Email List Growth Hacking: Prioritize Your Touchpoints First


List growth is a primary email marketing goal and will have direct impact on your business results. You want to set specific, measurable and realistic goals. Realistic means that it should be ambitious, but attainable taking the available budget and resources into consideration. 

An email marketer either has a set budget and see how far it stretches or has a set goal and will get the budget for it. Chosen order of that route isn’t an issue. Did the chicken or the egg come first? Let’s just break some eggs and make an omelet. A smart marketer will always make a concise business case for list growth outlining the chosen tactics to focus on. And answering the question: Will this get me the most majestic email marketing ROI?

But before we begin, here’s an article I suggest you should read, too.

43 ways to build your email list

It lists and goes over some of the most effective ways of growing an email database, including owned, earned, and paid media.


Prioritize your touchpoints – adding ideas

This is why we are going to prioritize the touchpoint list we brainstormed before. This is a bit tricky because touchpoints aren’t a direct translation of the final list growth ideas. For instance, the in-store cash register is definitely a great touchpoint for gathering new subscribers.

But there are several alternatives to capturing email opt-ins for a specific brand, each having a different potential and quality. Going with the instore example, you can use and combine the following.

  • The sales person can ask and type it into his system,
  • Registration cards or a sign up list,
  • Texting to sign up
  • A narrowcasting screen for extra promotion,
  • With or without offering an incentive
  • In combination with e-receipts

Scoring touchpoints

Here is a framework for scoring the touchpoint alternatives, some will be more important than others for your brand specific situation. The most attractive touchpoints will be chosen to start with and to generate a lot of ideas for going to the implementation phase.

Touchpoint scoring points, score them on a mix of:

  • Feasibility
  • Traffic / reach and possible conversion rate,
  • Opt-in data quality
  • Costs: time, effort and expense,
  • Rivalry: Missed other incomes / opportunities,
  • Ease of implementation,
  • Control and predictability,
  • Time to market / implement

Add these Scoring points to your list growth (touchpoint) template

Add these Scoring points to your email list growth (touchpoint) template. We spoke of this list before. For each scoring criteria you add an additional column. Always use numbers to represent the scoring, this allows you to sort and compare them easily.

Feasibility is an indication of the likelihood that your organization can successfully implement it. The less feasible an option is the less attractive it is.

Traffic and reach will be an indication of the possible number of opt-ins gained. The potential in term of new sign ups.

Opt-in data quality can be a 5 point scale with 1 being bad quality, not worth it at all. And  5 being the best quality one could wish for, with clean data and high conversion perspective. An example of a 5 star data quality would be when current or new customers register on your site.

Time to market / implement would be in number of working days – again to sort and compare them easily. The quicker to implement, the more attractive these options are.

Costs come in different forms. Sometimes it is purely your own time, often it is a mix of time, effort and out of pocket expenses. See what works best for you. A simple list growth option might be in (inhouse) hours only. The more elaborate projects can have a rough estimation of project costs at this point.

Rivalry: Sometimes an option represents opportunity costs. For instance, instead of asking for an opt-in we also could have asked for a sale or another piece of information. Not to be ignored if you are planning to gather opt-ins during the check out or sales process.

Ease of implementation almost speaks for itself. Will it be easy to get this done or quite hard? This is sometimes an issue of corporate culture, in getting budget or 


Quick wins and list growth difficulty

Usually you start out with quick wins. Quick wins often occur around touchpoints where you are already asking / registering / identifying your potential subscribers, but haven’t asked them for opt-in or email address. Adding this to your registration forms, log in environment, check out process, your email marketing loyalty program, contact forms is an “easy up” if you email newsletter software and other systems will allows for it.

Here is how marketers in general think their list growth difficulty, from the 2013 MarketingSherpa Email benchmark report. Blog registration, purchase / website registration and social media sharing are the easiest ways. Not per se the best though, that is why we rank on more than one factor of course.

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 10.12.50

As said, it is a bit tricky to score the touchpoints because there are possibly several alternative ways to get the subscribers per touchpoint. The good thing is, now that we have the list of touchpoints and made a rough scoring, we can go through these one by one and work on the alternatives / ideas in a structured manner. Next time we will go through some ideas and how to make that work!

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