Proven Email List Building Approaches

Ways to Increase Newsletter SubscribersBuilding a successful newsletter subscribers list is an important part of online marketing for software companies.

Why is email list building important?

An increase in newsletter subscribers can help your company in a number of ways. With it you can:

  1. Drive more targeted traffic to your blog or other content you wish to promote
  2. Create a community of loyal readers and followers
  3. Build your brand
  4. Establish yourself as an industry leader

Improve Customer Retention

A newsletter is a wonderful vehicle for improving customer retention, providing you with the ability to keep your existing customers engaged, fulfilled, and happy.

The cost of acquiring a new customer can be as much as 5 times the cost of keeping an old one.
Peppers & Rogers

Significantly Impact Revenue

Customer retention is an important part of any successful business, and can contribute to a significant impact on revenue.

A 5% increase in retention yields profit increases of 25 to 100 percent.
Bain & Company

Be Clear About The Information You Provide

Nobody likes to receive junk email. If you’re not clear up front about the topics and information you will provide, then it’s likely that you will have a high unsubscribe rate. Be open and honest, both with yourself and with your audience. Create a solid content plan to determine what you will, and will not, cover in your newsletter topics.

Newsletter Signup Form Optimization

Once you have a solid newsletter that you’re confident your customers, prospects, and target audience will enjoy the next step is to market it. There are many ways to build up the number of newsletter subscribers in your list using your website’s newsletter sign form.

At OpenView we use ExactTarget to manage our weekly viewing value newsletter. We use web collect forms in a few innovative ways to promote the newsletter to our various target audiences.

Newsletter Popup Form

This popup appears for new visitors to the site after 10 seconds. If a user clicks the “No thanks” then a cookie is stored, and that user will not be asked again for 10 days. If a user successfully signs up a cookie will be stored and they will not be asked again for 365 days. This method effectively targets new visitors to the site, while letting existing, frequent visitors pass through without any roadblocks.

We also frequently AB test various different content within these popups to try out new ideas for increasing conversion. Each popup is customized for the specific website (Blog, Labs or Partners) to target the various respective audience types.

This method currently accounts for 35-50% of our website’s newsletter signup form opt-in’s, and is the most successful method for adding newsletter subscribers to our list.

Drop-in Form

This form will slide down on individual articles and content types when a visitor scrolls through 50% of an article. This successfully targets users who are interested in what they are reading, and would most likely enjoy our weekly newsletter.

Currently, this newsletter signup form accounts for 22% of our website opt-in newsletter subscribers.

Traditional Sidebar Callout Form

There’s nothing fancy about this method — it’s the traditional approach most sites use. The benefit is that it’s easily accessible to all audiences. The downside is that it’s shown to returning visitors and visitors who are already subscribed, and it takes up valuable real estate.

Currently this newsletter signup form accounts for 14% of our website opt-in newsletter subscribers.

Gated Ebook Downloads

Each quarter we release a new eBook on a popular subject of interest to our readers. We ask that anyone interested sign-up for our newsletter, and the results are significant. The success of this newsletter signup form method is questionable — it’s hard to know the drop-out rate for this segment of newsletter subscribers. Someone who is interested in one of our ebook ‘s will undoubtably find value in our newsletter, and if they don’t we make it very easy to unsubscribe.

The ebook landing pages continue average a 42% conversion rate for newsletter subscribers on the Labs website.

Promotional Landing Page

Our last newsletter signup form method for adding newsletter subscribers is our optimized landing page. Many staff members at OpenView have a link to this page in their email signature, and we promote it throughout our various content mediums.

The newsletter signup form on our landing page has a 28% conversion rate on the Partners website, and accounts for 41% of the newsletter subscribers on the Partners website.

Get Feedback From Newsletter Subscribers

The best way to increase the number of newsletter subscribers you have is to improve the quality of your content by asking your existing subscribers what they like, don’t like, as well as their general thoughts. As your newsletter content get’s better, your subscribers will begin to share the content with like-minded peers. This toned down “viral” factor can have an enormous impact on the number of newsletter subscribers in your list, but it takes time and dedication to do it right.

In Conclusion

Hopefully these insights provide you with a better understanding of just how important a list of newsletter subscribers is to your business. Successful newsletter campaigns can impact customer retention, which can increase profit in your organization (25% to 100% over).

So what are you waiting for? Start using the email list building methods mentioned above to create better newsletter signup form today!

Other Email List Building Resources

  1. How To Get More Newsletter Subscribers
  2. 7 Ways to Increase and Retain Newsletter Subscribers
  3. How to Get Email Newsletter Subscribers
  4. 10 Ways to Increase Email Newsletter Subscribers
  5. Tips for Growing Your Newsletter Subscribers List
  6. Customer Retention Principles Whitepaper from Constant Contact
  7. Email List Building Resources
  8. 5 Practices That Will Make Email List Building Your Most Valuable and Responsive Asset
Kevin Leary
Kevin Leary
Principal Front-end Engineer

Kevin is the Principal Front-end Engineer at MIT Technology Review. He specializes in building and designing websites and products. He also writes articles at Smashing Magazine and CSS Tricks. Before MIT Technology Review, Kevin was the Manager of Web Operations at RapidMiner.
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