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Industry Expert: How to get new subscribers for your email list

Steven Ledgerwood
04 October 2016

Email marketing is a critical component of any successful marketing strategy. But how do marketers build their database of subscribers who want to see their newsletters? Actually, it’s a very challenging task.

From your own experience, you might know that to really engage new subscribers and achieve long-term interest in your email communications you have to break down a few barriers. So how can you differentiate yourself from the crowd, make your audience want to hear more from you, and opt-in for your newsletters?

Here is a guide that will help you to stand out and encourage new subscribers:

  1. Position your opt-in box for maximum visibility. Too often the newsletter opt-in box is hidden at the bottom of a website or pushed over to a side column. Make it big and interesting. Pop-ups that highlight offers, news, tips and promotions should be eye-catching and link directly to the opt-in box, so they stand out. Use the most popular pages on your website to remind your audience of the potential benefits awaiting them should they subscribe to your regular communications.
  2. Create a buzz and a desire to hear more. You have news, you have exclusive offers, you have great promotions and invitations to special events – your audience needs to know this and the best way to tell them is through your newsletter. Why wouldn’t they want to hear more? A tempting hint at what they will find out and how they will benefit if they subscribe should be a good enticement to encourage them to sign up.
  3. Using the power of social. Maximise your social touchpoints. Exclusive offers or giveaways can gain massive interest if they are promoted across social media. Communicate with your existing followers on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter and encourage them to take advantage of your offers by subscribing to your email newsletter. Your social audience is already engaged, so it’s a simple step for them to take.
  4. Share and share alike. All of your digital communications and emails should include a share button. If everyone on your list shares and just one person signs up you will have doubled your list immediately. The more compelling your message or the more interesting your offer, the more likely it is to be distributed widely using social sharing and ‘forward to a friend’ buttons. Make sure every communication includes a link to your sign-up page, so if it does get forwarded it’s simple for a new subscriber to opt-in.
  5. A tempting preview. Adapt the content in your opt-in box to deliver a sample newsletter or an exciting screenshot that illustrates what subscribers will receive should they sign up.
  6. Put the ball in your subscriber’s court. Today’s customer likes to be in total control, so let them choose from a variety of different options and decide how often they hear from you. If a daily update is too much, propose a weekly newsletter, or suggest they only receive special offers.
  7. Only ask for the bare essentials. Keep your opt-in form to a minimum, requiring little time and no effort to complete. You have plenty of time to learn more about your subscribers as you see what they click on and their content preferences.
  8. No spam policy. Be clear that the details your subscribers provide are for your eyes only and will simply be used to send them requested or relevant information. It will go no further or be used for any other purpose.
  9. Opt-back-in. How can you be sure that old or stale contacts really don’t want to hear from you anymore? Give them one last try and send an ‘opt-back-in’ email. If you don’t hear back from them, you can prune your list accordingly.
  10. Putting your blog posts to good use. You put a lot of effort into your blogs or YouTube videos, and they are probably your freshest content, so ensure you add an eye-catching link or a powerful call to action on these whenever you post them.

And now that you have built a large database, you need to focus on content. Treat your subscribers as your friends and try to learn as much as possible about their likes and dislikes, preferences and wishes and fine tune your content based on this information. Take advantage of the innovative technology now available for marketers and create unified profiles for your clients that will enable you to reach them with relevant messages, on the right device and at the right time. Try to automate these messages so you can invest as much time as possible in creating good quality content that differentiates you from your competitors and transforms your customers into brand ambassadors.

Steven Ledgerwood is managing director UK at Emarsys.

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