General wisdom tells us your email contacts expire at a rate of 25% each year. Which means that on top of keeping open rates and click through rates on the upswing, a smart marketer is always watching their list growth.
A growing email list is the holy grail of Inbound Marketers. Among those on that list are your future sales, the leads that are fueling the growth of your business. There are hundreds of ways to attract new signups for your newsletters, but let's take a look at some proven techniques, content pieces, and tools to attract prospects, get them signed up, and keep your list growing.
Growing Your Email List
Let's start with the basics. But not too basic.
Email has a come a long way since the days of the "Sign Up For Our Email Newsletter" buttons. People are overwhelmed with email. "Getting spammed" is part our our cultural vernacular. To entice a new signup, we have to offer something with value.
The first way to drive traffic to the site and increase conversions is to work on content-based techniques. Your website and the traffic you drive to it is the best opportunity you have to increase list size.
- Create an e-book packed with content that is valuable to your prospects. Make it free and downloadable in exchange for the golden treasure: their email address.
- Increase your blog frequency. Consider upping the frequency of your blog posts. More posts = more visits. And when you have compelling CTAs sprinkled throughout, that just leads to more emails for your list.
- Consider every page of your site an email capture form. Take an audit of your site. Are there pages with no CTAs, or not enough? Rethink the page designs and the amount of CTAs to maximize the potential of each page. Give your prospects a million reasons and opportunities to convert.
- Watch conversion rates. Not every offer or CTA design performs the same. Keep a close eye on your conversion rates. Have an under performer? Ditch it completely or try a re-design. At the same time, increase the exposure of high performing offers.
- Show them what they're missing. Use the blog to offer snapshots of your all time top performing emails. Did you have a great sale or offer last year? Put a snapshot of that email into a blog or page on your site. And right below it? A "Sign Up Now" email newsletter call to action.
- Re-purpose your greatest hits. Have a blog post from two years ago that is still driving great traffic? Make a sequel! Clone that blog and re-purpose it. Summarize the basics and add an update.Increased traffic is going to be the greatest driver of new signs ups to your email list.
- Remarket to your existing list. Place a tracking pixel on your site and drive as much traffic as possible... even if they don't convert, you can advertise conversion opportunities (ebooks, offers, coupons, etc.) to them in remarketing ads. This will help build your list from people who already kind of know your brand, but also drive brand awareness from people who would otherwise never come back to your website.
- Make sure the Email Newsletter Signup Form is front and center. If the link isn't already a header on your site, make it one.
Once your website is maximized, take a look outside. Use your social media sites and external sites to encourage signups.
Here are a few ideas:
Put your email subscription link everywhere.
Add an email signup tab on your business Facebook page and put it front and center in the tabs. Post frequently about your newsletter and put the signup link in each post. Tease how great the most recent newsletter was so prospectives recognize they're missing out on great offers from your business.
Other spots for your email newsletter link include:
- The signature line of employee emails
- Guest Blog Bios & online bylines
- Sites you are a member of (Chamber websites, Associations, and Professional Organizations)
Use your YouTube channel as an email signup funnel. Include a CTA at the end of every video.
Tweet, retweet, and tweet some more. Increase your personal responses on Twitter and include that email signup link. If people like what you have to say in those short messages, they may want to hear the long version too.
Take Email Signups Offline.
Bring your iPad, phone, or even a sheet of paper to every event you attend. Trade Shows, Associations, and Chamber events are great places to collect email addresses. See how to go about it below.
- Just ask. Complete your conversation with a new prospect or business contact by asking them to sign up.
- Tell them about an upcoming event that will be offered via email. If you have a great event coming up, ask people to sign up for your email newsletter so they don't miss the opportunity to RSVP before the slots fill up.
- Work with partners to collect emails on your behalf. If you have a great business partner that is complimentary to yours, ask them to put an email newsletter signup form at their place of business. For example, a mechanic could promote your carwashing business with great success.
- Market your email newsletter to other lists you have access to. Most Associations and Chambers have amazing email lists and are always looking for great content. Submit press releases frequently and always include an email signup link. They'll blast it out to their list, increasing the size of your exposure.
Ok, we've covered how to maximize signups by increasing the quantity of "the ask" both externally and on your own site. Now let's talk about increasing conversion rates. The best way to encourage conversion is through amazing offers.
Attach real value to forms and CTAs.
Below are some offer-based ideas that will increase conversion rates.
There are two types of compelling offers:
- Valuable Content.
Decide if one or the other is more important to your customer personas and start there.
- Offer a first time discount for new signups. 20% off the first purchase is working for most online retailers. Make it a pop-up and watch the new subscribers roll in.
- Offer a special discount only available to email newsletter subscribers. Promote a coupon through social media but make it clear only newsletter subscribers will receive it.
- Everyone likes something FREE. Create a giveaway. Give away a small item in exchange for an email. Token items like coffee mugs, pens, or hats will create walking ads for your business and are a low cost way to increase your list.
- Offer a teaser in your blog. Do you have a great piece of content that your prospects are itching to see? Present them a teaser of how a Checklist, Cheat Sheet, or Template can ease their workload and then gate it. Ask for their email in exchange for the content they now feel a need to have.
- Only give them 50% of what you have to offer. Do you have a great list of techniques they can put into use? Give them 10 and offer the full list as free downloadable content.
- Create a webinar that can only be accessed by an online RSVP form with email required.
- Repost the webinar with one tiny caveat. Prospects can watch it later but to access it, they need to signup for your newsletter.
Finally, ask nicely.
Hit them repeatedly on the homepage, but in a friendly way. Make it easy for them. Simplify your email signup form by including as few required fields as possible. You can always collect more data down the line through CTAs. Make your website caring, explaining in just a few words what you will share with them in exchange for their email. Make them want to be your friend. Make it personal.
Your email list is your most valuable marketing tool. Invest in it. Invest the time to create valuable content and then maximize the conversion potential for every single visitor to your website. Follow the techniques above and watch your list grow.