Thursday, January 19, 2012

7 ways to grow your lists

Remember when gurus insisted that email would be killed by RRS feeds, Facebook and other innovations? Turns out they were wrong. The contact lists you compile from your newsletter and other sources are now touted as solid marketing gold.

You are your lists. You need to grow yours. But how? Here are seven simple ways:
  1. Offer high-value content, a discount on your product or some other incentive in exchange for a new subscriber's email. Ask yourself what your customers or community would most like from you.
  2. Promote subscriptions in as many online places as possible, for example prominently displayed samples of past newsletters on your site accompanied by a signup form or a link in your email signature.
  3. Ask people you meet if they'd be interested in your newsletter and sign them up. Don't wait for them to act. But make sure you have their permission. Email them a past issue and ask if you're not absolutely certain.
  4. Promote your newsletter through social media. With most email service providers, all you have to do is click on the icons for Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook and a link to your archived newsletter will automatically fire. Respect that many people will appreciate being updated on a new issue, but will prefer to receive it in their medium of choice, not necessarily email.
  5. Make sure your email content is valued by your readers. If you only push products or services, people will stop opening, reading and clicking. They might unsubscribe. If they love your newsletter, they will pass it along. Give them terrific content all of the time so you can sell to them some of the time.
  6. Remember that email is the mother of social media. To keep the personal touch with long lists, offer different versions so content matches different groups' interests. Ask questions, give prizes and think of other ways you can encourage interaction. 
  7. Keep the design simple, following the F pattern of online reading, so your newsletter can be easily read on mobile devices and does not require people to download images on Outlook. 

What do you want to know about email newsletters?

Practicing what I preached in my first tip, I'm dusting off my old booklet on planning expert email newsletters, which mysteriously stopped downloading from my site. I'm updating it to reflect changes that have resulted from social media and smartphones as well as your questions. 

If you have any specific areas you'd like me to cover, drop me a line. Everyone who offers suggestions will receive a free e-copy of Write Like You Talk Only Better.

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Barb Sawyers
Sticky Communication

Write Like You Talk 
Only Better
The secret to pulling ideas out of your head and onto the page. 

Also available in print at or here.

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