It can take hours of hard work creating and organising to publish your own e-mail newsletter but if it doesn’t attract subscribers then all that work represents just so much wasted effort. One of the most important parts of e-mail marketing is getting people to actually subscribe to your publication. Without subscribers, your e-newsletter is pretty pointless, so promotion is worth every bit as much attention and effort as you devoted to creating it.

Here are some tips on how to build your opt-in list of subscribers.
  1. Put the subscription box in a prominent place on your webpages. Somewhere towards the top of the page is a good position to get it noticed. And yes, that is ‘webpages’ – not every visitor will make their first landing on your home page so provide the opportunity to subscribe from every page of the website.

  2. Market your newsletter offline. Merely adding a link to your enewsletter subscription page on your website will not make it an overnight success. Passive list building just doesn’t work; it will need active promotion in other online and offline channels as well:
    • Send an email to existing customers
    • Issue a press release in the local paper
    • Send around a flyer
    • Mention it in any blogs, newsgroups, discussion lists, and forums you subscribe to
    • Mention it in the signature file at the end of your emails - anyone who receives an e-mail from you will also receive your invitation to subscribe to your newsletter
  3. Make it sound attractive. Write copy for your promotional materials that will attract the specific segment of customers/prospects you want to attract mentioning their particular needs, wants, and interests and the hot buttons that will motivate them to take action. Push the benefits of signing up to your enewsletter – what’s in it for them. They’ll want detailed specifics if you are to convince them to give up their email address to someone they don’t personally know.

  4. Offer an incentive to sign up. This is very powerful. For example, you could offer new subscribers something substantial like a physical prize, a gift card or a coupon exchangeable for a product up to a certain value. Quite common is an offer of a free whitepaper and entry into a draw for a prize. Whatever it is, ensure you choose something that will resonate with the target customer demographic. Set up a special opt-in page for the contest and then go to work promoting it. There are many blogs and websites that allow free advertising of these types of contests and if you form a joint venture with someone else, you can widen the potential audience numbers even more.

  5. Let them see a sample or current issue. People like to see what they're signing up for and whether it is likely to be of interest to them before they hand over their email address.

  6. Make subscription easy. More subscriber information makes for a more qualified list and for better target marketing BUT being asked for a lot of contact information can be intimidating and will turn off many potential subscribers. Only ask for their e-mail address at first. You can build up their detail by offering incentives to provide them in issues of the newsletter itself.

  7. Make it safe. Put a link to your privacy policy next to the subscription box. Make your privacy policy clear so people understand exactly what you are going to do with any personal data they supply. One thing worth mentioning specifically – assure them you won’t share, swap with or sell their email address to third parties.

  8. Let people know they can unsubscribe at any time. Add a link to your unsubscribe page right underneath the subscribe box.

  9. Encourage referrals. If subscribers find your information useful they probably have friends or colleagues who would also. Put a ‘Refer a friend’ link in your e-newsletter with a message like ‘If you enjoyed this, why not forward it to a friend’. Make it easy for people to forward your e-mail on.