Whether you’re building an email list for a newsletter or you’re an email marketer looking to communicate with customers, you need an email acquisition strategy. Email acquisition strategies are tactics that are used to acquire new subscribers and grow an email list. Let’s examine the best types you can use to grow your pool of subscribers:
Opt-in forms are fields where a visitor or customer can input their email address to authorize their subscription to a mailing list. These forms can be placed on a website or landing page, and they typically require visitors to provide their email address in exchange for a free resource or offer.
The best area to place an opt-in form is somewhere you know the visitor will see. Many websites will place it at the bottom of the site, but unless you have another secure way to ask a visitor for their email (such as a pop-up, which we will discuss further on), then such an opt-in form is too out of the way. There’s no guarantee that the visitor will see it when it’s all the way down there, so you will need to put it somewhere visible, such as the top of the page or sidebar.
It’s important that you keep the look of the opt-in form simple. Only ask for necessary information and don’t include too many fields to fill out. The more fields you add, the more likely visitors are to abandon the form, even midway through. Given how common it is for site visitors to browse the internet with their mobile phones, the form should also be mobile-friendly.
Don’t forget to mention what the visitor will gain by filling the form. Even a short sentence explaining that they will get sales updates or discounts is enough to incentivize visitors to become subscribers.
Developing high-quality content – such as blog posts, ebooks, webinars, and videos – can help attract new subscribers. The best way to gain loyal subscribers that will engage with your emails is if they come to you. That way, you know they are engaging with your content because they were in need of something you offer and sought you out. Include a call-to-action (CTA) to subscribe to the email list within the content; this is an effective way to make the visitor aware of your newsletter itself.
If you use content marketing, the incentive to convert visitors to subscribers should be related to the content. If it’s irrelevant, then they are less likely to subscribe – and if they do, they’re likely to become inactive subscribers that you will eventually need to scrub.
For example, if you make content about how to start practicing yoga and you sell online yoga classes, mention any discounts visitors can receive for the class if they sign up for the newsletter. If you were to offer an incentive about discounts for your online shop where they can buy yoga-related merch, this would not be an effective incentive. If your visitors have yet to turn into loyal subscribers, chances are, they won’t be interested in buying anything that isn’t related to how to start practicing yoga.
You can try to promote products to a loyal subscriber, but until they prove that they are interested in your brand by signing up with their email, you should only focus on offering incentives related to the content they consume.
Social media platforms can be a great way to promote email signups. This can be done by sharing links to opt-in forms, promoting content with a CTA to subscribe to the email list, or running social media ads that target people who are likely to be interested in the content.
When using social media to gather subscribers, it’s important to communicate the value the email signup provides as clearly as possible, especially if you are marketing to a young audience for a business. The younger generation has very high standards for the kind of content they want to see on their social media feed, and they value authenticity when engaging with brands.
You can host virtual events, such as video conferences or classes, and promote your email newsletter as a CTA during or after the event. Collecting email addresses at virtual events can be done in a variety of ways, such as links to sign up forms or QR codes.
Pop-ups are a type of opt-in form that appears (as the name implies) as a pop-up window on a website. They can be an effective method of grabbing attention from visitors and encouraging them to sign up for the email list.
It’s important that you don’t have a pop-up on every single page of your website. It can be very annoying for the visitor to have to click out of the window multiple times as they navigate your page. Only include the pop-up on 1-3 of your most-viewed pages. You can use Google Analytics to look up the popular areas of your site.
Always make your pop-up easy to close with a visible “X” or “close” button to reduce frustration and improve the user experience. Consider setting a delay before the pop-up appears, or triggering it based on specific user behaviors, such as scrolling or clicking.
Last but not least, make sure your pop-up is mobile-friendly and easy to use on smaller screens. This can improve the user’s navigation and increase the chances of someone subscribing.
Advertise on Other Newsletters
You can team up with another popular newsletter to promote your own. Targeting a subscriber base that is already active on another email list is a great way to ensure that you are marketing to people who actively engage with emails.
Referral Programs, Lead Magnets, and Giveaways
If you’ve looked up acquisition strategies on other websites, you may have come across the suggestion to use referral programs, lead magnets, and giveaways.
- Referral programs encourage existing subscribers to refer friends and family members to the email list for an incentive.
- Lead magnets are free resources, such as ebooks or templates, that are offered in exchange for an email address.
- Giveaways are marketing campaigns where the customer or visitor can sign up for the email list for the chance to win a prize.
Although these email acquisition methods are valid and widely used, they are not ideal if you plan to acquire active subscribers. That’s because the subscribers will only sign up for a specific incentive. Once they have what they signed up for, or once the campaign is over, they are not likely to stick around and may unsubscribe from your list—or worse, they may even mark you as spam!
Some companies believe that once the visitor turns into a subscriber, then the person will stay once they realize how valuable the content said company provides in the newsletter is. However, you cannot rely on luring the subscriber in with a valuable incentive and then blindly hoping they will stick around for the rest. It’s better for the long-term health of your email list when you focus on marketing your signup in a way that captures an audience that is truly interested in what you provide.