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Data management / list growth

Three innovative ways to increase your email database

by Anca Staples

Oct 17th 2016


With email’s return on investment reported by the DMA as £38 per £1 spent, it’s not hard to see why marketers are interested in increasing the size of their email database.

But what else can you do apart from placing a sign-up form on your website?

We looked into some of the most innovative ways of attracting new subscribers and here’s what we found:

1. Best for multi-channel (online and offline)

Scratch cards offered with purchase receipts in your physical store can be a great way to engage new and returning customers. By combining the excitement of a potential win, with the physical activity of scratching and the revealed prize (no matter how small), you start creating positive associations with your brand straight away. Make sure that claiming the prize requires filling in a form first so you can capture the data and attribute it back to your campaign.

Card retailer Scribbler tried this strategy with Odicci and gathered 90,000 new email addresses in just six months.


Don’t have a physical store? Try digital scratch cards from dynamic content tech providers like scratch-it.

2. Best for collaborations with an established brand

Collaborating with other brands or celebrities and tapping into cultural phenomenons is always a good way to raise awareness about your company. But how do you quantify that and turn it into a source for future business growth? Bring it back to email by providing value to your audience. To put this into perspective, here’s two case studies.

Media10_StarTrekThe first one comes from Destination Star Trek London, an annual event running since 2012, considered a Mecca for all ‘Trekkies’. As the show has such a cult following, once the word got around about the event it was bound to be a success. But how do you reach the audience?

Media10, the organisers, reached out to fan forums and social networks in advance of tickets going on sale. The company offered exclusive news and pre-sale tickets in exchange for signing up to its newsletter. This gained it 12,000 new subscribers who not only generated engagement with the launch of the event, but offered a database to keep in touch for years to come.
CafePod-voucherThe second case study is from coffee capsule retailer CafePod who won our Campaign of the Year award in 2014. For the 20th anniversary of hit American TV series Friends, the company organised a competition around a limited edition line of coffee capsules with the grand prize of a trip to New York, or 20 Friends box sets. The retailer used the thank you email for the competition to offer a £5 off voucher to all registrants to incentivise purchase. This strategy resulted in a very impressive 5.9 percent click-to-sale rate.

3. Best for measurable word-of-mouth

If your customers love your brand, they will share it via word-of-mouth. But most of the time, this will go undetected as it will happen offline. Turn the situation around by introducing an incentive. If you have a loyalty program, offer bonus points or vouchers to customers who recommend friends who then sign up. It’s important that you impose that condition of signing up, otherwise you might end up with false email addresses and artificially inflate your database.

If you don’t have a loyalty program, don’t worry. Take advantage of your next competition and offer customers the chance to ‘have their name in the hat’ as many times as the amount of new subscribers they recommend.

UK retailer Next does this with its ‘Recommend a Friend’ offer. If you convince a friend who isn’t already shopping with Next to create an account and place an order of at least £50, you both get £20 off.