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15 Proven Strategies to Grow Your List

I’ve been publishing an email newsletter since 2000, and have to admit I wasn’t very attentive to the whole process at the beginning.  Hindsight is 20/20, and I could kick myself for not taking this strategy very seriously, as my email newsletter list is my gold mine because it’s filled with subscribers who already know something about me.  Each week after I send out my ezine, I receive several emails that begin, “Hi Donna!  My name is <fill in the blank here>, and I know you don’t know me, but I know you, as I’ve been reading your newsletter for a couple of years now.”  I love those emails, as I know that my reader has begun to like, trust and respect me — all the characteristics that need to be in place for them to decide to buy something from me.

Many of you may be asking, “Well, Donna, isn’t the email newsletter dead?  Everyone is blogging now.”  True, blogging is quite an effective way to publicize your business. However, I believe in the power of doing both.  There are people who don’t have the time/energy/desire to read a blog and would rather have the info delivered directly to them in their inbox, with no additional clicking required.  So, as long as I can, I’ll be doing both..:)

How can you grow your own list?  Or, if you’re just starting an email newsletter, how can you get subscribers to the list?  Here are 15 strategies I’ve used over the past 5 years to get subscribers to my email newsletter list:

1.  Tell your clients, colleagues, friends and family.  Just like a birth announcement, tell everyone you know about your new “baby” — your email newsletter.  Because you want a list in which subscribers have opted in, don’t add people directly to the list.  In fact, many ezine distribution services don’t permit you to do that.  Instead, provide them with an email sign-up link, or send them to the form on your web site where they can subscribe to your newsletter.

2.  Have a sign-up box on every page of your web site.  You never know on what page someone will land in your web site. As I look at my web site statistics, I am amazed at some of the search terms that visitors use that make them land on an internal page of my web site.  Don’t take a chance that you might lose them — offer them the option to sign up for your newsletter on every single page of your web site.

3.  Make your sign-up box compelling.  Don’t have a simple sign up box that says, “Join our mailing list.”  Yuck–who wants to voluntarily receive more email?  Not me!  Give your visitor a reason to sign up for your newsletter, i.e. “Join over 2000 other solo business owners who receive weekly advice on how to get more clients online.”

4.  Create one clear call to action.  If you have too many options for action on your web site, your visitor will become overwhelmed and leave.  Conversely, if you don’t ask your visitor to take an action, you potentially lose that person forever.  Make your primary call to action on your web site a request to subscribe to your email newsletter.  It’s short, simple, to the point, and will help you build your contact database gold mine.

5.  Ask for only 2 pieces of info:  a first name and primary email address.  Many web surfers are want to disclose as little personal info as they can, as they fear receiving spam or phishing emails. Make it easy for people to sign up for your list — require them to disclose only a minimal amount of info to be added to your newsletter list.

6.  Create a free give-away for new subscribers.  If you know your target market well, you know what problems they struggle with daily.  Write a short report/article/ecourse that provides the answer to a very overwhelming problem that they have.  They can receive the answer to this problem (your freebie) by giving your their name and email address.

7.  Create a squeeze page for lead generation.  A squeeze page is just what it sounds like — a web site page that “squeezes” contact info out of a visitor.  I have a content-rich ebook that I give away to new visitors.

8.  Make an offer in your signature file.  Don’t overlook the power of an effective email signature.  Whether you use it on a discussion list, online forum, online networking site, or just in an email that gets forwarded to someone else, make your signature file works for you.  In it, make an offer for your free give-away and let the reader know how they can receive that info. I’ve been hooked more than once by a compelling email signature — they really work!

9.  Create a visual icon for your newsletter.  Visitors respond better to pictures than words.  If they can see a visual representation of your newsletter or of your give-away, they are more likely to see the value in what you’re offering and part with their contact info.

10.  Use a pop-up or pop-over box on your web site. Yes, pop-up boxes are annoying, but they’re quite effective.  There are many new varieties now available that look like sticky notes or a paper list, or ones that seem to bounce on your screen.  Most of these newer varieties are not blocked by pop-up blocker software.  You’ll want to use one that’s eye-catching, contains a very compelling offer to subscribe, and won’t be blocked by your visitor’s browser.

11.  Make subscribing to your newsletter your #1 goal at events.  Anytime I attend an in-person networking event or speak at a meeting, my primary goal is to get people to subscribe to my email newsletter.  I simply ask people to indicate they want to receive my newsletter by placing an “X” on the back of their business card, and then I add them to my list and they are sent my opt-in message.  At one event, I had to tell the women at my table what I needed in the next 30 days, and I said I wanted subscribers to my newsletter.  Every woman at the table gave me her card and said, “Sign me up!”

12.  Offer a free sample or your archives for viewing.  Some visitors have to be shown before they bite, so show them where you archive your prior issues and let them experience first-hand all the value you offer in your newsletter.  Once convinced, they’ll sign up!

13. Ask for referrals from your readers.  In your newsletter or on your web site, ask your readers to “tell a friend” about your newsletter.

14.  Get your articles published in other ezines.  Writing articles and having them published online or in other people’s newsletters or blogs has been a tremendous asset in helping me grow my list.  Make sure that your article resource box (the info that appears about you at the end of your article) includes your compelling offer to get readers to sign up for your newsletter and receive your free gift.

15.  Advertise on the back of your business card. The back of my business card contains compelling copy about the free give-away I offer for subscribing to my newsletter.  Don’t let the back of your business card go to waste and stay blank — make that space work for you by helping you add subscribers to your newsletter list.

Growing your list takes time.  Better to have well-qualified prospects on your list who are truly interested in what you offer than a large list of people who never read what you write.  Implement 1-2 of these strategies each week to grow your well-qualified email newsletter list.

About the Author Donna Gunter

Best-selling author Donna Gunter works with successful business owners who are experts in their fields and established in their industry and are seeking a way to stand out from their competitors. Using her Ideal Clients on Autopilot System©, she helps them determine the exact strategies to generate more qualified leads and better-paying clients with automated systems. This proven system makes all their marketing easier and more effective and they find themselves positioned as the only choice for their clients.

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