Email is a powerful sales and marketing medium.  But to send someone an email you have to first get their email. So the first big step (and really never ending part) of email marketing is building your list.  But who has time to test out everything and see what sticks?  You want tricks that work!  So today we’re going to talk about how to grow your email list with a few really simple tricks you could put into play right away. Things that don’t take a lot of extra time, but really will result in people signing up for your email list. 

Trick #1: Use a considerate pop up.

I’m giggling because there are so many people who HATE popups. But popups WORK. Personally I hate them and I love them. I hate them because they can be so annoying. And if you don’t do them the right way, especially on a mobile device, they are the biggest pain in the butt. I hate it, hate it, hate it, and I will leave a website if I can’t get past their pop up. But if you use them correctly and allow people to easily deny the popup I feel that’s an effective and respectful way to ask a question. 

Bando’s got it goin’ on with their super simple pop up that even offers a treat for signing up!

Yes, if you refuse to allow people to see your site content until they complete the sign up form on your popup you may get more people to join your list. But here’s the deal. Those aren’t the people that you want on your list.  You only want people who actually want to hear from you. The people who optin just to read your one article aren’t going to give you anything that you want from them, they’re not going to buy from you, they’re not going to support you. They’re just annoying because you’re sending them emails. That’s not what we want. We only want the people who want to talk to us. 

In short – I don’t think we should use tricks, I think we should be straightforward. And a pop up is still a straightforward way you can communicate if you set it up correctly. And you don’t necessarily just have to have a pop up that blacks out your entire screen. There are ones that slide in, stick to the bottom, hang out on the page and shake every so often.  So many options!

It’s story time!

One of my team members added a pop up on a client’s website for her email newsletter. And suddenly I was getting email alerts as people were signing up right and left. I thought, “wow, Melanie’s list is doing so great. It’s growing so fast. What am I doing wrong? Why is my email is not growing like Melanie’s is growing. My content is as cool as Melanie’s.” I was feeling a hint of list building envy so I went to her site to check out what was different and was presented with the pop up! I remembered we discussed adding one in our last meeting….and that’s what was building her list so fast!

So that pop up, while it’s annoying, is a very effective way to ask. You’re showing up in front of them and asking. You’re not making a passive ask, just nestled in a sidebar someplace (though you should have those too) waiting for someone to be so moved by your content to seek out your sign up form. You actively popped in front of them and asked. That’s why pop ups work. You just have to do them in a considerate fashion. Yes, I just said a considerate pop up. Is that an oxymoron?

Trick #2: Create an offering…lead magnet…whatever you want to call it.

You can call it a lead magnet, white paper, ebook, whatever you want. The concept is to offer something to your target market needs or wants. Give them an answer to a question that they have or ideas to help them through a problem they’re going through. Provide the answer any way you want to, in a video, a podcast, a downloadable ebook. I mean, the sky’s the limit, right? Ultimately, though, they pay for the answer with their email address.

This is a pretty cool mechanism, because you’re saying, “Hey, I’m going to give you what you want, and you just give me this little piece of information.” 

Here’s a snapshot of our Resources page where our visitors can access or download all kinds of fun stuff!

Here’s the trick though, I feel like…as an honest marketer you should pair this offering with Tip #3 for best results.  It may be overly courteous but just because people give me their email address doesn’t mean I automatically subscribe them to my recurring email list. I have their email address, and I will email them occasionally when I have something that I feel like they’re going to be very interested in. I even email them and ask them if they want to join the recurring email list.

But I do not email them every single time with my recurring weekly email newsletter. Just because they downloaded my offering that doesn’t mean they want to have continual communication with me on a regular basis. That’s why you implement Tip #3 Adding an opt in checkbox on the offering download form. They can check that box and subscribe to your newsletters if they want to. 

Either way, you are getting their email address. I just love to be extremely honest in my tactics. So that way when I develop relationships with people, they’re not annoyed with me to start. Because I’m in this relationship for the long haul, not for the short haul. And that’s why I’m always thinking about how do I want to be treated as an audience member. 

I hate it when I enter into an iPad giveaway at a trade show and then suddenly start getting marketing emails from the company holding the contest. And those stinkers usually don’t even have an opt out button on their emails because they’re not sending them ethically. It makes me crazy! I didn’t opt in to their emails. I didn’t say I wanted to continue this relationship with you. I said I wanted an iPad. Right?

Now, I’m not saying that when somebody gives you their email address, you can’t occasionally email them. I’m just saying, really try to use this information effectively, and the way you would want someone else to use it. People will not be annoyed if you’re offering them something that they want or that they need. It’s just annoying when you’re trying to forge a relationship with somebody who’s not interested and having regular correspondence with you yet. It’s like stalking versus Friends, yeah, use your powers for good, right? 

Trick #3: Add an opt-in checkbox just before every Submit button on every form in your website. 

I first read about this on a HubSpot blog years ago, it’s magic. It’s totally magic. When people are already filling out a form they have already decided to begin communicating with you. Capitalize on that decision and ask them to make one more small decision before they hit submit: to opt into your email list.  

You’ll add the magic checkbox to your email form on your contact page.  And also add it to any forms for downloadable offerings or sales inquiries.  Put the checkbox just before the submit button to every form allowing people to opt in to your email newsletters. It’s that simple and people actually do opt in. 

Your optin pitch could be really simple or a bit more jazzy. I can be really, really simple something like, “sign up for email newsletter”. And that’s it. Alternately, you could say, sign up for our email newsletter to get weekly tips and tricks you can’t live without. Try it both ways. See how it works.

This trick works especially well on downloadable offerings, something they’re going to download and get for free from my website. Just as super simple, “sign up for our weekly email newsletter” will go a long way towards building your list. 

Should the box be checked by default?

It’s up to you whether you start with that opt in box checked or you start with it unchecked. If you start with it unchecked you will have have less people opt in, but you’ll be building a list of people who actually wanted to opt in. So it’s kind of a catch 22. 

Trick #4: Add a link to employees email signatures. 

Remember, your processes are some of your greatest marketing assets. Every Time you have an interaction with a customer or prospect it presents an opportunity to communicate about your business.  Use your normal processes as an opportunity, especially for your people that are on the front lines and talking to prospects and clients continually, to add a link and ask people to sign up for your email list.

Now, you may switch up your pitch or the way you display your pitch from time to time. We’re all guilty of just tuning out the extra stuff on the email, right? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked for someone’s phone number in their email signature to give them a call after a few emails, only to find they don’t even have an email signature. Or if they have a signature they don’t have their phone number on it and I think, “how did I miss that?” If you switch up your email sign up ad every now and again, you can catch the recipient eye and get them to pay attention to your invitation!

Trick #5 Partner up. 

Find a person who works with your target market and team up. Work together to cross promote your audiences Partnering up will get you in front of a whole bunch of people at once. You could write an article for their email newsletter and, if the person sending the newsletter agrees, at the bottom of that article invite readers to sign up for your email list. I mean really, partnering up is a Givers Gain situation. Their audience is getting valuable information from you about something they’re interested in. And you’re doing your partner a favor by lightening their content writing load for the month.

Trick #6: Ask in your processes. 

I feel like processes are the most overlooked marketing assets across every industry. When you interact with prospects or clients, you take them through processes over and over again. Where in those processes does it make sense to ask them to join your email list? The place where you want to ask them is when they’re most satisfied. That’s the real trick because you don’t want to ask them while they’re frustrated or impatient, right?

Let me give you some examples. 

  • PROCESS #1: When people apply for a job with your company
    If you’re hiring new employees and they’re applying online ask them to subscribe to your email newsletter before they submit the application (see the checkbox example in Trick #3). In that newsletter tell them about job openings and company news. Show them how cool you are. You want them to know you’re hiring, but you also want them to know that you’re an awesome place to work and that they want to work with you. So that’s one process that people go through. 
  • PROCESS #2: Checkout
    Restaurants, salons, spas, even a chiropractor have processes for check-in and check out. During these processes ask people to join your email list. You can make it super easy, just put out a piece of paper or a notepad. Or automate it all and have them check in on a kiosk asking them to opt in for your email list. You can ask them to sign up in an appointment reminder text, email or phone call. 
  • PROCESS #3: Events
    Ask as people are checking in to the event, consider opportunities while they are in the event to ask them to sign up for your email list. And I know that so many of these events are not happening right now and they’re going virtual. But if you have a group of people that you are in a zoom meeting with, for example, or in a Facebook Live with, you can just say, “if you love this, sign up for our email list, type your email address in the comments and I will put you into our email list.” 

During your processes, make email signup as easy as possible. Yes, if they don’t go and fill out a form on your website, and sign up the proper way, it does make more work for you. But removing that barrier of entry could get you far more emails than making people take the extra step to go sign up. 

Really friends, the moral of the story is just ask, ask, ask. 

If you do not ask, thou shalt not receive.  If you’re not sure just how to ask check out our recent post on creating your email sign up pitch! Now get out of here and go build that list!

More about the Author

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Monica Pitts

Monica is the creative force and founder of MayeCreate. She has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with an emphasis in Economics, Education and Plant Science from the University of Missouri. Monica possesses a rare combination of design savvy and technological know-how. Her clients know this quite well. Her passion for making friends and helping businesses grow gives her the skills she needs to make sure that each client, or friend, gets the attention and service he or she deserves.

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