Email Marketing Part 3: Build Your Audience
Building a quality list of email subscribers is the most important, and most often overlooked, piece of any email marketing strategy. To some extent, email marketing is a numbers game – the larger your list, the more likely you are to connect with readers who want your services. Here are some specific tasks that can help you grow your subscriber list quickly.
Make subscribing easy.
Offer prominent subscription forms across your site and allow visitors to opt-in when they use your contact form or request appointments.
- Integrate a stand-alone subscription form into your home page design.
- Include a newsletter sign-up check box on all of your online forms.
- Offer a dedicated subscription management page that sells the value of your newsletter and allows subscribers to update their email.
- Add a link to all of your email templates so that friends and colleagues who are forwarded your newsletter can easily sign up themselves.
Accurately describe the content and frequency of your newsletter.
If you want site visitors to subscribe to your list, explain what’s in it for them.
- Prominently feature your newsletter’s “mission statement” and make sure your entire staff is familiar with the benefits of subscribing.
- Provide convenient links to past issues so potential subscribers know exactly what they will get.
Address privacy concerns.
People who use the Internet are increasingly sensitive about spam mail flooding their Inboxes and personal information falling into the wrong hands.
- Reassure subscribers that you will never share their email address and that they can opt-out at any time.
Cultivate subscriptions offline.
Your best subscribers are past and current clients. Actively promote subscription to your email newsletter throughout your office.
- Give every client the opportunity to subscribe. Try promoting the newsletter in their registration packet or on a sign-up sheet at reception.
- Institute a policy that all emails collected offline get added to your online list DAILY. If you wait, the client may not remember that they were interested in your newsletter when their confirmation email arrives.
- Never harvest email addresses from registration forms. Best practices and Federal law mandate that subscribers actively acknowledge their desire to receive health marketing communications by email.
- Consider staff incentives and contests to motivate your team to promote the newsletter.
Confirm the subscription immediately.
In addition to sending an automated confirmation message immediately after a person subscribes to your newsletter, we strongly recommend a practice known as “confirmed opt-in” in which new subscribers are asked to verify their subscription by clicking a link in their confirmation email before they become an established member of your list. Confirmed opt-in generally delivers higher response rates and fewer blocked messages.
- Verify that new subscribers receive instant confirmation and that you have a confirmed opt-in system in place.
- While you are checking your subscription system test the unsubscribe. Confirm the unsubscribe immediately, let the subscriber know they will be missed, and ask for feedback about how you can do better in the future.
Now that you’re well on your way to building your list, it’s time to design and deliver your first newsletter. Click here to learn more about email marketing in our final installment, “Email marketing Part 4: Connect with Your Readers.”