If you have an email list or are thinking of starting one, congratulations! There’s no quicker way to build your customer base than through an email list. But starting and growing one can be tricky. Here are five tips that should help you not only get subscribers, but keep them as well.
1) What’s your ethical bribe? You must have a sign up bonus or ethical bribe to get folks to leave their email address. Sure you’ll get some people who are ready to sign up for anything but it’s not likely that those people will buy anything from you. The tougher it is to convince them to leave their email address, the better suited they are to your customer base.
2) Don’t hide your sign up form. Many times web sites will have sign ups at the bottom of the home page which users generally won’t find. If your sign up isn’t clear and one of the first things surfers see when land on your page it needs to be.
3) Be careful what you ask for. Asking for too much personal data can be crippling to a sign up list. Generally I’ll recommend that people ask for an email and first and last name (in case your email program can customize each newsletter with the subscribers first name). Otherwise leave the extensive data gathering for another time. The quickest way to lose subscribers is to ask them for information they’re not comfortable giving.
4) Overpromise & overdeliver. If you’re going to do this, do it right. Don’t gather email addresses only to offer something of minimal value in the way of a newsletter. Make sure your readers know exactly what they’ll be getting in fact, why not offer to let them scan some back issues so they know right up front what to expect. If you overpromise and underdeliver, you’ll not only lose subscribers but valuable readers as well.
5) Say please, say thank you. You’ve already said “please” with your ethical bribe, now make sure you say thank you for signing up with a robust sign up page. Depending on what your goals are for this newsletter your sign up page can reflect this. Perhaps your book cover or some other information? While you don’t want to overwhelm folks, a blank sign up page is a little lackluster in its delivery and should be avoided at all costs. If you just want to say “thank you” that’s fine too but make sure they have a way to get back to your home page.
If you still find that you’re getting a lot of unsubscribers, take a minute to email them and find out why. It’s possible they’ve changed their interests but in case it’s something you’ve done, you’ll want to find out what happened so you can avoid it in the future. Sometimes you will learn the most from the folks who decide to go, rather than those who have been with you for a long time.