Everyone wants more subscribers, right? Online marketing experts have been extolling the benefits of building your email list for years. “The money’s in the list,” they say.
And they’re right.
In business few things are more valuable than an engaged audience who’s given you permission to market to them — well, at least to communicate with them. But consider this: are you really ever excited to give up your email address and join yet another email list? I know I’m not, and your potential subscribers probably aren’t either.
So, how can we grow our company’s email list in a healthy way, without resorting to annoying pop-ups? Here are five creative ways to build your company’s email list.
HelloBar is a popular website add-on that creates a little “call-to action” strip at the top of your website pages. Use the HelloBar to call attention to a particularly epic company blog post, or to an email opt-in offer. The free version allows for up to 25 clicks a month, and the paid version starts at $5 a month and increases depending on performance (i.e., the number of users who engage with it).
A free alternative is the Attention Grabber plugin for WordPress based sites. With Attention Grabber, you can collect emails directly in the bar, but to do so you have to use the developer’s email service provider, Customer.io. However, you’re free to use the call-to-action to direct visitors to any page you want, and then use the email service provider of your choice.
Viewbix is a complete video marketing platform that allows you to create a custom video player with links and embed an email opt-in form in any YouTube video on your site. It’s a powerful tool because you have someone’s attention when they’re watching a video. Present them with a compelling reason to subscribe and you’ve got them!
Viewbix offers a free trial and is normally $10 per month (for up to 100 videos). The most well-known competitor is LeadPlayer (from the team at LeadPages). If you’re using a lot of video in your business efforts, this software is a must-have.
Visitor Survey or Recommendation Engine
One of my favorite ways to generate email subscriptions is a short visitor survey. The survey is a decision engine that promises personalized product or service recommendations based on the visitor’s responses. I like to use an embedded Google Form for this because it’s free, but you could also use a much more sexy service like PopSurvey (from $24/mo). How does this drive opt-ins?
At the end of the survey, I give visitors the choice to receive a high-value relevant guide and join the mailing list or to say, “No thanks, just send me my recommendations.” I think there’s some level of reciprocity going on here since you’re already giving them something for free (e.g., personalized help), people feel more compelled to opt-in. I detailed this strategy in a LeanMarketing.ca post last year.
Book Intro and Free Gift
One of the downsides of selling books on Amazon is that they’re Amazon’s customers, not yours. You have no idea who bought your work. However, smart authors are beginning to combat this by offering a special bonus to readers, by putting a link to their “free gift” landing page inside the book itself. I learned about this strategy from Kindle publishing pro, Steve Scott. As long as the gift is relevant (e.g., a complementary .pdf guide), you’ll generate a strong response.
One trick to keep in mind is to put this offer in the first few pages of the book, because Amazon’s “look inside” previewer will show roughly the first 10% of the book. By putting the free bonus offer in this section, you can potentially capture leads from people who don’t even end up buying the book itself. Also, be sure to include the landing page URL in addition to a text link. Often people will read while they’re away from a WiFi connection, but may visit the page later to claim the free gift.
Price Alert and In-Stock Notification
Finally, if you run an e-commerce business (or an affiliate site), you can collect emails from customers to notify them of price changes or inventory changes. For example, when you’re shopping at Zappos.com and your size is out of stock, they immediately throw up an email opt-in to offer notification when they get more inventory.
Meanwhile, travel website Kayak.com, offers free email price alerts for flights. Once you specify the route and dates of your travel, they’ll notify you of price drops. It’s a highly valuable service because it saves people a ton of time and money; they no longer have to worry about checking the fares each week — Kayak is doing the work for them!
These days, building an email list goes beyond the standard opt-in box in your sidebar. A multi-pronged attack is essential. What are some creative ways you’ve grown your email subscriber base?