Increase your newsletter list

Here are 5 powerful techniques to increase subscriptions, and just as important, 5 ways to minimise unsubs­crip­tions.

5 top ways to increase email list subscription

  1. Sell more online
    Web orders are inexpensive to process and customers provide an email address as part of the transaction. Promote your web site in your brochures and in your physical shops. Make your website offer features you can't offer so easily in print or on the telephone, like stock availability, secondary pictures and full product information.
  2. Ask your customers for names
    Friend get friend is a classic direct marketing technique that can be used to great effect. On the site, in your shops and in print, offer a voucher for each friend's email address. Not only will you acquire names, you will also promote your brand and make sales. Your promotional emails themselves should include a tell-a-friend button to encourage pass-alongs.
  3. Cultivate non-buyers
    Many 'suspects' will visit your store or website, get your catalogue or see your advertisements, but won't be ready to buy at that time. Don't waste these golden opportunities to gather email addresses.

    • Add a prominent newsletter sign-up box on your home page with a clear incentive - sign-up to enter our prize draw, or sign-up to get the inside scoop on sales items.
    • Offer a free resource in return for email addresses; it could be an interactive advice generator or a report into something relevant to your area of business. Your best prospects will then self-select from amongst your visitors, and you'll get their email addresses.
    • Replicate these offers on printed material - 'Email 'tips' to and we'll send you our fashion newsletter packed with the latest looks'.
    • Incentivise your store staff to hand out postcards showing these offers.
  4. Prove the benefits
    Provide links to old promotional emails on your web site so that your prospects can see why they should sign up.
  5. Be efficient
    Use your response analysis data to determine which sources of email addresses yield the best ROI. Target your promotional spending accordingly.

5 top ways to minimise your unsubscribe rate

  1. Offer relevance and value
    The key to getting your emails read – and then acted upon – is to make them relevant. Nothing will make your targets unsubscribe faster than if you bombard them with useless or dull information. Email feels very personal, so don’t go for the hard sell, but inform, entertain or solve problems. If your list is big enough you can send different emails to different segments to further enhance relevance.
  2. Get your timing and frequency right
    Don’t send emails if you have nothing to say, or no offers to make. But even when you have a relevant message, track your unsubscribe rate to get an idea of what your customers think. Depending on what you sell, different days of the week will suit you best, so test, test, test to maximise click-throughs.
  3. Personalise and customise
    You may not have enough subscribers to send multiple versions of your emails, but you should at least personalise the message. This means that you must be careful to collect your data correctly in the first place. For example, you should ask for first name and last name, and whether subscribers prefer HTML or plain text emails. Allow subscribers to tick boxes to indicate what they want to see. Not only will this help you to segment your list, it will also reveal what you should be writing about.
  4. Create a personality
    Your emails should come from a named person, and they should convey a personal touch. Emails are almost intimate, and even if your prospects know that they are one of thousands, they will still value an email that looks as if it was just sent to them.
  5. Get excellent copy and design
    The copy must be succinct and punchy, with active verbs and bullet points where needed. The subject line is especially crucial, as many emails are deleted unopened. Your email must be easy to read and easy on the eye – don’t use a tiny font or reversed text on a dark background. Keep paragraphs short and use boxes to split up the content into sections.

We always tell our clients to under-promise and over-deliver. I’m happy to follow my own advice, so here’s a bonus tip.

Get the whole team on board
Start your list growth campaign by getting support from colleagues and management. Colleagues won’t make an effort without buy-in and you’ll need management to sign off any expenditure.

All this list building needs to be backed up by proper tracking of results – don’t just track response to the email, but actual conversion to sales. And don’t stop there – correlate buyers with email recipients Brick technology can help you with this if you wish. One of our clients found that 40% of sales generated by promotional emails came from people who visited the site direct, rather than following a link in the email.

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