If you read my previous blog post on why you should have an e-mail list for your business and decided to go for it, then, well… awesome! But now you might be wondering, “Okay, smart-ass, so how do I get more people than my mom to actually sign up for it?”
I’m glad you asked.
There are lots of things you can do! In fact, here’s a whopping list of 15 different ways to get e-mail subscribers so you can hook those new readers and build your numbers fast.
1. Have a place where people can actually give you their e-mail. (This sounds like a DUH piece of advice, but hear me out.) If you have a website, this is generally the opt-in box (like the one I have on my sidebar for this blog), or if you are only on Etsy at the moment then it’s the page created through your e-mail provider with your opt-in that you can direct people to with a link. (However, if you’ve been considering getting your own website, then having one even just for a landing page to send customers to give you their e-mail addresses and direct them to everywhere else you are online is a very valid reason to start, among others.)
2. Have a pop-up on your website. Yes, these things are annoying. Yes, everybody hates them. But at least for now, they work! You can make them less annoying by having a delayed period before they show up (the one on my website is twelve seconds), or even get all advanced and have it so the popup will only show up the first time someone comes to your site, never to show its face again, depending on your visitor’s cookie saving settings.
3. Bribe people. (Otherwise known as an opt-in incentive.) This can be an e-mail in exchange for a discount, free shipping on their first order, a free sample (like the one I offer on this blog of my Run a Handmade Business and Keep your Day Job course), a care guide or your products, a free gift with their first purchase, and so on. Get creative and see what free goodies you can pass along! (Just be careful not to do anything that will get so expensive it puts you out of business!)
4. Let them know what they’ll actually be getting in their inbox. Will you be passing along style advice? Tutorials? Early bird sale specials? Weekly jokes? Inspirational images? Whatever it is you will be e-mailing your list, let them know! There will be people who will sign up simply because they look forward to what you’ll be sending their way, and it helps to set up their expectations properly.
5. Run a contest. Make the prize something awesome (and relevant to your business, you want to be collecting the right e-mail addresses here) and require that people have to give you their e-mail address in order to enter. Make some bonus entries available if people share the content with their friends, spreading the word and the number of e-mails you’ll have the opportunity to collect.
6. Have someone else run a contest. Use the same requirements as above, but partner with another blogger or website so you can gain their readership and the exposure of their audience along with your own. You could even team up with multiple sellers to all pitch in for one big, awesome prize that no one would be able to pass up.
7. Add the link to your sign-up page in the “message from seller” portion on the orders you get from Etsy.
8. Add a sign up box at the bottom of your blog posts. If someone has read all the way through one of your posts, there’s a good chance they want to keep hearing from you!
9. Collect e-mail addresses at craft shows. (Hint: offering the chance to win some kind of prize in a random drawing will increase the number of sign up you get.)
10. Add a link to your sign up page in the bio paragraph on your guest posts. If the guest post is awesome, the readers of the blog you are posting for will want to keep hearing from you, and signing up for your list is their way to do just that.
11. Invite your social media followers to sign up. Every now and then your Facebook fans and twitter followers need a reminder. Also, you can place your sign-up link in your About page or in your profiles to increase the chances your followers will act on it, and include a tab for sign-up on your Facebook page depending on your e-mail service provider.
12. Ask your current followers to share the love. Something as simple as asking them to invite 1 friend to join in the fun at the end of one of your newsletters should get at least a few of them to act, even more so if there is something in it for them! (A coupon for them… and their friend perhaps?)
13. Give your list some exclusive advantages… and mention these advantages in passing to the people who aren’t on your list yet. Remarking in a blog post, for example, that the people on your e-mail list got an additional 10% off during your last sale, or were the only ones given access to your latest, secret collection of products will make everyone else feel left out–and motivate them to join in on the good times.
14. Put a link to your sign up page in your personal e-mail and forum signatures, if and where links are allowed.
15. Pay attention to what other brands are doing. Great ideas come form industries that have nothing to do with yours. Observe how other small and large businesses are persuading list-sign ups and let their tactics inspire you to come up with some of your own.
Have any other ideas for us? Share your own list-building tactics in the comments below!