E-mail marketing is no longer an issue of unilaterally sending messages. In fact, it was never actually the case. E-mail marketing is based on permission and per definition that signifies a relationship.
Naturally there is still an outbound marketing dimension in e-mail marketing. It doesn't have the same immediate interaction as some new forms of communication. But if you think of e-mail marketing as a dialogue with people instead of pure immediate communication to e-mail addresses, you will receive much more feedback if you use the correct techniques (surveys, analysis of the behavior, personalization etc.) and listen in a cross-channel way to the preferences and needs of your subscribers, for example by linking e-mail data to social media profiles, web analytics and CRM systems.
The interaction - direct and indirect - between the e-mail marketer and the people behind the e-mail addresses that he sends to has become much more important. Clients and prospects must also be given full control over the communication preferences, even if this would sometimes mean that e-mail is not the desired channel. Cross-channel marketing is the key word and the mix of communication channels and contact moments is to be monitored in function of the response of the recipients.
That people are prepared to disclose their e-mail address and register on e-mail lists is proven every day new by new subscribers. If your e-mail marketing strategy is modified to the new communication reality and you invite people to register to your mails and newsletters in the correct manner, you can still expand you lists significantly.
Keep it relevant and use social media to reach new subscribers
The keywords here are relevance, personalization, segmentation, cross-channel and the preferences of your recipients.
There is no single reason not to continue growing your lists, as long as you take care of them the best way possible. The extent of an e-mail list is and remains important: the more people that are prepared to disclose their address in exchange for relevant content or interesting promotions, the more contact moments you will have with clients and prospects, irrespective of the marketing objectives of your list.
Naturally there are some challenges with the growth of an e-mail list, for example in the area of deliverability. But in the area of efficiency the extent in itself doesn't make any difference.
E-mail and more participative and interactive channels like social media are not enemies. On the contrary: they strengthen each other and the insights that a marketer gets from one 'discipline' offers him data to optimize another 'discipline'.
Social media is after all an excellent way to have your e-mail lists expand:
- You can invite people to register for your e-mail via social networks
- You can blog (on a personal blog or as guest blogger) and refer to your newsletter in your biography at the bottom of your text
- You can participate in communities and refer to your newsletter
- You can place forms on your blogs etc. to provide people with a more informative news letter whereby you have them registered in your list and can "feed" them depending on their behavior and convert them to leads and even clients
- If you have a cross-channel communication strategy and can combine the correct data over various contact moments via your CRM and customer intelligence tools, you have numerous extra methods to expand your lists with new and social media.
The only restriction is your creativity.