Getting people to join a mailing list is something that can be fairly tricky but that will have many advantages if you do manage it. Fortunately there are many little tricks and tips that can help increase your number of subscribers without using black-hat methods or upsetting the recipients.
The first and most important rule of a good newsletter is to make it good and to make it infrequent. Bear in mind that while it is hard work getting people to join your mailing list, you also need to be thinking about the other end; about preventing people from asking you to remove them from the mailing list or from blocking your address. The best way to do this is to make each newsletter genuinely useful and interesting to the visitors of your sites, and to fill it with helpful tips and hints as well as promoting your products and services. Make sure to include industry news, how-tos that are relevant to your business and pictures where possible (Google Mail now includes the option to embed pictures but you need to turn the setting on in the settings) all to make it almost like a website or magazine in itself.
At the same time you need to make sure that you don’t bombard your mailing list with irritating little messages every time you have anything resembling news – save it up and include it in one single message or you will irritate your readers. Make sure not to go more than one a week as a general rule.
And when you know that your mailing list is something that is worthwhile in itself you can then promote it through your channels with a clear conscience and without damaging the reputation of your business (people aren’t likely to want to pay for a service from a company that constantly bombards them with spam). So how do you go about making a mailing list a more attractive prospect?
Well one solution is to include interesting news in it. If you publish a magazine for example your newsletter might let readers know when the new issue is out – and this is something that fans of the magazine are likely to want to hear about making it a good prospect to sign up to the newsletter.
Similarly you could give something away for free with the newsletter as an incentive. Obviously this mustn’t cost your business too much and the best options will require no investment on your part. One popular option is to give a free e-book away to those who sign up to your newsletter, however this won’t be appropriate to every business and not everyone will have an e-book to hand nor the resources to make one to give away.
Another thing you can do is to give away vouchers with your newsletter to get money off of your services or products. Again this costs you nothing up front and many of those who receive the vouchers won’t even use them, but at the same time where they are used it will still be business even if you have slightly less profit and will be an investment for the return business you’ll be able to generate as a result.
One final option is to enter those on the mailing list into a prize draw with a winner every month. This winner could win free use of your service or a free one of your products. Or if you want to be very clever it could be a promotional t-shirt or mug to help you get even more marketing potential out of the system.
Once you have begun to amass a large mailing list you can then need to find a way to manage these numbers and to get your e-mails out to them all. To do this there are many software packages available that will manage your mailing list and allow you to send mails to them all at once (most mail clients have a limit as to how many people you can send your message to and if your mailing list reaches the thousands – which in an ideal world it would – then this can mean there is a lot of work involved in sending them out manually). At the same time these will keep all of the details for your various contacts and allow you to edit and/or remove that data easily.
If you can’t afford any such software then you can make do to begin with using just a spreadsheet for your contacts and then sending your e-mails through your regular mail client (put the majority of your contacts in the ‘BCC’ box which sends to multiple people while keeping those extra contacts hidden).