You’ve probably heard the expression “the money’s in the list,” meaning your email list is one of the most valuable assets for your business.
But is it really true?
The answer is that it depends on the type of list you have. Just collecting hundreds or thousands of uninterested people who are just after free downloads won’t help.
When it comes time to buy, those people disappear and you’re left with a list that’s nearly worthless, even if you’ve built a five-digit email list.
Instead, you want to build relationships and create an email list full of subscribers eager to listen to you and buy your products.
According to 2018 research, the average email open rate across all industries is 32%.
But with smart planning and an effective strategy, you can grow your list and keep engagement rates even higher.
So, how do you do that? It’s easier said than done, but the following tips will help you build a high-quality email list in record time.
1. Craft a more compelling offer
We’ll start off with the biggest and most important element to increase your subscribers—make the offer more appealing.
Sure, you can tweak button colors and improve small factors on your conversion rate. But if you don’t have an offer that converts, you’re being penny-wise and pound foolish.
Instead, focus on what you’re offering prospects in exchange for their email address. Today, we guard our email address carefully. We’ve seen too many companies spam us.
So understand what it is your target customer really wants, and give it to him or her.
I recommend testing a few different offers and seeing which ones perform best.
The crazy idea you never thought would convert emails subscribers might be the best opt-in you’ve ever run. You’ll never know until you start experimenting.
2. Make it as easy as possible to enter an email address
There’s a debate in marketing circles about requiring the first name on an email form, or just asking for the email address.
The argument for the first name is that it can help with personalization later on.
But the reasoning behind just the email address is also compelling—the simpler your opt-in form, the more likely someone is to subscribe.
By removing the name field, you’ll grow your email list faster. If you want speed, consider removing everything except the email address.
In fact, every step you can take to make the form simpler will help you build your audience. The fewer steps between a consumer being interested and them subscribing helps you grow.
3. Encourage people to forward your newsletter
It might seem outdated, but why not?
In an email that you expect will get a particularly strong reaction, you can encourage your subscribers to forward an email.
But if you’re going to use this method, you need to have a few things in place. First, make sure you have a way for new people to sign up.
And second, ensure the people who get the forwarded email don’t click the unsubscribe button—they’ll be removing the original recipient from the list, not themselves.
As long as you can include details on both of those factors in the email, asking your loyal existing subscribers to forward the email can be a great way to find like-minded prospects.
4. Minimize the clicks it takes to subscribe
Most people have their opt-in form placed on the front page of their site, which is great. The home page is the perfect place for an opt-in.
But what happens if people land on other pages?
Oftentimes, website owners only include opt-ins in the footer of common pages, like blog articles. Or worse, subscribing boxes aren’t even available on these pages.
Don’t make the same mistake. Include a place to sign up for your email list across your site, on every page. Include your top-performing offer and don’t be afraid to ask for the subscription.
5. Consider using QR codes
Sometimes, the secret to marketing strategies that work is breaking out of the box. In the case of email subscriptions, the secret might be getting out of the digital world.
Quick Response, or QR, codes are a simple way to encourage people to sign up for an email list even when they’re not online.
These simple patterns are like square barcodes. If you haven’t used one before, you can scan them with your phone and it will automatically pull up a web page.
To make the best use of a QR code, place them in the physical world, like on a product or sticker or sign. Include the basics of the offer next to the code.
Then, when someone scans the code, take them to a mobile-friendly version of your signup form. (It’s important it’s mobile-ready, since people scan QR codes with their phones.)
It’s a unique method of advertising your email list that can work wonders for the right type of niche.
6. Engage new subscribers immediately with your thank-you page
The thank-you page, or confirmation page after a subscriber signs up for your email list, is one of the most underrated places to grow your email list.
There are two ways you can do this. First, you can offer a special discount or tempting offer to the subscriber.
For example, a one-time 50% discount could immediately turn many subscribers into buyers—making them instantly more valuable to your business.
You can also provide something free, in addition to the offer you already promised, that keeps subscribers surprised and on the lookout for more great things from you.
But to take it to the next level, you can also use your confirmation page as a subscriber-generating page. You can create a referral campaign and offer great things to people who get someone else to subscribe.
Alternatively, you can offer additional bonus content but require the new subscriber to share on Facebook or Twitter to unlock it.
There are plenty of tools that can do this very thing for you, like the referral setup with Kickoff Labs.
7. Give the user more control over the content
Part of the factor in the growth of an email list is making sure people don’t unsubscribe.
If you’re getting an increase in unsubscribes, it might not be because people are uninterested. It could just be that they’re overwhelmed.
For someone who simply can’t keep up with all the emails you’re sending, the solution isn’t to force them to unsubscribe. Instead, offer a “light” subscription, or perhaps different plans.
You could offer the standard subscriptions with a few emails a week, a digest email with just one email per week, and a monthly review that summarizes everything in fewer messages.
The idea is to keep subscribers on your list, even if they aren’t receiving the full volume of your emails.
It’s better to have an engaged subscriber with little volume than a subscriber who gets every email, but never reads them.
8. Invite subscribers through your social networks
Email marketing is far from dead, but lots of people today prefer to communicate on social networks. Why not reach out to those people?
You can invite people following you on Facebook and Twitter to join your email newsletter. The best way to do this is to create a landing page specifically for those followers.
Then post or tweet the link to the signup page. Since every email subscriber is worth money, that’s a message that would make sense for paid promotion if you can reach more followers and fans.
9. Craft your subject lines like Tweets
If you want your messages to really stand out in the inbox, you can use Twitter-like shortcodes and emojis.
This type of subject line stands apart from the stream of other emails in a subscriber’s inbox and keeps those subscribers engaged.
Again, an engaged subscriber is more likely to purchase from you, recommend a friend, or stay active and not unsubscribe.
Keeping your existing subscribers happy is a key part of growing your email list.
10. Maximize the email preview
In the early days of email, all you could see was the subject line.
Today, however, email clients like Outlook and Gmail show snippets of the email in a small preview line after the subject.
This is valuable screen real estate, and you should do your best to maximize that space. How can you do it?
Well, there are basically two ways. First, you can simply make the first sentence of your email catchy.
The second option is to include a hidden piece of text beforehand. This preview text shows up in the preview window on these programs but doesn’t appear in the body of the email.
This strategy can improve your email open rates, thus keeping more subscribers around for the long-term—and making them more likely to buy.
If you’re looking to start generating great results with your email list, you need to put in the effort to build a great list.
To do that, explore new and creative ways to grow your subscribers. What would you like to receive in exchange for your email address? What would be enticing for you?
You can use your own judgement as guidance when creating an email growth strategy.
Look to use basic web design principles, too. Improve click-through rate with contrast, better copy, and constant testing.
There’s no silver bullet for an email list that gets thousands of subscribers, but you can work to create a highly successful list by implementing a few key techniques.
What strategies will you use to grow your email list?
About the Author: Sherice Jacob creates beautiful, high-converting landing pages, in addition to designing blogs and writing compelling content. Learn more at iElectrify.