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Smart marketers swear by email marketing. After all, it’s number one for ROI. Want in on that success? This two-part blog series will walk you through the basics, whether you’re planning your first campaign or are simply in need of a refresher.

This first part looks at ways of growing your subscriber list. In part two, we’ll consider email design and testing, automation and making the most of your data.

Starting the conversation

Who’s getting your emails? And who else could be getting them? To establish or grow your subscriber list, offer incentives for signing up. Give people something enticing in return, such as a discount code, exclusive news or entry into a giveaway.

Be clear about what you’re offering. Your email subscribers will want to know the following:

If you haven’t worked out the answers, you’ll have zero chance of communicating them to anyone else.

Sweeten the deal

Use clear calls-to-action when asking people to sign up.

Do say:

  • “Get 10% off your next order when you join our mailing list”
  • “Sign up for exclusive news and early-bird discounts”
  • “Never miss a sale again – subscribe now”

Don’t say:

  • “Join our mailing list”
  • “Sign up for updates”
  • “Click here to sign up”

And another way…

Media10_StarTrekBoost your subscriber numbers by using social media to encourage sign-ups. For example, try using Twitter’s Lead Generation Cards and Facebook’s sign-up tab, which embeds your newsletter registration form into the page – so people can complete it without clicking away from Facebook.

Another effective approach is to run a competition or promotion through social media and include a newsletter sign-up link.

One hugely successful example came from Media 10, who promoted email as a source of exclusive news and updates about Star Trek Destination London. An online teaser encouraged people to subscribe, bringing in 12,000 new contacts and an open rate of 76%.

Clean data: why it matters

To keep your data clean, email subscribers who’ve opted in, use a double opt-in process, and never buy data as this can affect deliverability. Getting people’s permission is required by law, plus it’s also just plain good manners.

Try including a sign-up form as part of the checkout process, when customers are engaged and open to hearing more from you. It should also be easy to find on your website.

Timex-sign-up-formGood form

Keep your sign-up form as short and simple as possible. Stick to collecting essential data like names and email addresses, and use progressive profiling to gather data in a more gradual and less intrusive way.

While it’s tempting to ask for lots of information at the start, this can discourage subscribers – as Imaginary Landscape discovered when they reduced their form from 11 to 4 fields and saw a 120% uplift in conversions.

Using a preference centre will also keep your data cleaner and more up to date, as well as helping customers to feel in control.

Now that your list is ready, part two will look at design, content, testing and what you need to support a long-term subscriber relationship.