How to Grow Your Email Subscriber List

Lee Polevoi by Lee Polevoi on April 4, 2013
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More likely than not, your customers are deluged with emails, many of which are messages they haven’t asked for and perhaps don’t want to receive. So it can be a challenge to get them to subscribe to your email list.

But it’s worth the effort: When people voluntarily sign up for your company’s communiqués, there’s a far better chance they will open your messages and read them — and thus far greater odds that they’ll become active customers.

Besides, because email marketing remains one of the most efficient and cost-effective methods for building your brand and attracting customers, you can never really have too many subscribers. Here are a few tips for expanding your email subscription list.

1. Make signups as easy as possible. Where are the subscription boxes on your company’s website? To be truly effective, they should be on every page, offering readers a chance to register and receive email offers and updates. (Visitors to your site may arrive on pages other than the landing page, so it’s best to cover your bases.) Also, be sure the boxes is located high on the pages, certainly “above the fold,” where visitors always look first and don’t have to hunt to find it.

In addition to the boxes being highly visible, the process of signing up must be pain-free. How many subscription requests have you abandoned because a company asked you to provide too much information? There are only two details that are absolutely necessary: a person’s full name and email address. Other tidbits, such as job title, age, or industry may be desirable, but don’t make this a condition of registration. After someone has subscribed, there’s always a chance to collect more data later on.

2. Give something away. Offering something for free is a reliable means of attracting subscribers. Entice people with contests and giveaways. Invite visitors to your website to sign up for a free seminar based on your expertise. Encourage current subscribers to refer their friends; reward them with a discount on your product or service.

3. Use social media to draw subscribers. Let your social media contacts know that you’d love to sign them up for a newsletter or emails about special sales and product updates. Create polls or take surveys on your Facebook and Twitter pages, inviting followers and survey participants to subscribe to your email list. Frame your request as a way to get information that’s not available elsewhere to build interest and even start an online conversation. Say you operate a hair salon, with plans for new and upgraded products and services. Post a poll on your page inviting readers to vote for which “exclusive” new offerings they most prefer. Their responses can trigger a sign-up request and grow your subscription list.

4. Recruit customers and prospects in every way possible. When someone completes a purchase, ask for their email address at the checkout counter (with the promise they’ll be notified about upcoming promotions or email-only discounts). Include a special subscription check-box after a customer completes an online purchase.

It’s also worth recruiting visitors to your website who don’t make a purchase. Before they exit, thank them for “stopping by” and include an opportunity to sign up for your newsletter. Offer to help them learn more about the products that drew them to your site and/or get details about upcoming sales.

Don’t stop there, either. Invite people to subscribe through every means available to you, including your email signature, invoices, business cards, blog posts, and issues of your company newsletter.

Lee Polevoi

Lee Polevoi is an award-winning business writer specializing in the challenges and opportunities facing small business. He is former Senior Writer at Vistage International, a global membership organization of CEOs.

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