When it comes to your mailing list, it’s not always just about the numbers. Previously, we covered the top five places to place your opt-in form to build your mailing list. Now, we’re going to look at the top three strategies businesses use to encourage people to sign up for their mailing list and how to make sure those strategies help you build qualified leads that stick around.
Offering something for free to your visitors is an almost guaranteed way to convert them into signing up for your mailing list. The key to this approach is to offer something that you know your target customers would want. Some giveaways that could turn your subscriber into a customer include the following.
- Valuable discounts for your products or services and exclusive subscriber-only deals.
- Free content (eBooks, whitepapers, reports, etc.) that segue into your products or services. For example, if you offer social media consulting services for the health industry, you could offer a whitepaper that shows how various health-related businesses benefit from social media.
There is one major challenge with this approach. No matter how good your giveaway is, you’ll likely get a lot of people who either unsubscribe immediately after getting their freebie or people who will use a throwaway email address that they won’t check later. The latter, of course, is worse since you’ll be paying for a subscriber who doesn’t read their emails unless you regularly purge your list of subscribers who do not open your emails (or click on the links in them).
Don’t fret though. There is a way to offer a freebie that keeps people on your list longer…
If you are offering free content, why not offer it as part of an autoresponder series? This is simply a series of follow-up emails that a new subscriber will receive in the timeframe that you choose.
Using the earlier example of a social media consultant for the health industry, instead of sending a whitepaper with case studies, they could create an autoresponder series that sends one case study per week. This should hopefully prevent the knee-jerk unsubscribe reaction as well as the usage of a throwaway email address as the subscriber would probably want to see all of the case studies.
The key to a good autoresponder series is to not overwhelm your new subscriber with emails. Be sure to consider when your autoresponder follow up emails will reach your new subscribers inbox in relation to the time that you are sending your regular emails. You don’t want your new subscriber to receive two or more emails in one day.
Another way to generate mailing list subscribers is through contests and sweepstakes. The key when using a contest to build your mailing list is again to make sure the thing you are giving away will attract your target customer base.
For example, any business can giveaway an iPad and since just about everyone wants one, they will get a lot of new subscribers. These subscribers will probably not be targeted, and they may not care about your mailing list once the contest is over.
Instead, consider giving away something that you offer as a product or service. If you sell iPads, then giving away one to build your list isn’t a bad idea. If you sell photography equipment, give away a popular camera or lens instead. If you offer web design services, give away a free basic web design package.
Why do the latter contest options work best for generating new business? When people sign up for a contest, they get excited about what they could win. When they don’t win it, they might be inclined to buy it. If you take your winner’s announcement email and include a super discount for the same thing you gave away (20% off the camera or 15% off of the web design package), then you will likely turn a lot of the contestant subscribers into customers.
How do you attract targeted, qualified leads to your mailing list? Please share your strategies in the comments!