There are a few reasons why consumers opt-in to an email list, but there are many reasons why you may eventually lose them — from address changes to spam complaints. In fact, distributionlists see an average turnover of up to 3% annually, so it’s essential that marketers use solid tactics to grow — and keep — their subscriber base. Here are a few ways to move beyond the basic website subscription form and social media CTAs—and grow your list quickly:
Barter. Handing over an email addresses is a quid pro quo, so offer something first. One tactic is to create gated content that is both relevant and fresh, be it an ebook, webinar, white paper or other informative resource, but you’ll have to promote it effectively, or nobody will know it exists. Partnering with a business that caters to a target audience similar to yours can be doubly effective, since it will reach their customer base as well. And because these resources live on the Internet for as long as you let them, they’ll be a continual source of opt-ins over time.
This tactic was a huge success for Garlic Shaker, which offered a free recipe book to anyone who signed up for the company’s newsletter. They grew their contact list by 9,000%.
If freemium is part of your business model, require non-paying users to create an account using their email. According to Jupiter Research, 77% of marketers think site registration is an effective way of getting a high volume of quality emails.
Take site analytics provider Compete, which will assess website data at no cost — as long as you create a log-in using your email.
You can also do this with open content on a smaller scale. For example, if your business has a blog with a comment section, require visitors to submit their email addresses in exchange for leaving a comment.
Ask everywhere. People that opt in to an email list via face-to-face interaction tend to have much higher open rates and click-throughs than those who were, say, auto-subscribed — a good reason to examine all the places outside of your website that could provide a subscription opportunity. Trade shows, conferences, and physical store locations are all vehicles for sign ups (Fed Ex, REI and H&M agree). Rather than the old paper-form-on-clipboard sign-up sheet, appeal to consumers’ increasing use of mobile: include a text-to-join option that uses a custom code, or a QR code, on receipts and business cards. Be sure to keep these new subscribers engaged with a targeted follow up campaign.
Inform & ask. One of the best ways to get and keep subscribers is to ask them what they want, and give them just that. But first they need to know what it is they’re getting.
In attempts to keep things simple, quick and easy, many businesses simply ask for an email address and subscribe the customer to every email that will be sent, whether it’s sales announcements or industry insights. Instead, create an opt-in page that lets customers tick off boxes for notifications they want to receive, like events, exclusive offers or weekly newsletters. With each option, include a short sentence that sums up what they’re signing up for. PRWeek, for example, does this with their newsletters, even offering visitors a chance to see a sample:
By doing this, customers do the segmentation work for you, which will better inform your email marketing efforts moving forward.