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Email Newsletters: Increasing Subscriber Numbers

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Mary was frustrated with the lack of subscribers to her new e-mail newsletter. She had taken care to make it a double opt-in type, and was always careful to avoid any hint of spamming.

She believed her e-mail newsletter contained a nice balance of valuable information, along with some great special offers for her subscribers.

The problem for Mary was no one was becoming a subscriber. She didn’t know what to do to improve her subscription numbers. If your e-mail newsletter is suffering from low readership numbers, there are many remedies you can use to cure the problem. What is needed is a little marketing creativity, and a willingness to test the results.

Most e-mail newsletter subscriber efforts make the mistake of being entirely online in their marketing focus. Many more good quality names can be added through offline marketing as well. In fact, some of a business’s most profitable customers might arrive from one of many offline sign-up vehicles.

While many new subscribers can be added away from the internet, most businesses gain the bulk of their newsletter readership from online sources. The many tried and true techniques can be coupled with many imaginative new concepts, gaining many new names in the process. The company website itself, is an often underused resource for recruitment, demanding special attention.

Consideration must be given to privacy issues, as the trust barrier must be passed, for a potential customer to provide their name, e-mail address, or any other personal information that might be required. After the names have been collected, each name adding technique should be tracked for volume of recruitments, and tested for improvements in effectiveness.

With proper attention to every aspect of e-mail newsletter subscriber recruitment, a business’s customer mailing list can grow larger than ever imagined.

Onsite sign up changes get more subscribers

The business’s own website is the most logical, and the most profitable, place to start an newsletter subscriber campaign. Simply making some changes to the structure and content of the website, will add many more new newsletter readers, without any other marketing efforts. Making the company website more newsletter subscriber friendly should be the first place to start.

Any onsite efforts to increase subscriber enrollments should begin with the on page sign up box. The box should be prominently placed on every page of the website. Since visitors enter a site at many different pages, the opportunity should be available to become a newsletter subscriber.

Restricting the sign up box, to only one on the home page, loses the visitors who land on another web page. A chance to enrol as a subscriber, by signing up from every page, increases the number of subscribers.

Often, there is so much interest in what is offered on a page, that the sign up box is overlooked. By simply presenting them, with a way to join the mailing list from an inside page, captures those people who may have clicked away from the home page.

Placing the sign up box, high on the right hand side of the page, is usually better eye placement than on the left hand side of the page. While that location might vary for some people, many researchers have found it effective placement for the majority.

Take advantage of natural eye movement, to ensure that your sign up box gets seen by as many visitors as possible. Note that placement on every page, picks up those potential subscribers, a quick home page scan might have missed.

Some sites do have opposite scans, based on the placement of their most eye catching information. Testing the box on both sides, and measuring the results from several locations, will provide the ideal sport for your site.

Be sure to place the subscriber box above the fold on the page. That means placing the box as close to the top of the page as possible. While you don’t want to crash the sign up box into the top banners, or whatever might be required in that prime real estate, you don’t want to have anyone need to scroll.

To prevent dropping below the fold, where scrolling down the page will be necessary, take into account the average size computer screens of 15 and 17 inches. Don’t forget that some screens have been reduced in size from the installation of one or more browser toolbars.

Use the thank you for purchases (you do have one of those, right?) page to offer a subscription to the newsletter, prior to leaving the shopping cart and the website. Many strong buyers will be motivated to add their name and e-mail to the subscriber list. Those who have already bought, are likely to do so in the future as well.

Taking care of subscribers nets more of them

A plainly worded and easy to understand privacy policy is essential for higher subscriber rates. Make available, at a single click, a highly visible privacy policy page as well. At the sign up location, tell the potential subscriber that their name and e-mail address will never be sold, rented out, or given away. Ever.

On the privacy policy page, repeat those promises, and guarantee them again. Don’t let your legal department use their legendary confusing terminology. That will only frighten people away, as they will suspect all sorts of loopholes, letting their e-mail address become a spam target. Make certain that a spam concerned visitor can enrol from the privacy page, once they are comfortable with your privacy guarantee.

Make certain that any newsletter is what is called “double opt-in”. By that, a subscriber must submit a working e-mail address to the site. A response will be sent back to the potential recipient, who must confirm the request. The method assures the newsletter was wanted and is not likely to be considered spam. While not required by law, double opt-in is considered a best practice.

Sending the sign up response immediately, with a personally written and not default message, will reassure the potential subscriber of the quality of the product. Delays cost the site many subscribers. While at the double opt-in confirmation page, other site’s newsletters can be offered as well.

Such exchanges, of similarly themed e-zines, can gain more subscribers for everyone. Check each newsletter partner, prior to entering into an exchange arrangement, to be sure they also adhere to best practices. Look especially for double opt-in and a strong privacy policy. Avoid anyone who violates those principles.

Be certain that along with making it easy for a subscriber to be added to the list, make it easy and problem free to unsubscribe from the list. While that idea might sound counterproductive, it really helps enrollment.

If a potential recipient believes they might never be able to remove their name from the list, in the event the newsletter is no longer useful, that person won’t join in the first place. Easy enrollment, coupled with simple and problem free unsubscription will add more readers than it will lose.

Other handy ideas for adding subscribers

Offer a free download or a gift to every new subscriber, simply for enrolling. With the ease of creating an e-book or PDF file, any webmasters can turn their knowledge in their area of business, into a book consisting of several pages. For those who prefer to not create their own downloadable book, there are many such items available on the internet. It is better for your online business, however, to use your own informational materials.

Develop your reputation as an expert in your industry. By posting helpful information, at the various internet message boards on your topic, you can become known as an expert in your business area. If the message board permits a signature, use it to recommend signing up for your newsletter. Visitors to your site, seeking additional information, will also find your sign up boxes.

Don’t overlook the obvious benefit of providing high quality content on your website itself. If the website provides useful information to the visitor, that person is highly likely to want your e-mail newsletter as well. The newsletters can also be archived, on the website itself, to provide additional content for both the site visitors and for the search engines.

Subscribers can help add even more enrollments. Make sure there is a link to “forward to a friend” on every newsletter. Many people will pass along the newsletter to their friends and associates, resulting in more new subscribers.

Providing prizes to subscribers for sending a certain number of new enrollments works as a powerful incentive to forward the newsletter. The use of such viral marketing and endorsement techniques is often one of the most powerful list builders available.

Current subscribers, who enjoyed your newsletter information and its special offers, can help get more readers by providing testimonials. Get the permission of satisfied customers and subscribers to print their comments, along with their name and address.

Testimonials are one of the most powerful techniques to build any business. Potential subscribers are much more likely to believe the words of a site’s customers, than those of the business owner.

Add extra subscribers offline

While online subscriptions might form the largest numbers of subscribers, many businesses have found their offline enrollment efforts produced some of their best buying customers.

A business with a bricks and mortar location can offer a sign up offer right at their point of purchase location. The business owner can offer a subscription to the newsletter to product or service buyers. These already existing customers and clients provide some of the best subscribers, from a sales conversion standpoint. A person who has bought from a business in the past is very apt to do so in the future.

Trade shows create a tremendous newsletter recruitment point for adding subscribers. Many interested people will be delighted to join a company mailing list, especially if they have shown interest in the business’s products and services. Offering a prize, a special pricing discount, or similar incentive will also boost trade show driven e-mail subscription levels. The newsletter can supply much needed followup to trade show attendees, as an article can easily be written about the show itself.

Place an offer to subscribe to the company e-mail newsletter in all purchases, on all invoices, business cards, and any other materials, that leave the doors of the business. Make enrollment in this manner a simple process, and offer an incentive for new subscribers to gain even more readers.

Along with adding subscribers, who may click through newsletter offers, many current and potential customers may simply go directly to the website as buyers. Either way, a new customer is born, or an existing buyer retained.

By combining elements of improved website design, with good online and offline marketing techniques, the subscriber list for an e-mail newsletter can be rapidly enlarged.

Add those new subcribers today!

Wayne Hurlbert provides insigtful information about marketing, promotions, search engine optimization and public relations for websites and business blogs on the popular Blog Business World.

Check out Blog Business World for yourself.

Email Newsletters: Increasing Subscriber Numbers
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