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How to Use Email for Growth Marketing

As email marketers, we’re always trying to reach new heights: more conversion, healthier subscriber lists, greater reach, more emails landing in the inbox instead of spam, you know the drill. When a marketing team’s goal is to grow, terms like “growth marketing” can feel confusing. What is it and how is it different than regular email marketing? We recently chatted on Twitter with our friends at Iterable about what exactly growth marketing is. Hint: it’s probably something you’re already doing. Keep reading for great insight from the email geeks on growth marketing and how it can make you a better email marketer.

Empathy in Email Marketing

Empathy is looking at the world from someone else's shoes and taking their perspective into account. This helps to ensure that those subscribers will be receptive to the message you're about to send. Since marketing as an industry centers around touching on peoples' emotions, it requires a strong emotional intelligence. This allows a marketer to meaningfully connect with someone in a way that makes their message resonate. Sounds like email marketing, right? Sure, email marketing comes with data analytics and tracking and behavioral insights. But it can still be done in a human-first way. Megan Boshuyzen, fellow #EmailGeek and email designer, hit the nail on the head. She said that empathy comes in by "stripping out the metrics, KPIs, [any sort of data], and deliver what subscribers need, not what [your business] needs."

Growth Marketing vs. Growth Hacking

Buzzwords are never going to go away in marketing. They simply evolve. Remember back in 2010 when being a "social media guru" was the latest thing? Today, that means nothing to people. It was a passing buzzword that no longer holds any impact in the industry. Growth marketing versus "growth hacking" is kind of the same thing. According to Jay Oram, #EmailGeek and email developer at Action Rocket, "[growth] hacking has always felt a bit gimmicky and all about quantity over quality. All the popups and list buyers seem to be growth hackers!" We couldn't agree more. Because growth hacking is finding back-door ways to inflate your list, the likelihood of those new contacts to engage or convert isn't necessarily good. Better put, growth hacking is a game of numbers, not strategy. Growth marketing on the other hand... Growth marketing attracts the right audience via effective content, which strongly overlaps with email marketing. By nature, email marketing entices users to subscribe to a list in exchange for content they'll find valuable and relevant.

Growth Marketing in Terms of the Customer Lifecycle

Growth marketing in email doesn't stop at achieving a new subscriber. It's a continuous process that goes hand-in-hand with the customer lifecycle. This can look different between brands and industries. There's no question that every stage of the customer lifecycle is important, including once they're an advocate. But not every step is going to hold the same weight in regards to your brand's email marketing strategy. Knowing when to touch different audience members in different stages is key. Having a strong welcome email  series to nurture new members, thoughtful satisfaction follow-ups, or anything in between can be pivotal in subscriber and customer retention.

Driving Growth via Email

Let's just start by taking a page from Jen Capstraw's book: Respect always wins. The more a brand can tune in to their audience's sense of self and therefore their desires and needs, the more that brand can accelerate. Growth marketing requires a genuine approach, authentic attitude and vulnerability. This is huge in making your brand approachable and friend-like with your audience as opposed to distant and out of touch. Plus, the level of vulnerability and authenticity you bring to the table gives your audience permission to do the same for you. Lastly, remember best guest manners. Your emails are guests in their inboxes, you know. Subscribers can take away that privilege anytime.

Email Growth Marketing KPIs

What is marketing without a way to measure success? What are the key performance indicators, or KPIs, you should keep an eye on to measure growth? And it doesn't stop there. Kait Creamer also points to customer lifetime value, free trial sign ups, in-app usage, content downloads, churn rate, return visitors, referrals, event registrations, etc. as solid KPIs. So if any of those are too hard to map end-to-end now, just start small.

Email Growth Marketing "Don'ts"

There are plenty of "don'ts" in marketing. For instance, don't lie, mislead or bait & switch people, don't avoid negative reviews or interactions, etc. Growth marketing via email comes with its own set of etiquette rules too. Chief among them, maintain a strong sense of self-awareness. Always keep in mind the fact that your subscribers aren't as close to your brand as you are. Megan Boshuyzen also strongly recommends avoiding giveaways as a form of email growth marketing. Giveaways will only attract low-value prospects who will instantly unsubscribe. With that, it's not a promise of actual interest in your brand or offering, it's just a desire to get something for free. Therefore, the new contact is meaningless to your brand.

Connect with Your Subscribers

As you pedal forward in expanding your email subscriber list and nurturing more meaningful contacts, keep these tips in mind. They'll help you stay on track and create emails that current subscribers may just feel compelled to forward to their friends. One major goal of growth marketing is increasing customer lifetime value (LTV). You can start by making a great first impression – and every time after that by content checking your emails. Sign up for Campaign Precheck today for accessibility checks, as well as image and link checks. Not to mention optimizing your inbox display to really impress your subscribers. Try it free for 7 days. Want to read through the full Twitter chat? Just search the #EOAchat hashtag on Twitter and check out our events calendar for upcoming chats.
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