Growing Your Email Subscriber List: Seven Tips (And Some Social Media)

11 06 2010


Recently, I started posting on a new blog that aims to cover cross-channel, data-driven and conversion-oriented interactive marketing topics with a focus on email marketing, B2B marketing, customer-centricity, CRM and much more (by the way, it will be a multilingual group blog so you can always send me a mail if you’re interested to collaborate).

Earlier this week I did a post on it with seven tips to grow your email subscriber list. Probably you know many of these tips but it’s never bad to repeat them. I added some thoughts about how you can use social media in this process for this post.

“The money is in the list”. A saying which is often heard when it comes to email marketing. Expanding their list is an ongoing priority for email marketers.
The most important element is making sure that your emails offer relevant content and treating your future subscribers as human beings.

When defining an email subscription strategy, think from the viewpoint of the people you would like to subscribe. What do they want? What are their needs? What are their preferred communication channels?

Listen, ask them and create a preference centre where future subscribers can decide for themselves. You can, for instance, use social media monitoring, surveys and face-to-face contacts to know what your target groups want.

Obviously, you then need an integrated approach to combine all the data you thus obtain.
Furthermore, don’t forget that your existing subscribers can play an important role in growing your list. Add the possibility in your emails to your existing subscribers to invite their friends or colleagues. And with the rise of social media, you can add social sharing tools as well.

Here are some more tips which will help you grow your email list.

1. Don’t just use one form to enable people to subscribe to your emails. Use all forms on your website to attract new subscribers, with the opt-in rules kept in mind. You can, for instance, add the option to subscribe to your emails on forms for downloading white papers, registering for events, feedback, support tickets, e-commerce, etc.

2. Try placing a mini-form on every page of your website, on top of a more “general” subscribing page. On such a mini-form, you place a link to an example of your emails and the privacy policy, without asking for too much information.

3. Never ask for too much information all at once, by the way. When someone subscribes himself to your emails, it marks the beginning of a relationship. In a relation, you don’t ask about everything at once. Limit yourself to elementary information, including of course the… email address, and acquire more data through interactions later on.

4. Create trust, choice, and clarity. People don’t just give away their email address, so you must “sell” your email to them. Create the right expectations by saying what kind of content your emails contain, offer different options (for example, in the field of frequency, timing, and content), place links to your archives, your privacy policy, a page where one can unsubscribe, etc.

5. Offer an incentive for subscribing to your email list. This could be, next to relevant content, a white paper, or another benefit for the subscriber. Don’t only do this for new subscribers, but also pamper your existing subscribers every now and then to keep them from unsubscribing.

6. Transform the subscribing process into a positive experience. Once you have the Internet user’s permission to send your emails, you’re not quite done. Provide a professional confirmation mail, create a thank you page, and make sure that the whole process is worthy and user-friendly.

7. Learn from unsubscribes. It has no use to attract new subscribers for your email when you’re losing them just as fast. Ask people who unsubscribe about their reasons for doing so. See if you can perhaps offer them another channel, other content, or another delivery frequency. The feedback will teach you a lot, and will result in fewer unsubscribes as well.

Building your email subscriber list is easy. All it takes is listening to people, thinking from their viewpoint, offering value and making the whole subscription journey a pleasant one.