Have you ever experienced the bitter sensation of spending hours preparing an email campaign, only to see some ungrateful contact unsubscribe as soon as it arrives in their inbox? A disappointment like this can only be compared with doing the best exam of your life at school for the teacher then to lose the exam papers.
Yet, although the loss of a valued contact may be painful, you shouldn’t let this does affect your confidence. You will have heard people say a thousand times: “you can’t please everyone”, “it’s not you, it’s him”, “it’s best if you part ways”… And it’s true!
The key points for a healthy email list
Despite what you may think at first, the unsubscribe rate is actually quite reasonable (between 0.2% and 0.5%, depending on the industry) and it doesn’t mean that your last email was of poor quality. It’s just the traditional “life cycle” of an email list.
Far from being set in stone, an email list is continually evolving. This is to make sure that our contact list is healthy and, as well as unsubscribes, we need to attract new subscribers who enrich our contact list and, at least, make up for those leaving the list. It goes without saying, that the ideal scenario would be for our contact list to be growing.
Ways to increase your email list
If you see that your list is not growing or, even worse, that it’s decreasing, it’s probably time for you to review your contact acquisition strategy. This is vital for an effective email marketing strategy, and is a bit like a marathon, where it is not the fastest who wins but the one who shows most persistence.
Transform your visitors into subscribers
Do all visitors to your website subscribe to your newsletter? Unfortunately, I’m quite sure this is not the case… The real question is: can your visitors subscribe to your marketing emails easily? If they visit your website, it means that they already have an interest in your company and in what it has to offer… although they might not be ready to buy yet.
Make the most of this interest and encourage them to join your mailing list, which will allow you to create a relationship with this “cold” prospect and will ensure that they remember you when they are ready to buy. Here are some ideas for you to try:
1. Include subscription forms on your main pages
I’m sure you have seen this on lots of websites. Adding subscription forms to strategic pages is an essential part of the contact acquisition strategy. Some email providers, like Mailjet, let you design subscription widgets to add to your websites and, thus, increase your email database.
Although every website has its own special features, the pages on which subscription forms traditionally work best are the homepage, the navigation bar and blog articles.
2. Use pop-ups to capture your users earlier
At the same time, you can also use tools dedicated to gathering email addresses. For example, SumoMe is a free tool that allows you to incorporate a pop-up window, which includes a subscription form to your newsletter, when the visitor is about to leave your site. Integrated into Mailjet, this type of tool could increase your daily subscriptions by 20%. Sounds good, heh?
The key to get the best results is to try various locations, designs and text, to determine the best place to position it. Fundamentally, you want to find the place with best conversion potential, without compromising user experience.
3. Remind your readers about the value of your newsletter in the blog
If you use your newsletter to share content from your blog, don’t miss the chance to remind your users of the added value of your weekly bulletins. Take the opportunity to include banners within your content and explicit references to articles or advice shared via the newsletter.
4. Create and share specific subscription pages (landing pages)
As well as subscription forms on main pages, design specific landing pages to subscribe to the newsletter.
These can be optimized to attract more traffic and encourage conversion and may be linked from different parts of your website or on external pages. For example, you could include a link on one of your publications on social networks, or at the end of a guest post for an external blog, encouraging readers to subscribe to your newsletter.
Don’t forget to include the link to this form in your transactional emails and in the email signatures of your employees, so that every non-marketing email you send also becomes an opportunity to increase your contact list.
Maximize your use of social networks
“Making the most of your audience to enrich your contact list is good. Recruiting followers who aren’t yet familiar with you is better”.
I’m sure that you won’t be surprised if we confess that when we are not in the office, we Mailjetters spend a lot of time on social networks. And I’m sure that your potential clients do the same. Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn are without doubt a goldmine ready to be exploited when it comes to recruiting potential contacts. But how do we do this?
5. Make the most of adverts on social networks to find the right audience
When configuring your adverts on social networks, segmentation tools are so advanced that you won’t have any difficulties selecting the ideal profiles for your desired audience, we promise!
You could promote your blog publications, your commercial promotions, guides… as well as launching specific campaigns to encourage users to join your mailing list. Still not clear? Loïc Le Meur, a client and partner of Mailjet, was able to attract over 1500 new subscribers in a single year.
6. Add subscription links on your pages
Make sure that you include direct links to your newsletter on your social network pages, either with CTAs like those offered by Facebook (Sign up), or through pinned posts or links in the About section. You can also schedule posts every so often, including an example of your newsletter to get people to subscribe, or relaunch particularly successful publications, adding an invitation to join the newsletter not to miss out on the “latest post like this”.
7. Launch a competition among your followers
You could also encourage your social media followers to join your email list by launching a competition.
For example, you could announce that you will be holding a draw for a special gift among all of your email subscribers at the end of each month or between subscribers who have signed up within a certain period.
Capitalize on your valuable content
Another effective way to convert your visitors into subscribers is to offer high quality content via email or on your website. These resources should provide sufficient added value for users to encourage them to sign up for your newsletter, to complete a form to access your content or to share it with their contacts. We will now take a look at the different ways to capitalize on your content to make more contacts.
8. Offer promotions and exclusive discounts
This seems the most obvious option, especially for ecommerce businesses. Highlight the added value that those who subscribe to your email list will get and try to make sure that this is something exclusive that attracts the attention of your potential clients. Take advantage of every possible opportunity to highlight this added value offered by your mailing list and ensure that it never stops growing.
Offering discounts and unique offers by email will encourage lots of people to join your list. Some companies choose to launch this type of campaign on a seasonal basis, during the Christmas period or during sales, while others spread them out over the year. Overall, a more scattered strategy would be preferable to avoid users leaving your list once the season in question has come to an end.
9. Make the most of your Premium resources
These Premium resources may take many forms: an official document, a webinar, a case study.
This focus, which is used more and more frequently, is relevant if, and only if, your Premium resources are easy to find for your potential audience. At the end of the day, what’s the point of creating content if no one is going to see it? To do this, you could create a “Resources” section on your website’s navigation menu;, a sort of online library that refers to all of your Premium resources on a single page.
Another good idea could be to include banners and “calls to action” in content related to your Premium resource, whether it is a blog article or a strategic page of your website. As you will see, we lead by example and we have included a banner for our Building Contact Lists That Convert Customers For Life at the end of this post.
You could also use these Premium resources to reach an audience that is as yet unfamiliar with you, promoting them on social networks, in guest articles, adverts… The more you invest in your promotion, the better the quality if the contacts you will obtain.
So, remember, focus and don’t rush. The fact that someone has downloaded your Premium resource does not give you the right to include them in your newsletter or email campaign list, unless they have given their express consent to register ticking the opt-in box in your download form.
As you can see from this image, at Mailjet we ask users if they want to join our newsletter in the download forms for our guides.
10. Try email blogging or exclusive content
Offering exclusive content only via email, is a way of giving your emails unique value and ensuring greater visibility on your contact list. This practice is known as email blogging and consists of sending publications, articles or advice via email only.
Essentially, it involves creating an exclusive club of readers and encouraging people to join by taking advantage of this feeling of exclusivity.
Daniel Bonilla, one of the leading exponents of email blogging in Spanish, gave us some advice in our post 5 Tips To Reinvent Your Content Marketing Strategy For Email:
“If there are two things that I recommend for email blogging, they are consistency and persistence.
Always write with the same frequency and, if possible, always send on the same day and at the same time. If your subscribers know that, whether it rains or shines, your email will arrive at the same time on the same day of the week… they will go and look for it in the spam folder if it hasn’t arrived.
Don’t expect overwhelming success overnight. We’re not talking about visits, but about subscribers and ensuring that 200 or 300 people receive your emails and, above all, read them – it’s a major achievement. Reaching 2000 or 3000 people is something that is only achieved with time, patience and effort to generate quality content. But the payoff is huge.”
David Bonilla, founder of Manfred, organizer of the Tarugoconf and founder of Bonillaware.
11. Create newsletters with the potential to go viral
Another way to put your contact list in front of a new audience is to make use of content with the potential to go viral. Yes, we know, finding the key to viral content isn’t that simple… but, at least, make sure that your email is easy to share!
If you manage to find the key to content that really does have the potential to go viral, or if you normally include little unique details in your email campaigns, you could encourage your users to share, either by forwarding the email or by adding buttons on the email itself to share on social networks (either at the end or between the different sections).
Recruit contacts offline
Although digital opportunities are abundant, don’t underestimate the options offered by the presence of your business offline, in other words, in the real world. You may have a shop, you may attend events or trade fairs, or you may have a customer service number on which your users can contact you… Any of these is a good opportunity to enrich your email contact database.
12. Promote your contact list in your physical shop
A physical shop is the perfect place to ask your clients to subscribe to your contact list, either through a traditional visitors’ book or having the landing page with your subscription form open on a smartphone, tablet or computer. Remember that it is important that your clients give their express consent and that you have a record to verify this consent.
For example, when a client buys a pair of jeans in a clothes shop, you could offer them the option of signing up to your mailing list to receive exclusive discounts and the latest catalogues.
13. Collect email addresses at events
You could do something similar if you have a stand at a trade fair or event. When someone shows an interest in your products or services, highlight the value offered by your email campaigns and encourage visitors to join to keep up-to-date.
You could also organize a competition to encourage people to join, although raffles and prizes always involve the risk that people may cancel their subscription shortly afterwards, if they have no real interest in receiving our emails.
14. Increase your list over the phone and via support channels
Another option that many companies forget to leverage on is promoting their email list via their Support channels. In other words, customer service telephone numbers, chats or designated emails.
Of course, you are not going to suggest to any angry user to sign up to your newsletter, but it could be useful to suggest this to clients who contact you to ask about services, the latest updates, etc.
For example, if someone phones or emails to ask if one of your products will be coming back into stock, you could reply and also encourage them to sign up to your email database to be the first one to see the new catalogue or learn about the next season’s products or services. You could also add a step at the end of contract renewal or sales calls where your agents tell the caller about the value of your email communications.
In any case, make sure that you have a system that lets you verify that your contacts have given their explicit consent, which is mandatory under GDPR.
To summarize: How to increase your email list
To sum up, to increase your email list, one-off actions are not enough, you need to develop a long-term strategy that responds to the different needs of your list.
These are the ideas that we have gone over:
- Include subscription forms on your key pages
- Use pop-ups to capture your users earlier
- Remind your readers of the value of your newsletter in the blog
- Create and share landing pages containing your subscription form
- Take advantage of adverts on social networks
- Add subscription links to your social platforms
- Launch a competition between your followers
- Offer promotions and exclusive discounts
- Take advantage of downloadable Premium resources
- Try email blogging or exclusive content
- Create newsletters with the potential to go viral
- Promote your list in your physical shop
- Collect addresses at events
- Increase your list via your support channels
If you would like to learn more, download our guide ‘Building Contact Lists That Convert Customers For Life ’, where you will find advice on building and growing your list, why you should never buy email lists and how to keep them healthy to give you the best ROI.
Have you already tried some of these strategies? Would you like to share other ideas with us to include in our posts? Tell us about them on Twitter. :-)