Building a solid email list is one of the best long-term investments an online business can make. Effective email marketing brings traffic under your own control, offering stability and visitors on tap for new promotions or seasonal campaigns.
However, to see the greatest benefits, you need a respectable list size. With typical conversion rates of only 2-3%, you need as many subscribers as possible to make your campaigns worthwhile.
These proven ways of attracting signups will help you increase your reach, quickly and cost-effectively.
1) Offer a Lead Magnet
Offer your visitors something for free in return for a signup. Good examples include an e-book, a checklist, or a how-to guide, but you can use anything that’s easily downloadable. Just be sure to make the gift genuinely valuable, or your fresh signups may feel conned and immediately unsubscribe with a bad taste in their mouths.
2) Contests and Giveaways
On a similar freebie theme, try a contest or a giveaway where supplying an email address grants entry to the draw. Again, make the prize attractive, ideally with an actual monetary value. You can afford to be generous if you’re only offering one prize in return for many potential new subscribers.
3) Lay Out the Welcome Mat
A slightly aggressive but nonetheless effective tactic is to show every visitor a full-screen popup or overlay inviting them to subscribe. However, try to use a little subtlety and persuasion. It’s a fine line between encouraging a signup and hectoring your visitors so much it distracts them from your content.
4) Target Exit Traffic
If a visitor is about to leave your website, why not take a final bite of the cherry by targeting them with an exit popup, a particularly imposing slider, or another relatively bold signup prompt? They’re leaving anyway, so it doesn’t hurt to be a bit more aggressive than you normally would.
5) In-Line Calls to Action
Calls to action (CTAs) are widely used to funnel visitors toward a conversion. But a sale isn’t the only type of conversion that can be valuable. Use CTAs within your content to point readers to the subscription form, offering compelling benefits related to the content they’re reading. A signup is much easier to achieve than a sale, yet the long-term value can be much higher.
6) Free Webinars
If your brand has a reputation for expertise or thought leadership, leverage your knowledge by offering a webinar or online conference, with the only admission price being an email address.
7) Offer Premium Content
Take your most popular existing content and expand on it, making it even more valuable. Place this behind a membership gate that’s unlocked with a simple subscription. Ideally, add new premium content regularly to keep your subscribers coming back for more.
8) Use Advertising
Who says that online ads can only lead to purchase pages? Direct your paid traffic at a signup page and you can secure leads providing marketing options into the future. However, make sure you separate your signup and purchase campaigns carefully so that they don’t cannibalize each others’ traffic.
9) Lookalike Audiences
Another way to use advertising is to feed your existing subscriber list into Facebook’s Lookalike Audience or Google’s equivalent, Similar Audiences. These advertising tools offer a quick way to get your message to potential new subscribers who share demographic features with your existing list.
10) Leverage Co-Marketing
You may be able to pool resources with another company in your niche for your mutual benefit. If you can find a way to cross-market to each others’ lists without being in direct competition, you can both easily wind up with extended reach for very little investment.
11) Exclusive Discounts
Lastly, some old fashioned bribery can be extremely effective. Promote your email membership by offering exclusive discount codes to subscribers, valid for only a short period after each newsletter. This is particularly effective if your niche relies on repeat sales or frequent releases of new products.
Email may be one of the oldest forms of online marketing, but it remains a highly profitable workhorse. Use some or all of these techniques to grow your list, and you can experience the full benefits for yourself.