Mailing lists provide an important source of business for small and large companies across multiple industries. Growing your mailing list amongst your target audience and interested parties can yield numerous benefits to your business including web traffic, social interaction, and increased sales and leads. Your mailing list doesn’t have to cost you money and growing your mailing list isn’t difficult if you’re producing high quality newsletters.
The power of your network should not be underestimated. Having a group of individuals who receive your updates regularly and champion you within their network of influence can be a great source of new leads and business. Let’s look at the top tips for growing your list.
Before we start, keep two things firmly in mind:
1. You can only add people to your list who have given you permission, or they’ve signed themselves up, of course. Adding databases of names and email addresses to your mailing list is spamming and is not cool.
2. If your newsletters aren’t adding value to your audience, growing your list will be tough! Make sure what you’re sharing is useful and relevant to your audience to maximise opens and shares and minimise unsubscribes!
9 tops to grow your mailing list
1. Get the basics right!
Be proactive and ask people if you can add them to your mailing list – face to face and over the phone. Don’t just say “can I add you to my mailing list?” Ask, “would you like free monthly social media marketing tips from us?” If you’ve asked someone whether they’d like to join your list and they’ve made that choice, they’re far more likely to open and share your mail out.
Make sure you have your family and friends signed up. These guys are important to your business because they’ll all champion your work and help out where possible.
Have paper sign ups, iPad signups and fishbowls at your events to make sure you’re capturing the data. All these people will have met you or know about your business – give them the opportunity to opt in without needing to ask!
Use your database – is everyone you speak with regularly on your list? Make sure they’re all on there, if not, ask them!
Is there a sign-up link on your newsletter? This sound really basic but loads of businesses don’t have somewhere to sign up if their newsletter’s been forwarded to someone else!
2. Have a simple sign up form
For every single additional line you add to your sign up form, you will increase the likelihood of someone dropping off and not giving you that vital email address! Don’t be greedy and start asking for people’s marital status, annual income and full address. Stick to name and email address. Simple.
3. Physically signpost your mailing list
As a physical venue, do you have physical places which sign post people to your list? If they’re in your shop, bar or restaurant, there’s a good job they’d like to have updates on news, developments and offers. An A-frame, table triangles, menus and wall art are perfect places to have subtle prods towards your mail sign up.
Not a venue? How about using space on your brochure, receipts, online payment forms, shipping boxes or even putting a QR code on your business cards which takes people to your sign up page?
4. Make it easy to find
If you’ve convinced someone you’re the real deal and they should sign up to your mailing list, make sure they can go on your site and sign up. Ideally, you’ll have a widget on a sidebar meaning whichever page someone happens to be browsing, they can sign up instantly.
5. Put links everywhere
Do you have a signup form on Facebook? Do you put a link in your email footer? How often do you tweet it? LinkedIn? In your blogs? Putting links to sign up in guest blogs, in the information of a YouTube video or podcast can help you quickly reach new audiences in your target market.
So this one’s really important:
6. Ask yourself, “what’s in it for them?”
Why would anyone want to hear from you and your business? What are the selling points and the calls to action? Try using “receive new home recipes every week” or “keep up to date with industry news each month” or “receive our latest offers straight to your inbox”.
Go a step further and have a ‘reasons to sign up’ page to outline exactly the benefits recipients get. You can even have an archive of old emails you sent out so people know what they’ve been missing out on!
7. Make it easy to share
In the digital world, shareability is the key to brand and business growth – so if someone would like to share it with their network, make sure it’s straightforward. No one will spend a few minutes working out how they can reformat your email so they can share it over Twitter, so they need an obvious way to share it. Make sure relevant social share buttons are in clear view and that forwarding to a friend is simple too.
8. Run a competition
Being a social media agency we know as well as most, everyone loves a good competition. Prizes don’t have to be expensive, people love the chance of winning something for nothing! If you know the value of each subscriber to your lists, you can work out the approximate return on your prize if you’re going to get 50 new sign ups, for example. These competitions might be collecting email addresses over Facebook or simply in store or trade fairs where you’re holding a raffle. KingSumo is a great tool to help you do this.
9. Incentivise sign ups
Not convinced the masses will flock to the digital sign-up form, yet? Don’t want to run a competition? You need to find a way to incentivise sign ups. Think about what you can give away to new mailing list subscribers. This might be: an offer, a coupon of sorts (Facebook coupons), or free content/download. You can use autoresponders on premium Mailchimp accounts so someone is sent an email within an hour of joining your list.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t get much business through email marketing if you’ve got a small network and poor content! Try these tips and make sure your newsletter is good quality. Email marketing is still effective is done properly which is why we manage e-newsletter campaigns for many of our clients.
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