If you google “how to grow an email list”, you get 4,600,000 results.
It’s been a hot topic lately, with email marketing gurus giving out tips including the use of opt-in forms, pop ups, freebies, and offering up your first born child as a giveaway. To be clear — those things do work if you simply want to increase your number of subscribers. Well maybe not that last one, but I’m not sure that’s legal anyway.
So, you might ask, what’s wrong with that? Isn’t the goal to get your content in front of more people? The answer is… Kind of. Your goal should be to get your content in front of more people who are in a very specific target market.
I am a self-proclaimed newsletter junkie. Whether I’m actually interested in your content or I just want to see the design of your newsletter, I’ve probably signed up for your email list. If you’re a company that sells light bulbs that double as bluetooth speakers (it’s a thing, trust me — just ask my fiance), I might be on your email list for research purposes but I’m not going to buy anything from you (and not just because we already own one). You’re probably going to look at my email address and be excited that one more person has subscribed to and is opening your weekly emails about light bulb speakers.
The problem? I am not in your target market, and me opening your emails is never going to make you a dime.
So, how do you attract only your target market to your email list?
Create website copy and content that is specifically aimed at your target market, and direct visitors towards that before asking them to join your email list.
Give people some time to browse your website and content before asking them to subscribe to your newsletter. You don’t need six pop ups and a carrier pigeon sent to their location within the first ten seconds of them being on your website. If your website and content is directed towards a specific target market like it should be, those people are going to want to know more. I promise, the right people are going to take the time to find the “subscribe” button.
I think one opt-in form or link at the bottom (gasp) of your website and blog posts is enough to get the subscribers who are really interested. That ensures that they actually read your content and learned something about your business before making a conscious decision to give you their email address.
I would rather have an email list of 100 people who are consistently doing business with me or are genuinely interested in my content than a list of 10,000 people who signed up because I shoved twelve pop ups in their face before they could close the tab. I want an email list that engages with me and my content versus one that sends my newsletters directly into the trash.
It’s time we focused on quality instead of quantity when growing our lists.