Your 'in-house' mailing list is a very valuable asset. This list represents your existing customer base and those who are potential future customers.. These are the people you need to cultivate thru a targeted and consistent newsletter service. In building this list quality is much more important than quantity. One hundred interested, interactive readers who open your emails are a thousand fold more valuable then having 100,000 "who are they?" email addresses on your list.
Here are just a few ideas for companies actively seeking opt-in subscribers for their newsletters:
- Have Sign Up links on your website - these links can be placed at various points throughout your website. They should include a brief description about your newsletter and how often they will receive it. Don't ask for too many details. The more questions you ask, the less sign-ups you will receive. Unless you have very specific reasons why you need detailed information from subscribers, and are ready to accept a lower subscribe rate, then a good rule of thumb is to keep your form to no more than 1-3 relevant fields.
- Include a link to the subscribe form in your email signature file.
- Take advantage of transactional emails such as bills, acknowledgements, invoices or statements and include a link to your subscribe box.
- Have a 'forward to friend' feature in your newsletter. Have it next to each article to encourage sharing. Do not ask them to provide the friend’s address to you, simply offer an automatic forwarding function. The recipient of the forwarded newsletter will sign-up if they wish to subscribe.
- Promote your newsletter online - Use meta tags, inserting meaningful keywords to help search engines catalogue your content. You might even consider have a subdomain of your business address for the newsletter to further brand it. Look into pay-per-click search engine advertising to capture anyone actively searching for information relating to what your organisation offers. This will be a highly desirable subscriber.
- Promote your newsletter offline - Include subscribe instructions in your voicemail and company hold messages. Callers on hold might be sitting at their computer and sign-up.
- If you send out printed material to customers, such as direct marketing material, bills, invoices or statements, ask them to send in their email address if they wish to receive your newsletter.
- Capture addresses in an opt-in manner at your reception desk, at your events and any conventions where you have a stand or a sponsorship presence. Have a sign up sheet at trade shows and at any presentations your company gives - make it very clear what they're consenting to receive. When sending your newsletter include text welcoming new readers, reminding them where they signed up. Have your unsubscribe function prominently noted.
- Set up Cross Promotional relationships - this involves working with a complementary business sector or company in gaining new subscribers by promoting each others newsletters.