Did you know that your email marketing database decreases by 22.5% every year?
There will always be people opting out of your newsletter for whatever reason. Maybe they've abandoned an overwhelmed email address, switched jobs, or they’re not interested in what you have to offer, it happens.
But don’t worry, we don’t just bring bad news.
The fact that you’ll continue to lose subscribers over time doesn’t mean that you have to watch as your email list shrinks like Ant-man.
No, no, no - it’s not that bad!
The secret here is about balance.
As some people opt-out, you lure other people in. That way you make up for your lost contacts and engage new ones. Quality still beats quantity here.
This can only happen, of course, if you know how to make your newsletter stand out and your “Sign up” button irresistible to click.
Curious to learn more?
Keep reading as we go through 11 simple, yet effective list building techniques!
Reward Your New Subscribers
Using incentives to convince your visitors to become subscribers is one of the most commonly used list building techniques. And it’s easy to understand why.
After all, receiving a few emails a week in exchange for a 20% discount on that gorgeous bag you’ve been eyeing doesn’t sound like a bad deal at all, does it?
What you need to do is find a reward that is within your budget and that your prospects will find worth signing up for.
Four excellent options would be:
A Promo Code
Who can resist a good old promo code?
Establish a number that doesn’t break your bank and, just like Sur La Table, be clear about it in your sign-up form. We like how they include the terms and conditions for the campaign. It's worth swiping the idea, since you don’t want to be misleading, after all.
A Chance to Win a Prize
If rewarding every one of your new subscribers isn’t an option, you might want to go for a contest.
Just make sure that the grand prize is actually grand and that it is relevant to your target audience.
Sometimes users aren’t particularly interested in a discount or prize, but they’d rather get access to exclusive resources.
This is a fantastic choice if you’re a true expert in your niche, like Jeff Bulas is at generating traffic. So why not follow his example and offer your prospects a free ebook (or webinar, or e-course, or… you get the drill)?
A Free Trial
If you sell software, as Basecamp does, offering your new subscribers a free trial period might be your best option.
Not only will you get their email addresses, but you might just end up with new customers. They’ll get to try your product first-hand, without having to spend a single dollar. It's what we do here at mailfloss, as well, and our users love it.
Understand How Users Navigate Your Website
The way your target audience navigates your website says a lot about how you can market your products or services to them. And it can give you valuable insights on how to promote your newsletter.
There are many metrics you can look at in order to boost your email marketing efforts, but if we had to give only two, here they are.
Discover Your Most Popular Pages
Go to your Google Analytics reports and check how much traffic each of your pages gets. We bet that you’ll notice a few that stand out.
Those are your most popular pages, and they can be a powerful weapon for you to capture more email leads. The only thing you need to do is optimize them with an enticing carrot and a compelling CTA. Both of which need to be aligned with the pre-existing content.
Easy enough, right?!
Discover Where Most Users Focus Within a Page
Additionally, checking heat maps on these pages can help you decide where you should place your forms and CTAs.
Wherever the heat maps say your users’ focus is prime real estate to put an attractive opt-in.
Create a Landing Page
Promoting your newsletter on your main website is a no-brainer. But if you want to take your efforts to the next level, why not create an entire landing page for lead generation?
These types of pages have one goal, and one goal only. To help you capture your prospects’ personal information. Use this info to enrich your contact list and, from there, keep fostering your relationship with them.
In other words, it’s one-page dedicated entirely to your email marketing campaigns.
No distractions, no interruptions… nada.
“This all sounds great, but I don’t have enough to say about my newsletter to fill an entire page!”
Well, that’s what you think.
The reality is that these landing pages shouldn’t have immense amounts of information.
Keeping it short and sweet might just help your visitors read your content until the end. Clarity will help them get the message you’re trying to convey. Ain’t nobody got time for fluff anyway, right?
If you’re not quite sure what to include, take some inspiration from WalkMe’s landing page. Some benefits, one testimonial, a few awards and big clients, a CTA (with the magical word, “free”), and voilá!
Keep Your Sign-Up Forms Short and Simple
We know you want to have as much information about your subscribers as possible. Fair enough. But there's a proper way and then there's the wrong way.
Asking a prospect for their first name, last name, email address, phone number, and favourite soap opera is bad, mmmk? It will only lead them to abandon your website and erode your trust. It's like asking someone to marry you on the first date, don't do it.
In order to avoid this, start off with a simple name and email form. As your relationship with the subscriber progresses, you may ask for more details over time.
You can even ask for the prospect’s email and nothing else if you want to make it as easy for them to subscribe as possible.
Pro tip: When creating your form, remember to include inline field labels, so that users know exactly what to type in and where.
Use Social Proof
Did you know that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations?
Or that the average consumer checks ten user reviews before they make a buying decision?
Statistics like these show us that social proof is now more powerful than ever. And the good news is that you can use it to nudge people to subscribe to your newsletter. And similarly, you can use it to convince users to buy your product or service.
Mention your current subscriber count
FOMO is a real thing.
People don’t want to be left out. If you have a solid number of subscribers, showcasing it might just be the push your prospects need to join your community as well.
“If all of these people follow this brand, why shouldn’t I?!”
Keep in mind that this is only a good idea if you have a big following.
Telling people to “join over 30 subscribers” isn’t nearly as convincing as “Join over 60,000”, is it?
In case you have a landing page dedicated to obtaining more subscribers, having a testimonials section is definitely worth it.
Doing so will make your prospects trust your brand almost instantly, as they’ll see that others had a positive experience with you. However, remember that these testimonials need to be real.
Lying to make your business look good is a huge no-no.
Pro tip: Include photos of real people next to the testimonials, as it is an easy way of boosting “truthiness”.
Include awards and/or clients
When it comes to awards and big clients, we’ve got one simple motto: if you got it, flaunt it.
There’s a reason why you won these awards or got these clients, and that’s because you’re doing something right. You know that, of course. So why not show your prospects that other experts in your industry have the same opinion to increase your credibility?
Promote Your Newsletter on Social Media
If you’ve got thousands of followers on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, yet only a few dozens of email subscribers, you know what you’ve got to do… cross-promote!
There are many ways you can do this. And if you’re a social media pro, we’re sure your brain is already bubbling up with ideas.
If not, we’ve got you:
Create Social Media Ads
Remember that landing page we suggested you created?
If you’re willing to invest some (extra) money into your email marketing strategy, we strongly advise that you promote this page through paid ads.
Simply choose the platform(s) where most of your audience is. Create some compelling copy and engaging visuals. Select the right targeting options. And that's it!
Include a Link in Your Bio
This one is straightforward. It doesn’t get much easier than adding a link to a landing page in your social media bios. Check out how Oktopost does it on their Instagram bio.
Anyone who visits your pages will instantly see it, which means that your visibility and reach have the potential to go through the roof.
If you have other pages that you want to promote on your bio, remember that you can always use Linktree.
Use Instagram Stories to Spark Curiosity
500 million people use Instagram Stories on a daily basis.
In other words, these 24-hour, slideshow-type of posts represent a feature of Instagram that brands like yours can’t overlook.
There are, of course, countless things you can post on your Stories. But for list building purposes, our tip is that you use them as teasers for your newsletters.
Give your followers a hint about what you’re going to cover that week or month. There's no need to give away too much. And don’t forget to add a link to your landing page.
Alternatively, you can mention a good reason why users should sign up. Here, Xtend Barre Australia does with its “rest of the month free” offer.
Use a Compelling Pop-Up
When we talk about pop-ups, you might automatically think about something that disrupts the user’s navigation through your website.
However, if done right, pop-ups can actually be incredibly beneficial to your business.
Proof of that is this study conducted by Omnisend. Here they mention that adding a sign-up form to a website led sign-ups to increase by an astonishing 150%!
But what exactly is a pop-up “done right”, you may ask?
Well, we could write an entire article about it, but for now, we’ll leave you with these three essential tips:
Make Sure It Is Well-Timed
When it comes to website pop-ups, timing is key.
Our suggestion is that you let the user explore some of your content. And only then show them a pop-up. For example, you could show one after visiting a set number of pages. Or after scrolling down a page X percent. Or show one if the user is about to leave your page.
Adapt the Pop-Up to the Page
We’re not saying you need to create a unique pop-up for each of your pages.
However, tweaking the copy to match the content the user is already reading can be a lot more convincing than using a generic message.
Create Mobile-Friendly Pop-Ups
In 2019, 52.2% of all traffic came from mobile phones.
This means that by ignoring mobile users, you’re giving up on more than half of your prospects - which is something you simply can’t do.
As such, follow THE ICONIC’s example and create mobile-friendly pop-ups and forms. These have the right dimensions for mobile users to easily and quickly sign up.
Growing your email list is all about reaching new soft leads and getting them to click that “Sign up” button.
We should mention that there is no one-size-fits all when it comes to growing your email list. Finding which list building techniques work for your audience will be a matter of trial and error. However, once you discover your own recipe for success, you’ll see your email list go up like never before. Even while losing that 22.5% of subscribers per year!