Email is the original method of online communication, predating social networks and the subsequent social media craze by decades. Yet with the unreliability of organic search traffic, and the cost of reaching followers on social media, the importance to businesses of building mailing lists has never been greater.
Once a list is built, it needs to be curated to prevent stagnation and dwindling subscriber numbers. Recipients may lose interest if they go without hearing from a business for too long, or if the mailings they do receive don’t seem relevant. Disinterested subscribers may unsubscribe, ignore the messages, or even mark them as spam.
Even a perfectly run mailing list will lose a few subscribers, however, so a healthy mailing list will have a regular inflow of new subscribers, for size maintenance and growth.
So how do you grow your list? Here are five steps to follow:
Make your opt-in form hard to miss Put the form on a prominent place on your website, so your visitors can’t miss it. Popups and lightboxes are popular for this purpose, as they can dramatically improve opt-in rates, but many visitors find them spammy. If you decide to use them, check out these tips for making them less of a nuisance.
Provide excellent value Long gone are the days when any email was a good email. Prove to subscribers that your messages are worth a place in their inboxes and time out of their days. Ideally, each message your subscribers receive will remind them why subscribed in the first place.
Make opting-in enticing Even if you have great mailings, potential subscribers don’t know that yet. Convince them to give you a shot with a freebie, discount, or special offer.
Spread the word Place calls-to-action (CTAs) and link to your opt-in offers throughout your entire online presence, including websites, social media pages, blogs, videos, and email.
Leverage social sharing Encourage your followers and subscribers to share your content when it excites them.
After you’ve covered the essentials, there are a few more tactics you can try.
Use Facebook ads A properly tuned Facebook ad campaign can be an inexpensive way to build your audience, by allowing your opt-in offers to reach beyond your current sphere of influence.
Create offers and content specifically for different markets It can be tempting to save time by posting the same copy on each platform, but social media sites tend to have very different audiences and demographics. At first glance, for example, image sharing sites Pinterest and Instagram might seem similar, but the focus, format, and tone of content is actually very different on each site.
Incorporate video Create videos designed to attract new subscribers. Don’t forget to include your opt-in offer!
Host a webinar As an interactive alternative to video, content-filled webinars can be effective at building audiences. Not only do attendees get top-notch content, but the personal touch of a live webinar will help increase your industry authority and enhance your relationship with attendees.