7 simple tips to get and retain email subscribers


Email newsletters remain one of the most effective and cheapest forms of advertising for both B2B and B2C businesses. Email newsletters help build relationships with existing customers, encouraging repeat business. In addition, they perform a valuable induction and initiation function for potential customers, building trust and credibility in your brand, so that they can feel confident enough to make their first purchase.

How to Gain Email Subscribers

Most businesses should be aware of the need to have an email sign-up form on their site, but how can you actually encourage visitors to leave their details in this box?

#1. Utilise pop-ups effectively

One way, which has proven effectiveness, is using lightbox pop-ups. Pop-ups have a bad reputation due to the old school advertising windows employed several years ago by firms which disrupted the user’s browsing experience. The good news is that there is a way to employ pop-ups in a much more sensitive way. Thanks to the development of software like Unbounce, companies are now able to track the movements of cursors browsing their website. Using such software, you can set up pop-ups to only appear when it looks like a user is about to exit your site, offering users the option to subscribe to your newsletters before leaving.

#2. Give value or ethical bribes

Of course, even if you employ pop-ups sensitively, people may be reluctant to give you their email address. This is where the use of an ethical bribe comes in. Essentially what this means is that you offer something of value to prospects in exchange for their email address. This could be a discount code for their first purchase, a free ebook, a special video or audio recording or some other incentive that they would be unable to get through other means. Make sure to communicate in your pop-up box what value offer or freebie visitors will get in exchange for their email address.

How to Retain Email Subscribers

Once you have gained prospects’ email addresses, how do you ensure that they want to remain on your list, and don’t unsubscribe at the first chance? The answer may sound unbelievably simplistic, but it isn’t necessarily as easy as it sounds: Provide great content from the top of your emails to the very bottom of your emails. Let’s breakdown what that means in a bit more detail.

#3. Enticing subject lines

The decision whether or not to open an email rests mainly on how interesting your subject line sounds. A good subject line is as important as flirting is in dating. Your subject line, should, in essence, flirt with your audience, for example by asking a provocative question, revealing a life or business-changing revelation or posing a humorous conversation starter. There is a definite art to writing a good subject line and it can take practise to get it right. Consider the use of A/B testing to measure the effectiveness of various headlines against each other.

#4. Use an email preview

The second thing that may influence someone’s decision whether to open your emails or not is the email preview i.e. how the design of your email template appears in various email clients before the user chooses to open the full email. Some email templates are not formatted properly causing newsletters to look unprofessional in the preview that the email client shows. For example, some emails I receive, appear in their previews to be a bunch of empty boxes with red Xs. Basically if it the design appears unprofessional in the preview, most people won’t open the email. And if people consistently don’t open your emails, you miss out on the option to connect with them, and they will soon unsubscribe.

#5. High value, relevant content

Once people have opened your email, you need to provide useful content that they are interested in. If you know your target market well then this should be relatively easy, and if you consistently deliver great content you could have customers that maintain their subscriptions with you for years.

#6. Consider segmenting your list

Here’s the thing that smart businesses know: not all customers have the same needs and interests. In other words, one email newsletter does not fit all people. For example, email subscribers who have never bought your products before are likely to require different information than long-time, repeat customers. This is where list segmentation comes in. Email subscription platforms, such as Aweber and Mailchimp, allow you the ability to group email subscribers into different lists. You can then send separate newsletters to the different lists.

#7. Use unsubscribe page offers

At some point, you may have people decide that they want to unsubscribe from your list. When a subscriber clicks the unsubscribe button, before you let them go forever, make them a final offer to remain on your list. For example, let the user choose to downgrade the frequency of emails from weekly to monthly, or if you have several different lists, offer them the option of selecting a more segmented newsletter that may appeal to them more. While some people will still want to unsubscribe, you may be surprised how many people are happy to remain on your list with less frequent emails or a more targeted newsletter.

Luke Chaffey is a Digital Marketing Specialist with KBB Digital. For advice on Digital Marketing, including SEO services and Digital Strategy, visit www.kbbdigital.com.au

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