Jewelry vendor using mobile phone for payment

Get personal and go mobile to grow your email subscriber list

4 min read
Jennifer Dunn

If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound? For that matter, if you write a perfectly worded, graphically beautiful email with a strong call-to-action and nobody subscribes, does it make a sale? Well, I can’t say for certain about the tree, but if your email list is weak, your email marketing efforts are for naught.

That’s OK, though. There’s time. Take advantage of these tips to grow your email list and turn leads into customers.

Ask everyone, everywhere.

Email is a distinctly online medium, so it’s tempting to step into the trap of solely promoting your email newsletter online. Don’t fall for it! Gather email addresses everywhere you go. Put a signup sheet out when you’re selling your products at the local farmers’ market or promoting your services at a trade show. Ask new prospects you meet at a networking event if you can add their emails to your list.

I’ve found that having to look your subscribers in the eye has the added benefit of motivating you to make your emails that much more fun and engaging.

Personalize your email list.

Sure, you know in your heart that Nike or ModCloth didn’t send that marketing email just to you, but isn’t it nice when email messages feel personal? Most email marketing apps allow you to add your subscriber’s name into the subject line or body of the email, so do it! According to our email partners over at Mad Mimi, the click-through rate on emails with personalized subject lines is more than 17 percent higher than emails with generic subject lines.

Segment your lists.

I have a friend who manages a birdwatcher supply and gift store. Some of her customers come in because of their love of birds, while others simply want to see the latest jewelry and knickknacks. While the bird lovers would appreciate an email prominently advising what types of bird feed to buy this time of year, the gift buyers would probably trash an email with a subject line about feed. Ask your customers to indicate which types of emails they are interested in when they sign up. They’ll be more likely to read (and forward) messages targeted at their interests.

Offer a discount or promo.

When’s the last time you reached Inbox Zero? These days consumers are going to think twice before allowing their inboxes to be cluttered up with more messages. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask yourself what would make subscribing to your email lists worthwhile. Try offering a discount, promo or freebie just for signing up.

Make use of e-receipts.

Do you sell in a brick-and-mortar business or use a credit card swiper like the Square® reader or PayPal Here®? Then you’re collecting email addresses every time somebody requests an e-receipt. Ask your customers, either in person at the point of sale or in a follow-up email, whether you can add them to your email list.

Optimize for mobile.

A study from last year showed that 48 percent of emails are opened on mobile devices, and we can only imagine that number is climbing. Make sure your email application optimizes your messages for mobile viewing, and consider other factors such as limited screen space and shrinking your subject lines so they can be appreciated on even the tiniest of smartphones.

Last but not least, don’t go entering people into your email lists willy-nilly. Anti-spam laws like the CAN-SPAM act of 2003 in the U.S. and the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) act are designed to protect people from spam emails. These acts require that recipients be given the choice to opt-in to email marketing and that they can unsubscribe and stop receiving messages at anytime. Grow your list, but be sure to follow the law so it doesn’t come back to bite you.

What’s your most effective tip for growing your email list?

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