Let’s face it, getting people—a lot of people—to subscribe to a mailing list isn’t easy. With an overwhelming amount of emails already flooding our inboxes, enticing people to sign up for even more emails is a growing challenge. In fact, according to Sumo, the average email opt-in rate across all verticals is only about 1.95%.
But for most of us, email is still an essential part of our marketing strategy, and increasing the number of opt-ins is a critical success factor in the effectiveness of our email marketing programs. Most people (91%) check their email every day, and the majority of business leaders and marketers still tout email to be among the top marketing channels when calculating ROI.
Given this information, you or your marketing team must maximize your conversion opportunities before you even receive a single email address.
So here are several quick tips and tricks you can use to increase the number of subscriptions to your eNewsletter and other email updates.
How to Get More Email Subscribers
- Don't keep your email subscription a secret.
- Leverage pop-up forms.
- Offer a special "subscribers only" incentive.
- Demonstrate immediate value.
- Give them a sneak peek.
- Showcase social proof.
- Add an opt-in field to resource landing page forms.
- Make your email shareable.
- Test to find out what works and what doesn't.
1. Don’t keep your email subscription a secret.
A typical problem with most websites is that joining a mailing list isn't easily visible. After all, you can't increase your opt-ins if no one knows where or how to subscribe to your content. You should first include a signup form on your website, blog, and resources pages.
Add a link to your signup form in your email signature, on your social media channels, company descriptions, and other relevant locations to further increase your odds of conversion. You can even create a marketing automation workflow that creates a pop-up form when a user has visited a certain amount of blogs or website pages. Entice them by using attention-grabbing language with the promise that your content can help them solve their problem.
2. Leverage pop-up forms.
The aforementioned pop-up forms are a simple and effective way to boost your email subscriptions' visibility and conversion power. As a Hubspot agency, our team utilizes "Lead Flows," a tool that enables users to create pop-up forms that market an offer of their choice on specific website pages.
There are multiple types—drop-downs, exit pop-ups, and slide-ins (like you might see on this site)—available for creation, so you have several options to attract subscribers. Regardless of the method you choose, pop-up forms are well worth the effort. AWeber, the email marketing platform, reported that using a pop-up form for obtaining subscribers converted 1,375% better than a traditional form.
Not a HubSpot user? Here's an article that discusses 67 more pop-up creation and email collection tools to achieve similar results.
3. Offer a unique “subscribers only” incentive.
Another great way to generate more opt-ins is to give subscribers exclusive access to an offer of some kind, whether it's free content, coupons, resources, etc. For example, you may offer industry-specific white papers on your website. You may include a spot on that page that states, "Get access to exclusive guides not available anywhere else on this website! Sign up below." Or, give first-time subscribers a special discount on your product by offering a discount in exchange for a user's email address.
Olive and June, the company behind the products that give you a "salon experience at home," cuts right to the chase with a 20% discount for signing up for their email list. And guess what, it works. I immediately entered my email address! I wasn't even planning on purchasing nail polish!
4. Demonstrate immediate value.
As part of your sign-up form, don't just say something like "Subscribe to our Newsletter" or "Join our Email List." That's boring. Instead, include messaging that describes the value of your content. Tell visitors that they'll receive great tips and how-to's, deals, savings, or other subscribe-worthy incentives by signing up.
For your visitors to willingly fork over their email address, you need to make those benefits crystal clear – and answer the question, "what's in it for me?" Going back to Olive and June, they've added a section in the footer of their website that promises new product launches, an enticing offer for its nail-obsessed customers.
5. Give them a sneak peek.
One of the best marketing offers I’ve seen was from a guy who promoted an educational “5 Step” email series. To encourage people to subscribe to the series, he included a short video teaser of the first step. Next to the video was a form and call-to-action: “Want to see the rest? Sign up and receive tips 2 through 5.” Needless to say, I signed up for his mailing list.
Try including a teaser of your own and see what works. It could be a video, a link to a document, a coupon, or an article from your newsletter. When done effectively, sneak-peeks can be used to appeal to new subscribers.
6. Showcase social proof.
It's one thing to tell users your content is worth subscribing to; it's another thing to show them. Numbers are powerful. Once your list starts to gain some traction, it's persuasive to demonstrate how many subscribers you have publicly.
If 12,000, 15,000, or 75,000 other people have joined, why wouldn't you? Highlighting your subscriber count isn't to brag, necessarily, but is meant to convey authority and social proof to your visitors that your email subscription is worth providing their precious contact info.
7. Add an opt-in field to resource landing page forms.
In today's world, where consumer data protection is receiving more attention than ever before, having website visitors—even those who voluntarily download content from your website—opt-in to receive your newsletter is a wise (and increasingly necessary) idea. Particularly when regulations like GDPR are globally impacting marketing strategies on a legal basis, getting informed consent to send contacts emails beyond the one containing whatever they downloaded is something you should be incorporating into your email marketing anyway.
8. Make your email shareable.
Let your subscribers do some of the work for you! When appropriate, include a “Forward to a Friend” link in your email campaigns. And don’t forget to include social sharing functionality on the landing page where your email sign-up is located. Many email marketing applications even have these features built-in. They enable you to use tools like AddThis or SendinBlue, allowing recipients to share your email content via social media.
9. Test to find out what works and what doesn’t.
The only way to know what works best is to test your subscription options. Try testing different offers, headlines, form placements, or incentives. Use tools like Google Content Experiments (free) or Visual Website Optimizer to perform A/B split testing. Comparing your sign-up form to another variation will provide insight into the types of offers that work best for your audience. Once you start trying different strategies and examining the results, you’ll likely end up with a powerful offer that drastically increases your opt-ins.
Are you looking for more email tips? Check out: 5 (More) Tips on How to Get People to Subscribe to Your Email – a follow-up post to this one!
Do you have any great stories or ideas for increasing the number of email subscribers in your database? Let us know in the comments below!
Note: This post has been updated from the original version published in 2011 to reflect current industry data and marketing best practices.