Unsubscribe and bounce rates for email range from 15 percent to 30 percent per year. To make forward progress with your email list size means minimizing the natural leakage and adding new emails. The top two methods to organically grow your email customer base are through a sign-up form on your website and/or by gaining permission during the purchase process. While not all site visitors may be ready to buy, they may be ready to take that step of getting to know you better.
Even with the growth of social channels, email is one of the most effective marketing channels. In 2011, the DMA estimated an ROI of $40.56 for every $1 invested. With such proven results, it’s no surprise marketers are under ongoing pressure to increase the size of their opt-in email lists.
It’s Not Just Called the ‘Home Page’ for Any Old Reason!
Some of the simplest strategies for attracting qualified fans, followers, customers or subscribers begin where they first interact with your brand, product or service online—your website. Here are a few easy-to-implement tips that will help you start each relationship on a more positive note, helping you increase the number of people you consistently communicate with:
1. Sign Post Your Sign Up
No one can sign up if they can’t find the option to; yet many websites bury their mailing list options on the “About” or “Contact” pages. You’d be surprised at the increase in registrations you’ll get if you make the option obvious. For best results, keep the subscribe button in a place where people are most used to seeing it – generally either on the bottom or the top right of a webpage.
There’s also no rule that says you can only ask once. Include the subscribe option on multiple pages and in multiple locations, then test to see which position works best—without sacrificing purchase conversion.
2. Demonstrate the Value of Your Relationship
Many consumers are reluctant to give out their email addresses or personal data, so it’s important to offer a compelling reason why they should share information about themselves. Be clear about the benefits they can expect to receive from your communications, and remember that a good value proposition is one based on desire and exclusivity.
For example, if asking for date of birth, let them know they’ll receive some sort of birthday surprise. You needn’t be shy about asking for information—just be respectful, keep consumers informed and don’t make it a requirement.
3. Keep it Simple!
The more hurdles through which your potential subscriber must jump, the more likely they will abandon the process. Think easy, simple steps and minimal typing.
- Eliminate address verification: On sign-up pages, only ask for an email address once and display it to the subscriber. They’re more likely to spot a typo when they’re reading it back than when they enter it.
- Consider Social Sign-In: Nearly everyone has an account on Twitter or Facebook. So provide them with options to use their social networking accounts, rather than making them type out all of their details.
4. Like Any Good Host or Hostess: Welcome Your Guests Properly
Think of your list of a community. These are people with whom you want to establish a relationship, and the welcome email (or even a welcome series) is an ideal opportunity to start building it. If your email service provider has trigger message capabilities, automate these emails to ensure they’re sent within minutes of the subscription’s completion. With a more robust provider, you can even make use of more advanced segmentation and testing to fine-tune your approach.
5. Watch Your Language!
Make sure the words you use for your subscribe option are suitable to your audience. “Sign-up” is a good choice—as it’s widely used and clearly understood. Still, it’s marketing language. When dealing with consumers, you may be better off using alternatives that call out your value proposition. For example, “Send me deals,” or “Join the VIP Club” to help express what they’ll gain by clicking that all important button and joining your community.
6. Show Them You’re Doing It Right
A recent study estimated that 70 percent of a consumer’s first interaction with a particular product or service takes place through the Internet. While we all know there’s no second chance to make a first impression, it’s easy to overlook that introductory touchpoint’s value for organic list growth. Adopting consistent best practises with a clear call to action and value proposition for sign up at that very first interaction will go a long way to building the right relationships with engaged, high-value subscribers.
As North American vice president for Emailvision, Bertrand Van Overschelde is responsible for London-based on-demand email and social marketing software provider’s U.S. operations. Reach him at email@example.com.