For Your Business

Want to find out more about how Digital4Sales can help you with your list building? Contact us now.

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