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Things small businesses should do in 2013: Growing your email lists

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Things small businesses should do in 2013: Growing your email lists

As the world of digital marketing continues its evolution, I'm sensing a growing anxiety among small business marketers about how they're possibly going to reach customers across every single platform.

Online shoppers are using more channels now than ever. Many of them have two-plus social media accounts these days, and oftentimes they're logging in from remote locations via their smartphones or tablets.

If you were hoping to get some good news from me - that I would say it'll be easier than you think - well, today's your lucky day. It'll be easier than you think.

You don't have to have the most comprehensive strategy that's tailor-made to every single social networking site, or an entirely separate marketing campaign for mobile devices.

If you stay up-to-date on what works best for some of the core digital marketing strategies, you should be more than fine.

Three ways to keep your email lists growing, and growing and growing
Despite the rise of different digital ads, email marketing has remained as effective as ever.

In fact, a recent study by Econsultancy and Adestra found that this method ranked No. 2 in terms of being able to achieve a return on investment, according to Everything PR.

Ready for even more good news? Separate research revealed that the most common activity mobile owners use their devices for is checking email. All of these factors indicate that your email marketing campaigns should be effective for a good while longer.

At the same time, that doesn't mean you can continue to utilize the same email marketing techniques as you did a decade ago. Here are three things you should do in 2013 to maintain and expand your subscriber lists:

1. Implement best email practices.

You know how little kids get wiser as they get older? That's essentially what has happened with online shoppers.

They've gotten very good at recognizing right away whether or not the content in your messages will be useful to them. If you want to ensure people are reading your emails and that they continue to do so going forward, you should make sure the messages provide them with an incentive, beginning with its subject.

Whether it's a coupon, a deal or even just a promotion for a new product, they should be able to get something unique from every email they open.

2. Make sure you are targeting the right consumers.

The best way to ensure customers are gaining something from your emails is to make sure the messages are reaching people of interest.

A recent Digital Advertising Alliance survey found that 70 percent of consumers want messages tailored to their interests, so you should work to give them what they want. With the advent of incredible tools like Google Analytics, you can make sure to target people based on their gender, their age, their interests and anything else along those lines.

Geo-targeting, which caters to a person's location, is a newer method that should be especially effective for mobile marketing.

3. Integrate email campaigns with other digital measures.

There's no reason you should be treating your email marketing campaigns as if they are a separate entity.

By combining them with, say, social media ads (the fifth most effective measure, according to the Econsultancy/Adestra study), you will exponentially increase the odds they get read.