6 Ways to Grow your Lists Organically

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Following last week’s post which showed us Why Purchasing Data is a Really Bad Idea, it seems wise to find out at how you can grow your lists organically. This may not be the easiest or quickest method but it is unquestionably legal and ethical. Just be sure to make your opt-in message enticing (think prizes, giveaways and other incentives) and above all, clear. This way you should avoid any angry unsubscribers!


Make it easy for them to subscribe… everywhere

In other words, have a short and simple sign up form on every channel possible. This includes Facebook, Instagram, subscription pop-ups on your YouTube videos, even paper feedback forms (think of the ones you find on restaurant tables). This is to name but a few. If your organisation is customer facing, be sure to ask if they want to subscribe to your newsletter when speaking on the phone or face-to-face.

Fun and enticing online competitions

This is brilliant for capturing data as people like to take part in competitions, even more so when there’s a chance of winning something or showing off a skill for exposure. An example could be a photo or blog competition with the winning material being published in the next newsletter. It doesn’t always need to be a giveaway… be creative!

Integrate Social media tools in your emails

ESPs have come a long way in developing tools to integrate your emails with your social media platforms. Here are some ideas on turning your followers into subscribers:

  • Add social share links to campaigns so recipients can share your email on their social profiles for all of their friends and followers to see.
  • Post your own email to your social sites upon sending. Think of all those followers who didn’t know you have an email newsletter!
  • Include a subscriber bar along the top of these emails to make it easy for people to sign up.
  • Add a newsfeed component to your newsletter with interesting and up-to-date posts to encourage people to join in on the conversation.

Fortunately, we already have a blog with some further details… Social Media and Email – The Best of Friends

Try co-marketing with your partners

This means working in partnership with another company to promote your product or service to both of your audiences. A key factor to consider, of course, is that you choose the correct partner. Undoubtedly they must have a clean and engaged subscriber list and their audience need to be interested in your email content. You may need to use some segmentation. After all, you want them to interact and subscribe, so clearly define the purpose of your email and your target market first.

Create free downloadable content

Generate a free brochure, guide or similar which requires an email address to download. This could even be presented as a specific pop-up for a specific page. If someone is reading about your recipes, why not ask if they want to download your free recipe book? Just make sure the pop-ups are subtle and don’t appear too soon, which I think we all agree can be quite annoying!

Participate in trade shows and exhibitions

These may be expensive to take part in but are a good way of collecting contact details and giving your company general exposure. Take laptops along to allow people to sign-up as you charm them into giving away their email address. If the audience at the show is suitable for your B2B email marketing campaigns, try offering an alluring prize in exchange for a business card which can be easily tossed into a giant fish bowl… who could resist!

Finally…. before you grow your lists – engage your current subscribers!

If your open rates are around 20% – that’s 80% of your sign ups who still haven’t unsubscribed from your emails but are not engaged. You need to consider increasing your engagement rates to turn those recipients you have already captured into your customers. After all, it doesn’t matter if you double your subscriber list, recipients need to be opening, clicking and turning into valuable and returning customers.