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This article was published on September 5, 2013

Growing your mailing list: 10 ethical ways to boost your subscriber numbers

Growing your mailing list: 10 ethical ways to boost your subscriber numbers
Jamie Tolentino
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Jamie Tolentino

Jamie Tolentino is currently working as a Digital Marketer at a Global Asset Management firm. She was previously an Innovation Strategist at Jamie Tolentino is currently working as a Digital Marketer at a Global Asset Management firm. She was previously an Innovation Strategist at Quirk London. Aside from writing for TNW, she also blogs on the Huffington Post UK.

Growing your email list is probably one of the hardest things to do when starting up an email marketing campaign.

So, here are some easy to follow, ethical tips from email experts namely Charlotte Sumner (Head of Email, Pancentric Digital), Amy Birch (Marketing Assitant, Wired Marketing) and Jason Almolla (Marketing Executive, Digital Round)

1: Alert your prospective subscribers with a time sensitive notification

Notifying your users by email of an event, a product, or anything you think might be useful is in effect providing a cost-effective and unique service to the user. You could be an estate agent notifying prospective investors when a particular property of interest is on the market, or a price comparison website notifying customers of the latest changes in energy tariffs.

Both such notifications would offer a real world monetary opportunity to the user, constituting a valuable service you can offer for little effort. Almost all types of retail are strong candidates. Think creatively about what your business can offer a time sensitive notification about.

2: Have a blog? Include a ‘sign-up’ form right below ALL of your articles

If a reader gets to the end of one of your articles, you can be pretty sure that the content has been useful. Take advantage of this and make a connection in the reader’s mind between what they have just read, and what they can read if they sign up to your newsletter.

3: Take advantage of social sharing features for your email campaigns

If you’re using a popular ESP (Email Service Provider) app, then you’ll find an abundance of social sharing features built-in that makes it easy for your subscribers to share your email. One in ten clicks in an email campaign are related to social sharing. Think of social sharing as the successor to the less popular ‘forward to a friend’ link.

4: Make it easy for people to subscribe

Include a clear email sign-up call to action but don’t ask for too many details initially as you might put people off. Once someone has given you their email address, give them the option to tell you more about themselves to enrich their experience with your brand.

5: Convert your social fans in to email subscribers

If you have fans on social media platforms, capture their data for email. They are already engaged with your brand and much more likely to respond well to your email communications. Promote email sign up and include a subscription link from your social channels, and make it clear the benefits they’ll gain by being subscribed to both channels.

Promote your sign up form across your social media account. Chances are, if the user is following your social media accounts they want to hear from you, so will probably be interested in your emails as well. You could even place a ‘wall’ over your Facebook page, so that a user must enter their email address before they can ‘Like’ your page. Again, be clear and concise when explaining what content you will be sending and how often.

6: Provide an incentive

Consider running competitions through Facebook and promote via other social channels, including a data capture phase where email is mandatory. Data capture almost always works better when there’s an incentive involved.

7: Use your existing email database

Use your existing email contacts and brand advocates to grow your subscriber numbers. People can’t help being influenced by their peers, and people far more likely to act on the opinion of someone they trust. Your existing subscribers will have friends, family members and other contacts with the same interests and needs. Therefore, you should allow them to promote and share your brand for you.

If you utilise programs and functions such as recommend-a-friend, forward, share and member-get-member schemes, your email content will be easily shared, allowing you to sit back, relax and watch your database grow.

8: Make your sign up form obvious on your website

If you want your clients or potential clients to sign up to your email newsletter, you need to make it obvious. Include a sign up form in a prominent page on your site and tell your potential subscribers what they will benefit from signing up to your correspondence. For example, if you’re a fashion retailer, you might want to use ‘Sign up for the latest fashion hints and tips’. However, don’t lie about the type of content you will be sending or the contact will unsubscribe or mark your email as spam.

To make the sign up form more effective, you could even test the positioning and the colour of the sign up form to maximise sign up conversions.

9: Collect email addresses in stores or at events

Try placing a sign up form next to your cash register, or on your display at events to boost in person opt-ins. Again, as these people are interested in your brand, they may wish to have further communication with you. This might also be most effective when promoted while people are waiting in line for something.

10: Start building your list even if you’re still building your product

Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to get a landing page up as a placeholder for your not-yet-built site. This page can act as a teaser for your awesome new project or product and letting people sign up for beta access, to get notified when you launch and to get updates from you. Just make it clear what they’re signing up for and you’re good to go.

So there you have it, ten simple tips to get your mailing list started.

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Image credit: Thinkstock


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