Email Marketing List Growth Tips


Building an email marketing list can be a slow and sometimes frustrating process but you have to go about it the right way.

When building your list it is important to make sure that every new subscriber has given their permission to be on it. They should have voluntarily signed up to your list through an opt-in process and not had their email addresses added to it from another source, e.g. a purchased email address list. This is the best and safest way of growing your list and obtaining quality subscribers.

Adding email addresses without permission may lead to spam complaints and is counter-productive to your email marketing campaigns. One safeguard against such complaints is to use double opt-ins. With this method a subscriber’s email address is not added to your list immediately when the customer decides to opt in. Instead another email is sent to the subscriber’s address requesting them to confirm that they wish to opt into your mailing list.

An Email Benchmark Survey conducted by Marketing Sherpa in 2010 revealed that registration during the purchase of a product or service, for downloads and for online events/webinars are by far the most effective ways to grow your email marketing lists. Therefore it is important that you design a customer-friendly subscription process that captures the information you need at the right times. Here are some proven methods to achieve this:

1. Make it easy for potential subscribers to find the opt-in

If you are serious about growing your email list, then the registration area on your website must be easy for a visitor to find. Make the sign-up process prominent on your homepage, above the fold. All you really need is a clearly written invitation to opt in to your emails, newsletter or offers, a box where visitors can enter their email address and a subscribe button.

2. Don’t ask for too much information

You should only ask for information at the opt-in stage that you are either legally required to have, or will use for very specific commercial purposes. Most people won’t be happy to provide detailed personal information straight away, so ask only for absolutely necessary information at this stage.

Tests have shown that requesting too much information has a negative impact on the customer experience and will result in lower your opt-in rates, so the less information a potential customer has to provide the better. Email address is usually enough. Any extra information that might be valuable to you such as name, phone number or address can be gathered at a later stage. You have to strike a balance though, as asking for too little information will prevent market segmentation at a later stage.

3. Offer an incentive to sign-up

It has become a lot harder to get people to opt into email marketing lists as they are bombarded with marketing emails these days. To make it easier, offer an incentive at sign-up. This can be anything from free but valuable content to discounts on products and services.

4. Make your opt-in process transparent

It is equally important to inform potential customers about how the subscription process is going to work. While entering an email for sign-up is a good idea, it is also helpful for people to know about the rest of the subscription process, so tell them what will happen next. This is especially important when you use double opt-ins.

Once you have people on board, follow up immediately with information after subscribing. Make sure that confirmation emails reach subscribers within 10 minutes. Send further quality information as soon as possible after the first email. Deliver on your sign-up incentives and design welcome emails that familiarise new subscribers with your offers.

When building your email marketing list, don’t forget to look at opportunities outside your email marketing system, e.g. networking, trade shows, seminars or other offline and online events. Think outside the box and utilise every opportunity you have to get names, addresses and opt-in agreements.

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