Do you know that attracting a new customer costs up to five times as much as keeping an existing one?
This means that it’s more important than ever to focus on customer retention as a long-term solution to increase your revenue and sustain your business’s growth.
But, cultivating that kind of loyalty from your audience isn’t always easy.
Think of some of the brands that you like best, I’m willing to bet that the reason you’re such a loyal brand advocate isn’t just because of their products alone.
You could probably get cheaper music, movies, clothes, or groceries, etc. from a lot of other places, but you’re a brand advocate because you believe in the product or service they promote. You feel invested in their stories and you relate to their brand messaging.
One of the ways that these brands cultivate customer loyalty is by using valuable content.
There are a lot of ways to reach your target audience, but one of the most powerful ways is by using email marketing. Whether subscribers sign up to get free ebooks, discounts, special promotions, or notifications about events, the bottom line is that they subscribe to those emails to get VALUE.
If you are building an email list from scratch, you must consider a few high-quality strategies that will help you create an impressive list of engaged subscribers.
Starting from zero doesn’t have to be hard, and if you follow the strategies listed below, you will be able to cultivate a loyal subscriber base and attract long-term customers using your emails.
10 Insanely Actionable List-Building Strategies
1. Create a personalized call-to-action (CTA) for each landing page or blog post on your site
Personalized calls to action have a conversion rate that is almost double that of general ones that apply to all visitors, which means that you can increase your potential subscribers just by tweaking a few phrases.
This makes a lot of sense, too, because most people who are visiting your web page or blog are searching for specific information and it’s only natural that you will get better results by ensuring that the CTAs meet their unique needs.
For example, if you have a ton of traffic coming to your blog article on ‘List Building Strategies’, why not get those people to subscribe to your list by including a call to action like, ‘Download your free list building toolkit here!’.
Just keep in mind that these personalized calls to action will only work effectively if you’ve got the resources needed to create quality content in the first place.
But, luckily, this does not have to be time-consuming or costly. Instead of offering a toolkit, you could offer a fun quiz, a short ebook, a cheat sheet, checklist, or anything else that is easy to create but packed full of value.
The key principle for retaining customers in the long term is to offer them content that is directly related to their needs so that your newsletter is valuable and helpful and doesn’t feel like some gimmicky ad.
2. Create pop-ups or slide-ins for each page on your site
A timed pop-up ad, or onsite re-targeting, is a great way of boosting your email subscription conversions.
After your visitors have spent a certain amount of time on your web page, they can receive a pop-up that is extremely relevant to that content or to their behavior, as is the case with exit pop-ups that are displayed when users try to leave the page.
You can also use scroll pop-ups that appear after visitors scroll down a certain length down the page. Onsite re-targeting can prove to be very effective for your email list building, but it’s important to ensure that your pop-up is being shown to the correct audience.
For instance, if someone is coming to that particular page from your newsletter, they have already signed up and they don’t need to see the pop-up again.
Also, don’t show the pop-up on a sales page as it could interrupt the buying decision.
Pop-ups don’t have to be gimmicky and if they are done right, you will be able to appeal to your ideal audience with high-quality content at the right place and at the right time.
When you offer impressive and meaningful content, your pop-up won’t be seen as interruptive or obtrusive but rather as simply helpful.
3. Create timed pop-up surveys
New visitors who come to your site aren’t necessarily thinking about where to find the email sign up form. Usually, your readers need to feel invested in your site’s content before they consider your request for their email addresses.
If you’re building an email list from scratch, you may want to reach out to viewers on specific pages with pop-up surveys that are related to the content on those pages.
If they are already invested in the content, they will be more willing to answer simple ‘A or B’ survey questions. If your content is great, then this feels like a fair trade-off.
You could implement a timed pop-up survey on your site that appears after visitors have been on the page for 10 or 15 seconds. By then, they have already seen some of the value that your content has, and so they are more likely to sign up for your emails as the creator of that content.
Remember, try to keep your sign up forms short and sweet. People are more inclined to sign up if it’s a simple yes or no question as opposed to a long form that they don’t have time to complete.
4. Use humor in the “No, thanks” copy of your CTAs
We are infiltrated with so many ‘Yes or No’ offers on a daily basis that we just don’t see them anymore. If you want to increase your email lists, try to inject some of your personality into the copy for your calls to action.
Humor works very well, and so does sarcasm.
You’ve probably seen these CTAs that make you smile such as one from the weight loss niche that asks people to sign up to receive tips on how to lose belly fat fast. Beneath the big ‘Yes, sign me up!’ button is a small ‘No thanks, I don’t wanna lose weight’.
Another example is one from the ‘make money online’ niche which calls for visitors to sign up to learn how to create a blog and make their first $1,000 dollars online. The copy below says, ‘No thanks, I’d rather stay poor’.
In a world where people are clicking ‘no’ on these CTAs without a second thought, it’s important to find ways of getting them to pause and reconsider their almost immediate decisions to exit your offer, and this method of using humor and sarcasm is a great way to get prospects to hesitate before they click ‘no’.
You have to admit that while it’s easy to simply say ‘no’ when the calls to action ask you to sign up for emails, it’s a lot harder to say no to making money or losing weight.
5. Use your call to action to describe the value you offer
There are various types of formatting that you can use in your calls to action such as personalized offers that are embedded in your blog posts or pop-up ads and so on.
But, what type of language is the best to use in the actual CTAs?
Humor and sarcasm will get you clicks, but for a truly effective call to action, you need a little more.
Ironically, to get more sign-ups to your email list, you want to avoid using words like ‘sign up’ or ‘subscribe’. Instead, your copy should outline the value that you offer upfront. Use language like ‘exclusive’, ‘featured’, ‘download’, ‘access’, and so on.
For example, you may write, ‘Download our exclusive ebook right now’, and then include an email for subscribing.
You could also say, ‘Access all of our exclusive offers’.
These CTAs both clearly outline the value that your subscribers will get from giving you their email addresses.
Your visitors need to hear how your emails will provide them with exclusive and unique content that is not already accessible on your site.
They want to know that you’re offering them something special through email, otherwise, what’s the point of signing up?
6. Use your email signature and your social media accounts to pitch your email newsletter
You may not have a massive list of subscribers, but you do have a network.
Use your following on Twitter and your fan base on Facebook to boost your email list growth by pitching your email newsletter on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and any other social accounts at your disposal.
Leverage the firm connections you already have to build your email list. You can also include a call to action in your email signature and a link that goes directly to your email newsletter to take advantage of the email network you already have access to.
Your link could also take them to a landing page or a blog post with your call to action for email subscriptions.
These are people who already like and follow you on social media, and those you are already in contact with via email, but they are not necessarily the same audience who receive your newsletter so give that option.
When you think about it, you communicate with a vast network of people on a daily basis via social media and email.
If this diverse group of people knows they get value from you, they will be more inclined to sign up for your newsletter in order to explore your business or blog in more depth.
7. Create more landing pages for your site
A recent survey conducted by Hubspot found that most businesses saw an increase in leads of over 50% when they increased their number of landing pages.
This makes sense because personalized landing pages make it easier to appeal to a larger demographic.
Each person who comes to your site is searching for something different, which means that the more landing pages you can create to cater to each of their individual concerns, the more email sign-ups you will get.
It’s just like the menu in a restaurant. When you’re able to offer more items to cater for the specific demographics, you’ll ultimately bring more customers in.
For instance, one person could be in the mood for some good sushi while another is looking for a gluten-free pizza.
8. Immediately encourage all visitors to sign up
Personalized CTAs must be placed strategically. You want them in places where they count the most such as blog posts and landing pages.
But what about those people who want to subscribe right away?
If your newsletter centers primarily around a couple of topics, it’s quite easy to create a personalized call to action. All you need to do is to write one that mirrors the purpose of your newsletter.
For instance, ‘Want to get free SEO hacks? Sign up for our weekly newsletter!’.
9. Include a call to action on your About page
The ‘About’ page on your site is one of the most important pages when it comes to conversions. Why? Think when was the last time you visited the about pages of any businesses or blogs that you didn’t care about?
When visitors come to your about page, it means that they are interested in what you do.
This is the perfect opportunity to ask them for their email so that you can send them more information about you, your business or your blog.
Ideally, you want your entire about page to prime your visitors to want more from you. Its primary purpose isn’t to convince them to purchase, but you can use a call to action to encourage them to sign up for your newsletter.
10. Try using a scroll box
In this business, timing is everything.
You get better results when you deliver your message to the right people, at the right place, and at the right time.
Your CTA will work best if you can catch your visitors at a time when they are ready to take action.
But how do you figure out when your website viewers are ready to convert?
This depends on their behavior. You have to conduct A/B tests to find out where the best place for your CTA is. Some work better toward the bottom of the page, others work best when they slide out to the right, and yet others get the most conversions when placed at the beginning of the page.
All this varies depending on the content on your page and your viewers, but using a scroll box is a useful, subtle way of helping to catch them when they are ready to convert.
Feel free to post your comment below. An email address is required but it will not be shared with anyone, put on any list, or used for any kind of marketing, just to alert you if there are any replies. Thanks and happy hunting!
Updated: Originally published August 8th 2018
This Post Has 10 Comments
I can’t tell you how timely it was to read this article! I have been working on my website for just about a year and am long overdue on putting real attention into building an email list.
Several months ago this was at the top of my “to do” list on my website (as well as ongoing posts of course). I then got sidelined with an additional contract gig so have not been able to put any effort into it yet.
I’ve book marked your page to come back to in a few weeks when my contract position is up and I”m back to only working one job. I do have a question for you – what email service do you recommend for someone who wants to get started in building an email list?
Thanks in advance,
I have used aweber in the past. I had no complaints and they are competitively priced.
Thanks for the comment Mat!
You’re touching on a seemingly evergreen strategy for increasing your customer base but something I have been ignoring till now. As a beginner blogger, I have always felt intrigued by it but somehow I have not been paying much attention to it. This is because I have just started out and I’m of the idea that the email marketing strategy fits best for the more mature blogs. I had once posted a question in Warrior Forum if I should incorporate email marketing as one of my strategies. While many agreed I should, there were also many who suggested I should start only after I have more posts on my blog. Meaning, I should first establish a brand. Being a newbie, this contrasting opinion is slightly confusing. Nevertheless, I have the free Mailchimp account and have created a simple opt-in form which I have placed in my sidebar. Personally, I have never been too fond of pop-ups, including the timed or delayed ones even though they are proven to be effective in getting more sign-ups. You have a good list of actionable strategies. I really like the idea of having call-to-action on the About page. That’s interesting. And it makes sense too. Also, I like the idea of creating landing pages. It’s a great strategy. Thanks for a good post. Now, I need to rethink my own strategy for email marketing.
Popups can be annoying if misused. The ‘interrupter’ is especially annoying. Exit popups are much better, they are less ‘in your face’. I recommend sliders, look into those instead of popups, far less intrusive and abrupt!
You can incorporate email in your marketing plan anytime actually. Wait if you feel you need to but there is little harm is getting one going now as well. There is no right answer, do what you feel is right.
Thanks for the comment Sukumar!
Hello Steven nice to meet you,
I was on the search for review about email marketing software when i found you site. A bit of a detour but kind of related.
Have you got any recommendations on which of the ten strategies should be implemented first? It seems that some of them would be more important than others.
Also, is A/B testing the same as split testing?
And Lastly, do you think that your WordPress theme (or limitations thereof) can make an impact on an email strategy?
A/B testing is the same as split testing.
I don’t see how your WordPress theme would have much of an impact on email marketing.
The strategies don’t have to be implemented in any certain order, whatever makes sense for your situation.
Hope I answered your questions, thanks for the comment Remy!
Your first tip here is the greatest I’ve seen all week. I have a generic call to action on my website sidebar which I’m just expecting (or hoping) that people sign up to. Of course people are coming to my site for all different reasons, so naturally I should add a call to action for various categories or informational needs. Do you have any suggestion as to the best autoresponder?
If you mean an email service then I have experience with aweber, it had everything I needed and was reasonably priced. There is also MailChimp, ConvertKit and GetResponse. There are more but I only have experience with the first. Check reviews online to pick the one that best suits your needs.
Thanks for the comment Nigel!
Thank you for another moment of clarity.
My concern so far in my journey is to focus on the content I’m putting out and working on getting good at presenting useful and pertinent information.
I figure that the “product” I am building has to be good or what’s the point of asking all these people to tune in.
However, at some point, I know that I’ve got to start asking folks to buy into my trip.
Your nuts-and-bolts explanation of the reasoning behind the most effective moves you can make in growing an email is particularly helpful to me in deciding how to structure the marketing of this thing.
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. It is most appreciated.
Glad to know you found the article useful.
Thanks for the comment Netta!