A lot of bloggers and marketers will tell you that the single most important tool for growing an audience is a mailing list. With a mailing list, you reach people without relying on Facebook, you can avoid a scenario where your account gets deleted on a whim and you can communicate in a manner that is very personal and very engaging with your audience.
The question though is how you get someone to give you their email address when they know you’re likely to use it for marketing purposes. Here are 8 tips that can help a great deal.
1 Drop it Into Conversation
A lot of sites make the mistake of adding a mailing list sign-up form to their sidebar and then kind of ‘hoping it will get noticed’. This isn’t exactly great marketing and for the most part, people are going to overlook it.
There’s nothing wrong with actually mentioning your mailing list from time to time in other words – and that doesn’t have to be in an overtly marketing-centric manner. For instance, there’s nothing wrong with occasionally saying ‘as I mentioned in the last email’ for example.
2 Make it Exclusive and Exciting
Humans are social animals and we are highly influenced by other people and what we think they’re doing. If you make your mailing list sound exciting, exclusive and like ‘the place to be’, then you’ll find that it becomes much more enticing for potential new signees.
You can even try giving your subs a cool group name, or giving them privileged access to a VIP section of your site or forum. Leverage that FOMO! (Fear Of Missing Out)
3 Use an Incentive
What’s the BEST way to bring people to a mailing list?
The answer that is very often put forward is to use an incentive. This usually means offering a free ebook, a free newsletter or some other kind of freebie in exchange for the person’s address. By doing this, you can thereby encourage people who might be ‘on the fence’ to sign up.
But think twice before you go this route…
The problem with an incentive is that in some ways, it undermines the inherent value of being on your mailing list. You want people to sign up to your mailing list because they love your brand so much and because they’re eager to hear from you in future. Being on your mailing list should make them feel like VIPs and it should even be sought after.
But if you’re offering an incentive to get them to sign up, then you are calling into question whether this is really the case. Suddenly, you’re very transparently trying to ‘buy’ their address off of them. And that’s unlikely to swell them with confidence.
4 Remember to Target
Another issue is that an incentive can actually encourage people to sign up who wouldn’t have done otherwise.
That’s a great thing right? Wrong! Because the only reason you want a follower is so that they become a customer or a fan. It is 100% more desirable to have a small list of people who love your brand than a massive list of people who consider you a pest.
In other words, targeting your audience is even more important than building a big list. So, make sure that you aren’t building indiscriminately and make the list and newsletter sound great for the right people.
5 Be Incredible
Tip five is to be incredible. Have an amazing blog or social media account that people are excited to follow and that people want more of. Think about the sites that you would genuinely want to get an email from. They’re the ones that offer the best content right? The most engaging and interesting ones. That’s how you need to be!
At the same time, your aim is to build authority and trust. People are very protective over their private details and rightly so. You need to earn that trust so that they know you’re not going to take advantage of it by sending them lots of junk and self-promotion.
6 Make the Mailing List Sound Awesome
One kind of incentive that is universally a good idea, is to make the list itself the incentive. In other words, you make your mailing list sound so exciting and awesome that people will want it just as much as they would want an ebook.
You can do this by providing lots of awesome free tips in your newsletters. You can also do it by including graphics and videos, by giving away intermittent freebies and by running competitions. Money-off deals and special offers can also work well. In fact, this is one of the very best strategies because now people are signing up knowing that you’re going to advertise to them and actually seeing this as a positive thing!
All of these serve the same role as a traditional ebook or report as an incentive, but the difference is that now the readers need to keep checking their inboxes in order to make the most of it.
7 Make the Mailing List BE Awesome
Getting people to sign up to your mailing list is one thing. Getting them not to unsubscribe is another. And getting them to actually engage (the entire point) is another still. So, make sure that you are continually delivering on whatever you promised in your pitch; whether that means delivering amazing information, or whether it means really crafting a beautiful newsletter that people will want to read.
This will not only keep your readers glued to your messages, but it might even lead to them sharing that content around by forwarding it on to friends etc. This is something that can help you to grow organically.
8 Use a Light Box
And finally, for our last trick, something nice and simple. Light boxes are ‘pop-overs’ that appear on top of a webpage after you’ve been reading a while. They can be annoying sure, but they statistically drive conversions on email list sign ups… so definitely consider one!