Not too long ago, I saw a fishbowl at the checkout of my favorite store. The sign above it urged me to drop my name and email address in the bowl for a chance to win a shopping spree. Being a normal, red-blooded shopper, I instantly complied, caught up in the fervor of a chance to get free stuff. Weeks passed. Finally, I saw an email from the store. “This is it!” I thought with excitement. But upon clicking, I saw, not the winning gift certificate, but a commonplace newsletter offering me a 20% discount off my next purchase if I printed the enclosed coupon. I promptly deleted the email and a few weeks later after receiving several more similar emails, hit the unsubscribe button.

I know what you’re thinking. Where did the store go wrong? They used a clever gimmick to get people to surrender their email addresses and followed up with a nicely designed email offering a substantial discount to people who didn’t win the contest. But I, along with many other non-winners I’m sure, chose to unsubscribe because they failed to disclose all the information up front. They didn’t tell me that I was not only entering the contest, but also signing up for their newsletter. I was hoodwinked, and therefore I backed out. How, then, can you grow your subscriber list without creating disgruntled customers?

  • Sell It, Don’t Sneak It—Give people a reason to sign up and they will. Offer them something of value in exchange for their email address, like a chance to win a contest. But make sure they know they’ll be added to your list at the same time.
  • Offer Several Ways to Sign Up—It’s not enough to simply add a sign-up box on your website homepage. You need to market your email campaign using a variety of venues such as Facebook, Twitter, refer-a-friend links in your emails, and opt-in buttons throughout your website. And it doesn’t hurt to put a fishbowl at the checkout line of your brick and mortar store either.
  • Reward People for Subscribing—Treat your subscribers like VIPs. They have shown a high level of interest in your company by subscribing, so reward them by offering email-only discounts, early sale notifications, and special offers.

Growing your email list takes a certain amount of creativity, but as you give people reasons to trust you with their personal email addresses, you’ll be rewarded with a larger base of subscribers who invite you into their inboxes. eConnect Email can help you manage those lists, personalize your email newsletters, and track subscriber statistics, resulting in a stellar campaign that increases sales and keeps your customers happy.

About susan:
Susan McClure is editor for the email marketing software company eConnect Email. Susan has experience in all facets of email marketing and enjoys sharing her collective knowledge with the ever growing eConnect Email community. When not writing, Susan enjoys being a mom, reading, hiking, and gardening.