How to get your first 1000 e-mail subscribers

Mailing List

Email marketing is the most effective method of communicating with your customers and creating demand for your products and services. That's if you're able to clear the first hurdle of getting customers to opt-in to receive e-mails from you. Try these strategies to increase subscriptions to your mailing list.

Deliver exclusive content
Focus on delivering quality content and delivering value to your customers, instead of just trying to sell your products. Your customers are likely already being bombarded with messages from other brands. Your content needs to stand out from the noise. Customers should view e-mails from you in the same way they would view an e-mail from a friend.

Think of your e-mail as a gift to your readers. How can you offer relevant content to delight and surprise them? Are you offering free guides, e-books or other incentives? Or can you deliver high-quality content that isn't accessible elsewhere? Approach your communication like this and you'll find that readers are more likely to open and read your e-mails, and even forward them on to friends.

Send regular, relevant updates
It's important to send consistent updates to your subscribers. Choose a frequency, whether it's weekly or monthly, and stick to it. This will ensure that you remain top of mind and that your customers remember why they signed up for your mailing list.

Think of your e-mail as a gift to your readers – it should delight and surprise them. Click To Tweet

Invest in social media advertising
With Facebook lead advertisements and Twitter cards, customers can easily sign up to your list without leaving their newsfeeds. Lead advertisements automatically call in the name and e-mail address of the user, which means that customers can sign up in three easy clicks. Facebook lead ads are particularly cost-effective, and advanced targeting can help you reach the right customers at precisely the right time.

Build a prominent opt-in form
An attractive opt-in form is key to building your mailing list. Make sure that your form is visible on every page of your website, in the sidebar or top header. Better yet, build a dedicated landing page with an opt-in incentive. Keep the call to action simple, offer an incentive and ask only for the information that you need, such as an e-mail address.

Make sure that your opt-in attracts the user’s attention
Lightboxes and pop-ups may be seen as invasive or over the top, but they do work. Best practices are to include a delay of 15-30 seconds, to include a prominent close button and to set the lightbox to appear only once per session. You may also want to consider exit-intent lightboxes that are triggered at the end of an article, as opposed to those that appear the minute the user lands on your website. Run various timing and display tests to decide what will work for you.

Include an incentive
Make sure that the value proposition of your e-mail is communicated clearly when the user lands on your website.

Use social proof to boost your sign-ups as well. If you already have a strong social media following or e-mail subscriber base, other readers will want to sign up to find out what they’re missing out on. Offer exclusive incentives to your e-mail subscribers, such as giveaways and valuable content.

Test different calls to action
Instead of using the words "Sign up" or "Submit", test a variety of different responses to see which ones receive the highest click-through rates. The CTA can convey the benefits of your product or inspire with a rallying cry. Don't be afraid to add a touch of quirkiness.

Test and optimise with free apps
Apps like HelloBar and SumoME offer a hosting of opt-in forms, scrollboxes, pop-ups and sign-up bars designed specifically to help build your mailing list. These apps also offer a host of free analytics tools to help you track your progress and optimise your efforts.

People are more likely to share and forward your e-mails if you follow these principles.

Which of these tactics are you going to try? Let me know by leaving a comment.

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