The Insider Guide to Increasing Your Email Subscribers
What’s more important than sending out emails? Increasing email subscribers. Brands with large subscriber lists ultimately see more marketing ROI and convert more paying customers.
Let’s talk about how you can build yours.
- Consumers prefer email over all other methods of communicating with brands.
- Personalized touches and a fresh approach make your emails stand out. Know what your audience cares about and build content around it.
- Prominent, widespread placement of your subscription form is key.
Why Is Email Important?
Today, 4 billion users around the world are using email. 300 billion emails are sent every day. Many consumers indicate they want to receive promotional emails from brands they like.
HubSpot found that 99% of email users check their inbox every day, more than 50% check their personal emails more than ten times a day, and 73% prefer email over any other medium for communicating with brands.
Email is also the first thing people do online every day — before they check the news, go on social media, or start work.
The takeaway: email marketing is one of the surest ways brands can widen their reach, build a sales funnel, and connect with existing customers.
How You Can Increase Email Subscribers?
Personalization matters when it comes to email engagement, and thanks to email automation tools it’s easier than ever.
Individualized subject lines increase open rates by up to 26% and birthday emails generate 342% higher revenue compared to regular promotional emails.
Dynamic content takes personalization a step further by segmenting audiences and using past behavior to create customized content tailored to each subscriber’s preferences.
By including topics or suggesting products relevant to an audience segment, you’ll see better engagement and increase the likelihood recipients will stay subscribed to your list because the content they’re receiving is relevant to them.
In short: people like to feel special, and through personalized email marketing you can provide special experiences for your subscribers.
Some ideas for email personalization:
- Mention a subscriber’s geographic location (Ready to beat the heat in Miami this summer? Check out our new swimwear collection!)
- Acknowledge important dates like birthdays or anniversary of subscription (Hooray! You’ve been a member for one whole year!)
- Show customers you know what they like (If you liked this dress, you might like these too!)
Nobody likes a bore, especially when they’ve got a full inbox to get through every day. People send and receive an average of 121 emails per day for business alone. If you want yours to get results, your brand has to stand out.
One way to do it is to ditch the formal tone and talk to your customers like you know them. And why wouldn’t you?
You do know about your customer base, and if they’re subscribed to your email list, they know you too. Taking a more conversational tone in your emails means talking to your customers, not at them, and builds the connection between your brand and audience.
Quick tips for getting conversational:
- Talk directly to your customer using the second person perspective (use “you”) and by grouping your brand and your customer in a shared experience (“We all need a new [insert product here] every now and then.”).
- Use concise language and short sentences, and don’t shy away from casual words and contractions that you’d actually use in a verbal conversation (“We’re seriously excited about this new podcast episode.”).
Retaining subscribers is easier than gaining new ones, and making a genuine connection with your emails keeps you off the unsubscribe list during inevitable inbox cleanouts.
Perfect Your Placement
No one can subscribe to your email list if they don’t see it in the first place. Be sure to place your subscription link prominently in your emails so customers don’t miss it. Go beyond your emails, too. Place your subscription link strategically on your website — at the bottom of blog posts, above the fold on your homepage, or as a constant in your website’s sidebar.
Some brands even utilize splash pages that serve as the first stop for all of your website visitors and use concise but compelling content like teasers, testimonials, and gated content incentives to get visitors to convert to subscribers.
Make It Easy
We’ve all been there — we click to subscribe to a brand’s email list only to be met with a long, complicated form that asks for our name, address, family history . . .
You get the picture. It’s a fast-paced world out there, and people are busy. The last thing you want to do is make your subscription form so long or inconvenient that people decide it’s not worth their time even after they liked your content.
Think about the information you need to have from your subscribers. Name and email, yes. Birthday if you’ll use it for personalized emails. If you want more information about their content or product preferences, think about using checkboxes that are quicker and easier than manually entering responses.
Definitely keep your content and subscription form mobile-friendly. In the United States, 75% of email users check their inbox with a mobile device, meaning there’s a high likelihood your potential subscriber is reading your message from a smartphone.
In the end, increasing email subscribers means making it quick and convenient for them to subscribe the second they feel interested.
Create Great Content
You might think this one should go without saying. But actually, brands can get so caught up in trying to increase email subscribers that they don’t think enough about whether their content is something people would want to subscribe to.
Good content speaks for itself. The more value your content provides to your customers, the more likely they’ll be to want more of it. So, be sure to create content that covers topics you know your customers are interested in.
Incorporate visual content like product images and videos to make your content more engaging. Stay in the know about industry trends and news and provide your take on them to establish your brand as a thought leader.
Most importantly, pay attention to subscriber behavior and measure content performance so you can do more of what’s working and less of what’s not.
Use Pop-ups (But Don’t Be Annoying)
Okay, this one might get controversial. In general, people think about pop-ups as annoying (that’s why pop-up blockers are a thing). But you can utilize pop-ups as a tool for inviting people to subscribe in a non-annoying way, and when you do they can be really effective.
The key is to only use pop-ups when someone is already showing interest in your content or their behavior is indicating that they may want to subscribe when invited.
For instance: having a “Subscribe now!” pop-up appear the second someone arrives on your website? Likely annoying. Using an exit pop-up after they’ve read a blog post? Good plan.
One company used a well-timed pop-up to increase conversions by 2100% — hard to ignore.
Here’s more on good use of pop-ups:
Why Are People Unsubscribing from Your List?
Why is it that unsubscribes are still passing your net new lead generation? Why does Google have to regulate the emails you send your subscribers, just like its penalties for spammy SEO practices?
The basic answer is, it’s so easy for marketers to get a little overzealous with their emails and make simple mistakes that drive leads to click the dreaded Unsubscribe.
Here are some basic email faux pas that may be the reason people want out of your inbox.
You’re buying lists.
Purchasing lists for cold email sends typically means that you’re sending lists to people that aren’t interested in what you’re talking about. So naturally, the first thing they will do is hit unsubscribe. While buying email lists might seem like a quick and easy way to expand your reach, there are better ways you can organically grow your email database. Try putting valuable, educational gated content on your website for people to download.
According to CMI, 60-70% of content produced by B2B companies is not being used. However, there are great tools like Brightinfo that help produce relevant content based on a visitor’s previous actions. It’s also important to make your subscribe forms – newsletter, blog, monthly webinars, etc. – easily accessible to your audience.
You’re a stage-five clinger.
Sending emails at the wrong time and too frequently is a perfect way to make someone tired of seeing your name pop up in their inbox really quick. So how often should you be sending emails?
You may not love this answer but … it depends. It depends on the type of communication you’re doing. If they are trying a free trial then it’s appropriate to send frequent emails. If someone signed up for a monthly newsletter, then they only expect one newsletter a month. If you’re providing interesting content that’s relevant to them, they’ll be more open to receiving emails more often.
You called them by the wrong name.
Calling someone by the wrong name (or even better yet, addressing them by the wrong gender salutation) just annoys them, giving them all the more reason to click unsubscribe. While merge tags are a great form of personalization for emails, it’s not 100% guaranteed to get the name right every single time.
If you’re going to use merge tags to personalize emails (which I highly recommend doing), make sure your merge tags are pulling the correct data. You should also have a plan for when the data doesn’t exist. For example, if there is no name in the merge field, have it insert the word “friend” or “there” so it reads “Hi there,” instead of “Hi insert name”.
You’re ignoring their feelings.
One of the best ways to turn off any customer or potential customer is to ignore them — their interactions, comments, complaints, etc. The way in which a subscriber chooses to interact with each email provides a wealth of data that marketers can use to better personalize campaigns and connect with the reader. In fact, personalized emails improve click through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10% (Aberdeen).
Your emails aren’t pretty.
When your emails aren’t visually appealing, your subscribers don’t want to stick around. Even if your color scheme looks great and your images are eye catching, have you tested your email on different browsers? What about mobile?
Take the time to test your emails everywhere! Almost every email server, every device, every browser looks different. Test all of them. There are several marketing automation tools out there to help you create and test a well designed marketing email so take advantage of them.
You’re using an overdone subject line to grab their attention.
A study from Return Path on more than 9 million emails found that emails with clickbait subject lines had lower read rates compared to emails with similar content that avoided clickbait words. Below is a list of top clickbait phrases to stay away from in your next subject line:
- get rid of
- secret of
- what you need to know
- you won’t believe
Nobody made a plan after the first send.
You sent out an email blast, great. But what’s next? If your next step is nothing then you’re guaranteed a few unsubscribers. However, in the event that losing subscribers is not ideal, make a plan beyond the inbox.
A sound strategy means you shouldn’t make content an afterthought. Very often, particularly in nurture campaigns and newsletters, content is a critical component of your emails. As a result, you need to pay attention to the content that you’ll share in these emails.
Strategically mapping your content to your email marketing efforts (and even aligning content creation with campaign planning efforts) is critical to your overall success.
Breaking up with you is impossible.
If a subscriber wants to end the relationship, let them. Whether you want to lose a subscriber or not, sometimes it just has to happen. You shouldn’t be wasting time on people that don’t want what you have to offer.
Legally, you need to offer an opt out option for your emails, but even if that wasn’t the case, doing so is simply a best practice in keeping your prospects happy and maintaining a positive brand image. Make sure that you make this process as easy as possible. You can also offer selective opt out options. Allowing people to stay on some email lists while removing themselves from others may actually help to lower your overall opt out rate.
Stay on Top of Email Best Practices
Email marketing is most effective when you deliver a relevant, helpful message to people who have at least some familiarity with your brand and have asked to receive that information.
One of the best things you can do to keep your email marketing strategy relevant and your list of email subscribers high is to regularly educate yourself. Join email communities for email communities for email marketers. Check out blog posts and resources around email marketing. Keep track of the emails that come to your inbox and take note of what you like and dislike about them.
Staying educated on a regular basis and avoiding these faux pas can help ensure you stay up to date on the best email practices and keep your quality subscribers opening their inboxes for more.