14 Proven Ways to Get More Email Subscribers
Sep 11, 2020|Read time: 14 min.
In the world of digital marketing, email is an absolute powerhouse. It’s a direct line to your customers to share news, promote products, and dangle promotions. But email marketing has a major flaw: it only works if you know how to get email subscribers first.
Sure, you can buy lists if you want to throw away your money. But there’s a much better way to get email subscribers that fit your target audience and care about your products. In fact, I’ll cover 14 different ways in this article.
Value of getting more email subscribers
With an average return of $38 for every $1 spent, email marketing has a massive marketing ROI. This is due in large part to the audience, people who have expressly stated their interest in hearing more from the brand. From prospects to repeat customers, this group on the whole is “warmer” than the audiences found on other channels.
Other benefits include:
Emails are a lead nurturing tool for every funnel stage
Newsletters and other types of emails can reach customers in every stage of your sales funnel with segmented content, tailored just for them. As you grow your relationship with each segment, your emails can nudge them to the next stage of their journey.
You control the message
For an omnichannel business, your email channel is a sacred space. It’s one of the only places where you have your visitor’s undivided attention. On the other hand, your social media platforms or other ecommerce marketplaces all have their own story to tell. So, the deluge of different brands and content all competes for the customer’s attention. With your emails, you have free reign over your branding and message.
Through email you can deliver content to your customers precisely when it’s most timely, and you’re not reliant on a third-party brand. You have your audience’s ear and full control over the information they receive.
Emails can be opportunistic
People don’t like hard sales pitches. If someone followed you on social media or visits your blog, they’re looking for content that interests them. This can include sales and promotional offers, but the customer will quickly grow fatigued and bored if that’s all you share.
By contrast, emails have the flexibility to be more sales-oriented and opportunistic. People subscribe to newsletters with the understanding that they’ll be alerted to offers and deals. Some of them even subscribe because of this! Compared to the restraint you must exercise on your other digital channels, emails are an acceptable place to sell your heart out.
Even your most rabid fans won’t see every social post you make – not even close. You can typically expect only a tiny fraction of your fans to see any given post. And the lifespan of your posts is short. On Twitter, for example, the average lifespan of a tweet is merely 18 minutes.
This isn’t the case with email. Email visibility is high, with every email hitting the customer’s inbox and with new emails going right to the top of their inbox. Almost everyone (99%) reads email everyday and 58% check it before viewing social media.
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Emails drive engagement
Engagement per post on social media is low. Brands on Facebook can expect a .09% engagement rate on average, while those on Twitter can expect 0.048%.
This isn’t the case with email. Expect 15%-25% open rates and 20%-30% click to open rates on average. Factoring in engagement on top of visibility, the true value of your list building and email subscribers increases substantially.
Drive the right traffic to get more email subscribers
Even savvy marketers for the largest brands with more website traffic than their competitors find themselves wondering “how do I get more email subscribers?” If users aren’t converting, then you may be getting the wrong traffic.
Are you targeting keywords without thinking about the users or their search intent? You may need to create — or refresh — your buyer personas.
Build Buyer Personas
One thing almost all brands have in common is that they serve multiple buyer personas. Consider the foodie who wants to try Blue Apron to incorporate more gourmet meals into their routine vs. the working professional who’s too busy for grocery shopping and menu planning. Blue Apron probably has at least half a dozen customer personas, and that’s just for a single product offering. (See more marketing persona examples here).
For brands that sell many products, the segmenting doesn’t end there. There are also more practical considerations: a department store like Macy’s wouldn’t want to promote menswear to a woman who loves shopping for jewelry.
Segment your audience properly and you can target customers with the messages they’re most likely to love. Not only does this increase conversions, but it also makes your emails feel more relevant and personalized for the user. Plus, segmentation simply delivers better business results. In fact, marketers who use segmented campaigns claim to achieve as much as a 760% increase in revenue.
Nearly every major email marketing platform comes equipped with seamless audience segmentation. It’s up to you to design segmented campaigns. Start by listing the different groups you want to target, organizing your customers by any or all of the following:
- Product preferences
- City and state
- Pain points
- Past shopping behavior
- Actions taken (just signed up, visited a certain web or lead generation landing page, abandoned cart, started but didn’t finish a signup form, purchased a certain product, etc.)
Based on those factors, trigger the right segmentation and emails automatically.
Use capture mechanisms to get more email subscribers
Many brands include only one CTA on each page. Feel free to mix it up. Use multiple CTAs throughout the same page, or even repeat the same CTA at key moments to reinforce your ask. Try different formats and offers to see what gets traction. A/B test different versions of the page against each other so you can get a definitive read on what works best.
Need ideas? Here’s how to get more email subscribers, featuring 14 tried-and-true email capture mechanisms:
1. Add a subscribe CTA throughout your site
Your customers land on (and browse) a variety of pages across your site. Instead of letting the home page or a few key pages perform the heavy lifting, give your customers the option of subscribing no matter where they are in their journey.
2. Add an opt-in at the end of pages
The top of your page is prime real estate for email opt-in forms. But don’t overlook the power of hitting your customers with the right offers at the right times. Sometimes a customer won’t discover their burning desire to subscribe until after they have read your masterful blog post, or have scanned the UGC content on the page, or have perused a product collection. Adding an opt-in at the end of the page or on a sticky sidebar is a great way to:
- Remind your customer that subscribing is a possibility in the first place, and
- Guide them towards taking action right there on the spot.
3. Request as little information as possible
If you want to increase newsletter sign ups, then make the subscription process as easy as possible. Never ask for more information than necessary. In many cases, it shouldn’t take more than your customer’s name and email address, or if B2B, you may also want the company name and the person’s title.
The more information you want to collect, the more value you’ll need to provide in exchange.
You can also offer email subscription as an option any time your customer creates an account, checks out, or otherwise enters their information. Because you’re already capturing that information, adding them as a subscriber at the same time is simple. Be crystal clear about what your customer is signing up for, so they don’t feel tricked into subscribing.
4. Transform your blog into a conversion engine
Your mileage may vary, but if we had to pick one way to skyrocket your subscription rate, we’d point you to content strategy and blogging. A blog is the perfect discovery tool, attracting new and returning customers alike with the content they care about. Your helpful, inspiring, or fascinating reads can benefit your audience without asking much of them at all – just their email address. They’ll happily make this trade, as long as they believe in the value of your content.
Turbocharge your blog by varying up the offers. Are they interested in one of your products? A whitepaper? Lookbook? Online calculator? Engaging with you at an online event? Reading a downloadable collection of your blog posts? Be sure that each blog post is driving them to action!
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5. Use gated content or content upgrades
One of the best ways to get email subscribers is to strategically use gated content. Everyone loves freebies, but make sure you get something in return. Transform free ebooks, guides, white papers, original research, and other high quality lead magnets into powerful lead generation magnets by gating them up.
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Then, write a blog post on a similar topic or leave your ebook partially ungated to attract organic traffic from search engines. On the same page, offer to email the full pdf version to the reader.
The practice of gating up content upgrades has been a long-standing practice for countless B2B and B2C businesses for one simple reason: it works. Not only is the content an unobtrusive way to capture the customer’s email address, but it also helps you understand your newly minted lead at a deeper level. The type of content they express interest in will align closely with their pain points and interests, helping you segment them for better targeting.
Just remember to keep form fields simple. You should also include a checkbox to receive your email newsletter, and let people know that they can easily unsubscribe.
6. Create an online tool
Content strategy is all about providing genuine value to your audience so they will gradually see your brand as a helpful industry authority. Written content often serves this purpose, but it’s not the only way to capture attention and meet a need.
Interactive tools fulfill the same purpose while providing a few unique benefits of their own. They are highly shareable. They genuinely help the user immediately. Through the act of using the tool, the user will form a positive association with the brand.
Tools don’t have to be complicated; they just have to meet a need. HubSpot’s Website Grader is a strong example of how to get more email subscribers and build your subscriber list through a free, online tool. Website Grader is so popular that it has organically generated more than 940,000 backlinks from 12,000+ websites. To get the tool’s output, though, you need to enter your email address (as well as your website address).
The tool now ranks organically in Google for more than 6,000 search terms. Simply put, it’s a traffic and email-capturing machine!
7. Host webinars
Webinars are another excellent way to attract and solicit interaction from your target audience. They put a friendly face on your brand and demonstrate the informed, helpful experience your customers can expect when hiring or purchasing from you.
They’re also a natural and painless way to capture email addresses. Everyone now expects that they need to hand off their email in order to gain access to the webinar and follow-up recording. If your prospect is interested in your webinar, giving you their email address will be an easy yes.
8. Offer an initial consultation
Free quotes, personalized assessments, and initial consultations perform double duty by bringing a prospect into your sales funnel and moving them directly to the next stage. Once you capture your lead’s email address, make the sales team their next point of contact.
Your sales team should act as coaches or consultants who listen carefully to each customer’s unique needs and help them build a customized solution. Use the consultation to bring the customer further into your conversion funnel and show them what kind of service they can expect from your brand.
9. Optimize your CTAs
One of the most basic methods of how to get more email subscribers is to optimize your CTAs. Boost the likely success of all your email capture strategies with beautifully optimized CTAs. Keep your button copy concise, action-packed, and enticing. In the copy leading up to the CTA, create a sense of urgency as you highlight your offer and value proposition.
While great copy is your top priority, it’s nothing without great design. Draw the eye in with a CTA that’s high in contrast and readability, choosing colors that help the CTA stand out on the page.
Keeping user expectations in mind, experiment with different styles and shapes. You can use standard CTA buttons, but also try text-based CTAs, images, and icons.
For turbocharged results, optimize your CTAs based on the website visitor’s digital body language and behavior. Are they scrolling to the bottom of the page? Spending sufficient time on the page? Visiting a certain page and then the next few pages in your funnel sequentially? Use tools such as OptinMonster, Thrive Leads, and ConvertPro to serve different CTAs triggered by the site visitor’s specific behavior to capture more email signups.
10. A/B test your CTAs
As you experiment with CTA colors, styles, and messaging, A/B test each change to maximize conversions. You should never have to guess which version your visitors would prefer. The data will point you to the right answer.
Conveniently, CTAs are ideal candidates for A/B testing. CTA changes are specific and isolated enough to yield results that aren’t attributable to other factors, as long as you keep the rest of the page consistent. At the same time, they’re not so specific that your test won’t return meaningful data.
Elements you can test include:
- The wording/messaging of your CTA
- The offer itself
- Button color, size, shape, or style
- The CTA’s location on the page
- The use of one CTA versus multiple CTAs on the same page
- Supporting offers
Give your test time to capture a sufficient sample size of data. If there’s a clear winner, move forward with that option! If two versions are tied and you have plenty of data, that variable is probably not a sticking point for your audience.
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11. Use social proof
Social proof is one of the most powerful influencers of consumer buying behavior. If you show off positive feedback, then your CTAs will achieve a higher conversion rate and you’ll be capture more emails.
Have 1 million customers? Brag about it! Customers praise you nonstop? Add some testimonials to your website! Have 10 million followers on social networks? Tell the world! Offer free trials? Mention it in your LinkedIn profile! Have glowing 5-star reviews? Add that to your email signature!
12. Add subscription links in your social media accounts
When planning how to get more email subscribers, there are some easy tactics that are commonly missed.
Adding social media icons to your email newsletter is a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by the number of brands that forget to do the inverse. Include email subscription links on all your social channels to give your audience another way to engage with your brand. This could be a subscription button on your Facebook page, or if Twitter, a pinned post or even a link in your profile.
If they’re not ready to make a purchase, subscribing to your mailing list is still a great way for them to take action.
13. Personalize your message based on the traffic source
Each person visiting your website is unique. So stop treating them all the same. Different people deserve different messages and offers.
Personalization is an incredibly powerful way to get more email subscribers because it helps you connect with your audience.
Use a marketing automation tool that dynamically adjusts the page and the corresponding CTA according to the traffic source as well as other parameters you set. Did they come from a specific influencer marketing campaign or an ABM email campaign, then customize the message they read.
Tools like Marketo, ActiveCampaign, HubSpot, and Lead Forensics all enable you to customize your site based on the source of the traffic. As a result, you can deliver a more personalized experience for the site visitor.
Even if you don’t know who they are, you can identify and serve personalized messages to first-time visitors vs. frequent visitors or shoppers, or those who take one action vs. another.
14. Use exit-intent technology
As you strategize about how to get more email subscribers, consider ways to engage them when they’re about to leave your website.
Exit intent popups are your last chance to entice your visitors before they leave your site. These WordPress plugins use your visitor’s cursor position to detect when they’re about to leave the browser window frame, at which point a full-screen or lightbox popup will appear with the message or offer of your choice.
Love them or hate them, exit intent popups work. The momentary interruption from the user’s task shifts their focus back to your site and the offer in front of them. Make that offer exciting enough, and you might just capture an email.
Email subscription invites keep prospects in your conversion funnel and give you a valuable way to stay in touch. But don’t ask too much of the user. Pair your ask with a simple offer or value prop, similar to your other opt-in forms. If someone read a blog post, then offer a value-add related to the post topic. Or if they viewed a type of product, offer a last-chance discount for that specific product category.
With an average ROI of 3,800%, email marketing can be a powerful digital marketing tool. However, in order to get the most out of it, you’ll need to have a robust email list!