Have you noticed that, as you start to leave a website, a screen pops up inviting you to get the site’s email offers or newsletter?
There’s a reason why you’re seeing ‘exit-intent’ and similar pop-ups. They work.
For example, 60 percent of the Content Marketing Institute’s email subscribers come from its website pop-up, according to Joe Pulizzi, the institute’s founder. “It’s had a huge, positive impact on our business,” he says.
Maybe you’ve heard: Email marketing still rocks. But for it to be effective, you need strategies to grow your email list quickly—without annoying the people you’re trying to attract. Creating effective pop-ups is one strategy. Here are five more to get you going.
1. Offer something of value
In a pop-up, ecommerce sites often offer new site visitors a discount on merchandise or services. Whether the discount is 10 percent or more, it can encourage email sign-ups as well as drive sales. Of course, a consumer may use the discount and then promptly unsubscribe from your email. While the ideal is to keep them reading your emails, at least you made a sale you might not have made otherwise.
Your pop-up doesn’t have to offer a discount to get results. Some sites offer free content, such as an ebook, in exchange for an email address. This is called ‘gated content,’ as it requires the site visitor to fill out a form or submit an email address to access to the lead magnet behind the virtual ‘gate.’
Or you might hold a contest, offering a valuable freebie of some kind to those who opt-in to your email list.
In short: To get something of value—a new email subscriber—offer something of value in return. Your offer doesn’t have to be extended in a pop-up, of course. Plenty of small businesses place a ‘call to action’ on their website, whether it’s an encouragement to call them for more information or to sign up for their newsletter.
2. Write guest posts on relevant sites
A small business needs to go where its customers are. Do your target audiences tend to read a particular blog? If so, offer to write a guest post (for free). Make the post useful, valuable, and informative. Above all, don’t make the post about your business. Make it about the blog’s readers—their interests, concerns, and pain points. Otherwise, your post will be ignored.
In your author bio accompanying the blog post, include a link to a landing page on your site where visitors can sign up for your email. Because readers will only click the link if they’re truly interested in your company, it’s an unobtrusive way to grow your email list.
3. Produce short informative videos
If you’re not already creating videos for your blog, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, or other sites, you should seriously consider it. Videos don’t have to be expensive to produce. If you’ve got a recent smartphone, you’ve already got a high-quality video camera. They don’t have to be long; in fact, shorter—a few minutes—is better. And you don’t need to spend hours editing. There’s plenty of inexpensive or free and easy-to-use software for video editing.
At the end of your video, include a screen that invites viewers to sign up for your newsletter for special offers or additional information.
4. Contribute to relevant social media groups
Participate in groups on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. Join (or start) a group on a topic relevant to your business. Answer questions that others pose. Share your expertise and knowledge. And include a link to a landing page on your site, where visitors will find an opt-in email invitation. Use your best judgment about how, or if, to share that link. Being obvious or obnoxious will get you nowhere.
5. Encourage visitors to spread the news about you
It’s difficult to top positive word-of-mouth for growing your business. So, make it easy for fans to spread the word about you. Along with creating highly useful newsletters or compelling email offers, include social sharing buttons in those messages. Add an ‘Email to a Friend’ button, too. And include a ‘Subscribe’ link in your emails, so that recipients who aren’t subscribers can easily get on your list.
Other ways to build—and keep growing—your email list
Other fast and furious ways to grow your email list:
Speak at trade shows and events and encourage audiences to sign up for your email newsletter. Post your presentations on SlideShare, including a call-to-action at the end to prompt email sign-ups. Host an online webinar and require an email address to register. Add QR codes on printed marketing materials that link to your sign-up page.
The opportunities for growing your list are endless. But remember: You’ve got to offer value to get people to sign up. And you must continue offering value to keep them from unsubscribing.