This year, digital marketers will be incorporating more email marketing schemes into their marketing campaigns. I have heard lots of noise recently about how email marketing is a dying tactic. I have plenty of clients for whom email marketing is very much alive and thriving so I have put together some of my thoughts on some simple email marketing growth hacks.

The average person receives around 120 emails per day – the global population receives 193.3 billion! – it’s safe to say that we have been overdoing it with the emails. Considering how much competition you have within your audiences inbox, you may now be wondering why so many brands and digital marketers are still utilising email as a form of marketing.

Put simply, its because it comes with a great deal of success, and, perhaps most importantly, it’s inexpensive. The latter is very important in today’s world of constant belt-tightening and ever increasing costs of platforms like Google Adwords.

If you’re not convinced then check out these statistics:

Most important of all: we’re obsessed with our emails, particularly those millennials. Millennials are the age demographic most likely to check their email from bed (70 percent), from the bathroom (57 percent) and even while driving (27 percent). But please don’t use your phone whilst driving!

Whether you want to start an email marketing campaign or you want to update one you already have, there are many growth hacks you can use to your advantage.

Before we begin, Entrepreneur‘s Aaron Agius offered sage advice:

“We don’t hate all email — just the ones we don’t want to read. The numbers agree with me. When it comes down to it, consumers still derive tangible benefits from email, and marketers still get a real payback.”

Here are six email marketing growth hacks for 2016:

  • Collect as many addresses as you can
  • Social Proof Your Campaigns
  • Introduce Social Media Functions
  • Offer an Incentive for Paying it Forward
  • Be Kind: Would You Like to Unsubscribe?
  • Don’t Forget About Automated Messages
  • BONUS: Here are 5 emails that every marketer should send!

Collect as many email addresses as you can

Email marketing should always be considered a long-term strategy. It’s not something you do once and then forget about it. One element of this perpetual marketing campaign is the act of collecting email addresses. There are many ways to gather email addresses: a pop-up form, an interstitial ad or a sign-up section on one (or more) of your pages. There are many ways to do it.

  • Social Media: Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube are great ways to start collecting email addresses for your email marketing campaign. You can create a sign-up form on your Facebook page, establish a Twitter lead generation card to advertise and gain sign-ups and insert a link to your landing page and signup form under the YouTube video clip.
  • Call-to-Actions (CTAs): Call to Actions are imperative to the success of your email marketing campaign. CTAs can be placed anywhere you wish: in every blog post you compose, in any of your social media messages or at the bottom of your content materials, like white papers, webinars and ebooks.
  • Postcards: When was the last time you received a postcard? Probably when you were six years old and you got one in the mail from your grandparents in Florida! Well, try it out again. If you have a list of postal addresses without emails then send a direct mail offer that can be used whenever the individual signs up for your email list. They’ll be pleasantly surprised by something out of the 1990s.
  • Referrals: This isn’t difficult at all. Ask your customers to refer your business and your email list, and if anyone signs up because of them they could receive a discount on future purchases from you.
  • Offline World: A fishbowl for business cards, a free in-person event and sign-up forms at trade shows. You may think these are out-of-date techniques, but they’re effective at achieving your goal: getting as many emails as possible.
  • Reaching Out: In order to reach out, you should contact bloggers who are in your market, post comments (not promotional) in articles and publish articles on websites that discuss a topic that fits within your niche.

It isn’t difficult at all collecting emails. As long as you’re not spammy (that’s a different topic for another day) and intrusive then you should be fine. When you have as many high-quality email addresses as you can gather, the real fun starts. MailMunch put together a guide highlighting how to turn your email lists into revenue.

Social proof your campaign

Social proof, otherwise known as informational social influence, has been key for successful campaigns in all forms of marketing. It’s when consumers reflect the correct actions of others. Simply put: monkey see, monkey do. It’s all psychology.

The first thing you have to do when utilizing the power of social proofing is to tell your customers how many people subscribe to your email list. After that, try a number of things, such as urging customers to write their own reviews, write stories that customers can empathise with and be socially active on social media and with email.

Of course, there are a few other things that you should consider when social proofing an email marketing campaign:

  • Let your customers be your brand advocates; let them do all of the talking.
  • Blow your own horn and celebrate honours and awards your brand receives.
  • Enhance your shareability by including links to your social media accounts.
  • Inform subscribers what and when they’ll be receiving in future emails.

Introduce social media functions

Even if you think social media marketing is slowly coming to an end because it’s too crowded, it doesn’t hurt to integrate social media with your email marketing. It isn’t hard to merge your social media presence with your emails.

Social media integration is crucial because it extends the reach of your emails and messages, helps identify key metrics, increases your email subscriptions, gives users more options and allows another platform to connect with.

You should also understand the difference between social connection and social sharing. The former is asking subscribers to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter and the latter is asking subscribers to share your content on these platforms.

Here are several tips to incorporate social media into your email marketing strategies:

  • Insert social media icons into your emails.
  • Send a dedicated email campaign for your social media channels.
  • Offer an incentive for liking your Facebook page or following you on Twitter.
  • Add a “Tweet This” snippet in your emails.
  • Provide an email opt-in form on social networks.

Offer an incentive for forwarding emails

Back in the day, you likely were one of the many recipients of chain mails. They were essentially an early version of social media.

The same idea can work for your email marketing campaigns. For instance, you could offer someone who forwards your email a 10 percent discount or if you get someone to subscribe to your email newsletter that both you and that person will be given a coupon for the promotion of your choosing.

Some people do anything to receive discounts. So they’ll likely give their email address for some savings, especially if they frequent your store on a regular basis.

Be kind: Would you like to unsubscribe?

Inserting an unsubscribe option to all of your emails is very polite, respectful and courteous. It may seem counter-intuitive because I’ve been explaining how to grow your email marketing lists but it’s effective because its an easy way of offering trust. It’ll help for the long-term strategy. Here are some examples of great unsubscribe pages.

Remember, because of the CAN-SPAM Act, you have to offer recipients an opt-out facility.

Don’t forget about automated messages

Automation, as well as personalisation and customisation, is an important facet of email marketing. The goal is to ensure every new subscriber receives a personal note of thanks (potentially from the CEO or Managing Director). Personal messages are effective in ensuring your new customers are happy and that they will remain a subscriber to your weekly newsletter or monthly promotions.

Here are a few tips to generate automated personal emails:

  • Be real; ensure that the emails look like they come from a real person within your company.
  • Allow recipients to reply to the email, directly to the person above.
  • Take the time to read and reply to their responses.
  • Make sure the emails are sent based on the behaviour of the email (don’t make them generic).
  • Don’t use gimmicks. Just use plain text.

Final Thoughts

Email is not dead, it’s thriving. At least, provided you have a product or service people actually care about. There’s a huge difference between people needing your product or service and them actually having a passion for it. For example; fashion is sexy and people have a genuine passion, where-as a garage cupboard has no appeal what-so-ever.

At first glance, email marketing may not seem like the most effective use of your time and money. But after a little bit of research, in addition to trial and error, you’ll appreciate the potential impact it could have on your revenue. Hopefully, these email marketing growth hacks help you along the way.