Email is still the most popular form of business communication and your email database is the most important communication tool you have. Why? It doesn’t matter, probably something to do with convenience and laziness and the fact that messaging a client on Facebook still isn’t seen as ‘professional.’

Weird.

Anyways, all of this means that your email database – that thing you created ages ago but didn’t do anything with – is more important than ever. You know that you need a newsletter to ensure consistent communication with your audience and that you should segment your database into different personas and stages of the buying cycle so that the right people get relevant information, but how do you grow your database in the first place?

I mean, there’s not much point in having awesome processes and systems if nobody’s there to read your stuff or move through your buying process. It’s kind of sad when you think about it.

So here are our top 3 tips for growing your email database and expanding your audience consistently.

1. Give People a Reason to Share their Information With You

It’s easy to become seduced by website stats that don’t yield any actual results – why would hits and clicks matter if the wrong people are hitting and clicking? Of course, a lot of this is about making sure your personas are solid and that your ads and SEO are creating appropriate activity, but how do you measure this at a practical level and grow your database at the same time?

I’m glad you asked.

Have a call to action on your website offering something in exchange for something else, like this one from our website –

Screenshot 2017-08-23 09.35.33.png

Ha! We’re so disarmingly humerous. So this little device has increased our email database by hundreds through making it easy to engage with us further.

It’s simple, soft and there’s no commitment beyond an email address. This is not the time for us to ask for details; we’re just looking for a shot at demonstrating the quality of our content and sharing enough value for free, so that the right people put their hands up.

But that’s down the line. For now, this invitation allows us to grow our database and work out – by using website stats benchmarked against email database increases – if we’re attracting the right type of people.

2. Ask Everyone

If you’re like most people, you have a bunch of friends, people you know from school on Facebook and Twitter and people you don’t know on LinkedIn. Obviously, you don’t want to turn into ‘that dude’ who asks everyone to subscribe to your newsletter or download your ebook but allow your email database to be a natural destination for anyone who has an interest in your sector or business. Tell them about a free download on your site, or send them an article you’ve written that “may be of interest.”

original ebook written and designed

If you have employees, the opportunity to harness their contacts is even more significant. Educate them on how to assist in growing the database through adding value to people they know. Salespeople should be told to send through offers to prospects, and to use your content as a tool for growing the audience.

3. Add #$%@loads of Value

Engagement is relative to the amount of value received. That sounded obvious and yet most corporate newsletters are crazy boring and frustratingly ineffective. Businesses become confused when they have high unsubscription rates when they should be focused on increasing sharability through adding more value, better content and memes. Not really. Maybe.

Your newsletter is entering the most competitive market in the world – someone’s email inbox – it needs something to fight with beyond, “News from my company,” and “Funny pic of the week,” where someone in the office is wearing a funny hat.

Classic.

Give away your knowledge and expertise, share it with your community and become the best option for them when they’re ready to purchase, through being demonstrative of what they want.