How To Grow Your List of Email Addresses
Your email marketing depends upon having a list of email addresses to send your message to. And a website is a great way to build a database of subscribers.
It is not mandatory that your e-zine should have a website. But an e-mail newsletter and a website work together so nicely and reinforce each other so well that it is always worth making it a part of your email marketing strategy.
Why should you have a website for email marketing?
What is email marketing, and how does having a website help you grow a bigger list of email addresses?
• A website reinforces the brand name and image of your e-zine
• Many new subscribers will sign up after finding your website online
• You can archive all past issues of your email newsletter on a site
• Readers can be encouraged to interact with you on the website
• A website is another revenue stream for your email marketing
What should you put on your website ?
There are some things that are absolutely essential, and others that are optional when you’re looking to build a list of email addresses.
In the section on brand marketing, we talked about how the choice of a domain name for your e-zine’s website is critical for establishing your brand identity, which helps indirectly in growing the size of your list of email addresses.
Various design elements – the colour of your page, the text styles you use, the layout and graphics – all combine to create an online ambience that is uniquely, specially YOU !
Another important element of online branding is to have an attractive logo for your e-zine. A small graphic that is funny, exotic or catchy will help create a visual impression of your e-zine in your reader’s mind.
This same logo can be displayed on other websites that link back to yours, further extending your brand.
Email list sign-up form
If only for adding to the list of email addresses on your opt in mailing list, setting up a website is worth the effort and expense.
Many web surfers find information online from search engines and web directories. If your website is listed on these resources, many new users will find you. Once they sign up to receive your email newsletter, you have a way to communicate with them repeatedly over time.
It is therefore very important that you provide a simple way for these casual visitors to your website to request a subscription to your email list.
If you don’t, poof! They’re gone. And you’ve lost them forever.
An e-zine sign up form is a simple HTML based box into which an online visitor enters an e-mail address and clicks on a SUBSCRIBE button to be added to your list of email addresses.
The programming for a sign up form is not very complex, but you’ll need to know basic HTML to do it yourself – or you can get one provided by an email marketing service which will generate the HTML code required, so all you need to do is copy-and-paste it into your web page.
Some important tips about using an e-zine sign up form to quickly grow the list of email addresses on your database:
• Provide a form on EVERY page of your website
• Display the form near the top of the page, so the user does not have to
scroll down to see it
• Ask for the bare minimum information necessary for the subscription. In
most cases, this will be a name and e-mail address
• Keep it as simple as possible
About your e-zine
On a section of your website, provide some basic background about your e-zine to help visitors see why it is in their benefit to sign up to your list of email addresses.
This information should include your e-zine’s name, topic, a brief description of its content and purpose, publishing schedule, price (if any) and instructions to subscribe to your list. Pick up ideas from email marketing tips that work for others.
There is much concern among people today about violation of their personal privacy. This is why subscribers to your list of email addresses may be hesitant to reveal much information about themselves or to even sign up to be on your list of email addresses.
“We promise never to share or sell your e-mail address and other personal details”
How to add new subscribers to your list
A reader who wishes to receive your emails should be offered multiple options to sign up to your list of email addresses. The choices most often provided are:
• a web based sign-up form
• an e-mail address
With the first option, the visitor to your opt in mailing list sign up page sees the subscription form. She then enters details in the box and clicks a button to be added to your list of email addresses.
The second option is even simpler. A reader just sends a blank e-mail to a specified e-mail address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) and is added to your list. You can model best practices you find in email marketing examples from popular businesses and services.
With both methods, the list management software program adds the reader’s e-mail address into a database which it then accesses every time you send out an e-zine issue.
Other more innovative methods to ensure sign-ups are
– mentioning “Subscribe” instructions in off-line promotional efforts
– embedding “Subscribe” links into e-mail messages and forum posts
Strategies to add new subscriptions
Gone are the days when you could happily add people to your list of email addresses. Importing addresses from your contact list into a database and sending them a copy of your email newsletter can land you in trouble now.
This technique, called ‘opt-out’ subscribing, is one of the worst ways to grow your list and drastically damages your credibility as an e-zine publisher.
Instead, offer your reader the choice to receive your e-zine – a process called opt in list building, which is excellent for relationship marketing
Better still, offer it twice!
Opt in mailing list growth is the process where a potential subscriber finds information about your e-zine and requests to receive it. It is much fairer than opt-out, where readers have your e-zine thrust into their inboxes.
The safest method – in terms of avoiding later spam accusations – is the ‘Double Opt-In’ email marketing strategy.
Here, when a reader requests a subscription to your mailing list, (s)he is sent another e-mail to which (s)he must reply to activate the subscription. This avoids the not uncommon event of people using someone else’s e-mail id to sign up for your e-zine.
On many of the e-zine distributing services, double opt-in is the method adopted by default.
Save a copy of every subscription request – by e-mail or from a website form. Later on, if ever you were to be accused of spamming, you can prove the subscriber requested to be on your email list. This strategy will also help you identify and track any forged subscription requests.
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