Growth, growth, growth… everyone is looking to acquire new fans, new followers, new visitors, new.. new.. new. What about your existing visitors? What are you doing to improve the opportunity to drive them closer to doing business with you? We’ve made the mistake ourselves… pushing for better search, more promotion, increased social presence. The results were always more visitors to the site but not necessarily more revenue downstream. Growing your email list should be a primary strategy for your online strategy.
In the last few years, our focus has actually turned away from fans and followers and has moved to mediums – especially email marketing. Our list continues to grow and is at a respectable 100,000 subscribers. It’s taken us a decade to get to that point but, without a doubt, it’s the best investment we’ve ever made. When I send out an email, it turns into direct revenue for us or direct leads to the companies we discuss. Just recently, Shel Israel and Robert Scoble thanked me for the spike they saw in their book sales when our weekly newsletter went out.
— shel israel (@shelisrael) October 15, 2013
Growing your email list is quite different from adding fans or followers. Having a visitor provide you direct access to their inbox is the ultimate sign of trust. It’s a trust that shouldn’t be abused, but definitely has to be cared for. If you’re working hard to bring people to your site and you don’t have a means of subscribing, you’re simply leaving money off the table for your company. When folks return to your site over and over, they will subscribe when they think there’s value in the subscription.
Growing your email list also requires hard work. Email service providers are getting ridiculous in dealing with companies that grow their lists rapidly for fear of hurting their overall deliverability. We’ve been at war with a couple of vendors because they wanted to limit our ability to add to our lists. They assume you’re a spammer when you’re importing a couple thousand subscribers – not that you simply had an opt-in on a webinar that you’re adding.
Here are several list-building and retention ideas from GetResponse that will help you get the best results from all your email marketing activities. GetResponse has a 15% lifetime discount if you sign up with our affiliate link. They have hundreds of fantastic templates and a rock solid interface that’s simple for anyone to use.
- Provide Value – Every week, we share our latest posts and a unique message to our subscribers. Sometimes it’s a discount, sometimes just some solid advice that our audience can put to use. Our goal is that every subscriber finds something of value in every email we send.
- Subscription Forms – It’s not pretty, but our dropdown on our site gets us over 150 new subscribers a month! We also have a subscribe page. We’ve also tested popping forms up in the middle of the screen and had great results – but I’m still on the fence about being so interruptive.
- Social Sign-Ups – Add a signup form to your Facebook page and offer your fans and followers the opportunity to signup every once in a while. We try to push it out there about once a month.
- Make it Easy – Don’t ask for a ton of fields… an email address and a name is a great start. When folks opt into other offers you can request additional information. Your email sign-up isn’t the same as someone seeking to do business with you, they’re just engaging a bit deeper with you. Don’t scare them off!
- Samples – Let folks see an example of your newsletter! We often publish a link to our last newsletter when pushing folks to subscribe via social media. When they see it, they know what to expect and they opt in.
- Archive – Having an online library of past newsletters and articles is both appealing and useful to visitors and builds your credibility as an authority. In addition, if your articles are written with good SEO techniques in mind, they can increase traffic to your website through enhanced search engine positioning.
- Have an Offer – If one of our sponsors has a discount or giveaway, we’ll use that to entice folks to opt in to our next newsletter to take advantage of the offer. Providing these benefits will keep your subscribers opted in as well!
- Word of Mouth – offer a link in your email where your subscribers can share your newsletter with their network. Word of mouth is a powerful way to add subscribers!
- Share Your Content – sharing your content with other outlets is a great way to attract their audience into your email marketing list. Folks are always looking to share great content – give yours away and have them just provide a subscription link where folks can sign up for more!
- Sign Up – having a subscribe button isn’t just important on your site, it’s actually important in your email as it’s forwarded to others. Be sure to have a signup button in every newsletter that goes out!
- Convert More – When folks sign up on a landing page, add a comment, or engage with you anywhere on your site, do you offer a means to opt-in to your email marketing list? You should!
- Testimonials – Include testimonials on your subscribe and squeeze pages. This is crucial. Put one or two strong testimonials from satisfied customers on your squeeze page.To further enhance believability, get permission to use actual customer names, locations and/or urls (Don’t use ‘Bob K, FL’).
- Blog religiously – Blogging is a great way to communicate with prospects and potential customers, and creates a nice synergy with your email marketing. Be sure to include your newsletter sign-up form on each page of your blog.
The biggest tip #15 has been our greatest performer. Work with other organizations to offer your subscription. When we work on a webinar with a client, we offer the subscription at the time of registration. When we speak at an event, we offer folks the opportunity to sign up directly in our slides. We even offer the ability to text your subscription via SMS – it’s a great way to get folks opted in!