Email subscribers are the life force of any business. However, just like cupcakes, “that’s what she said” jokes and funny cat videos, you can never really have enough.

“Focus on growing your list all of the time as newer subscribers are more engaged adding to healthier open rates and ROI.” – Karl Murray

Building an engaged and profitable email list is probably one of the biggest milestones for businesses. Gaining more email subscribers is crucial for preventing the constant stagnation that inevitably occurs over time as people unsubscribe, change email addresses or come across any other circumstance which renders them unable – or unwilling – to continue hearing from your business.

In this article, we’ll cover the following methods of capturing quality email subscribers:

  1. Defining what quality subscribers look like for your business
  2. Drive your traffic to a landing page
  3. Create appealing content in order to convince people to subscribe
  4. Ensure the sign-up process is easy
  5. Leverage your social media accounts
  6. Turn your existing email subscribers into promoters 
  7. Prove you can be trusted 

Ready to dig in?

Did you know that your email marketing list naturally degrades by about 22.5% yearly? There is a reason – or a few – for that.

The email subscribers you currently have in your database can turn bad for several reasons – 

a) the subscriber changed their job and consequently, their email address has changed;
b) the subscriber stopped using (or cancelled) their email account;
c) the company the subscriber worked for has gone bust or changed names and domains;
d) the subscriber stopped using the email address he/she signed up with and stopped logging in which triggered the ESP to deactivate the account; and
e) an ISP flagged a sender as a spammer.

This withering is known as list degradation or list decay. If you’re a fan of the Walking Dead, you might even call it “list rot”. However, no matter which term you use, it’s important to remember that in order to counter the natural stagnation of your email list you should never stop growing it. If you do, it’ll eventually become a dead and worthless asset.

As a marketer, your job is to constantly ensure your email lists have fresh contacts. Yet, just collecting hundreds or thousands of uninterested people will do nothing when the time to buy comes. Those people will just disappear and you’ll be left with a useless list – even if it reached five digits. To prevent this from happening, focus on building relationships and creating a contact list of email subscribers who are eager to listen to what you have to say and want to buy your product/service.

We must warn you – never buy email lists. That’s not only a bad practice but pretty much a legitimate email marketer’s kiss of death. Oh, it’s also a violation of the rules of consent under GDPR and it can be harmful to your email deliverability and IP reputation.

How To Get More Quality Email Subscribers?

If you want to get even better results from your email marketing efforts – without overspending –  you have to focus not on the quantity but rather on the quality of your email subscribers. The key to doing so lies in attracting the right kind of people and building a list of email subscribers who regularly engage with your business and take action when they get your email.

Now you’re probably wondering “How do I do that exactly?”. Well, we’d like to offer you a nice selection of tips which will help you build a high-quality list of email subscribers – in record time.

1. Define what quality email subscribers look like

The first, and most important step, when you are developing your plan to get more quality subscribers is to be clear on what qualifies them as such. Therefore, regardless of the industry your business operates in (or the market), quality email subscribers are – 

a) people you intentionally targeted with your email lead-generation strategy. If you’re not targeting the right people, you’ll just end up with a slew of subscribers who are not interested in becoming paying customers – ever. 

b) people that engage with you. Since you’ve already attracted the right people – and gained an understanding of what’s important to them –  it’s pretty easy to engage. So, do it – constantly. The spike in engagement rates will be proof that you’re sending the right message to the right people.

c) people who are easy to convert. You’ll surely attract some email subscribers who are closer to conversion than others. By keeping people moving through your content marketing funnel you’ll not only get them interested but also, you’ll draw potential subscribers earlier instead of losing them to your competitors. If people are already interested in you, converting them to quality email subscribers will cost less and it’ll increase your ROI on email.

2. Direct your traffic to a landing page

One of the most effective and straightforward methods of gaining more quality email subscribers is by driving traffic to a landing page. When people get there, offer them something of value in exchange for their email address. 

For example, let them know that by signing up they’ll get special benefits only available for subscribers – like limited offers, a two-month free trial instead of one, explicit flash sales, etc. However, keep in mind to change the list of benefits regularly and not overuse just one or you’ll risk losing them.

Here are a few best practices for creating a winning landing page that will convert – 

1) Keep it clean. Remove any menus or clutter that might distract the person;
2) Make it short. Be clear about what the person would gain by giving you their email address;
3) Ensure your CTA is clearly visible but don’t make it too large though; and
4) Have a descriptive CTA – “Get Our Free eBook”, “Subscribe For Our Newsletter”, “Sign Up For In-Depth Email Marketing Articles”, “Enter to Win”, etc.

3. Create valuable content and make signing up appealing

You can attract more quality email subscribers by crafting unique, valuable content they can’t get anywhere else – or they’ll have to pay for it.

Sure, you can switch up the design of your emails by changing the colour of your CTA buttons or throw in some cool images but that will not improve your conversion rate much. Therefore, your focus must be on offering content that’s beneficial and valuable to your subscribers. Here are some examples of what people might find valuable – 

a) case studies business can replicate to be successful;
b) insight on a well-research ebook your subscribers won’t be able to get anywhere else;
c) in-depth articles;
d) tutorials;
e) downloadable checklists, whitepapers and ebooks; and
f) industry-related news.

It’s important to keep in mind that not all valuable content will help you attract quality email subscribers. Getting just anyone to sign up will certainly grow your email list fast, however, only a small percentage of the new subscribers will be quality ones.

4. Make the sign-up process as easy as possible

Should you ask people for their – first and last name, company name, address, industry sector, etc. – on your opt-in form?

As much as having that information will be very helpful for personalisation and segmentation, it also makes the sign-up process a bit longer and it might likely be the reason for people not to subscribe.

Thus, if you want the sign-up process to be speedy, consider removing everything but the email address. Every little change you make to create a simpler opt-in process will help you build an audience. However, as much as this tactic will make the process easy and grow your list, it might backfire when your email subscribers don’t get personalised messages. After all, you should talk to them like you’re talking to a friend and how would you do that without knowing their name – or show them you value their subscription.

5. Utilise your social media accounts

According to 2019 stats, people spend an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes per day on social media. So, why not leverage that by reaching out to those people and ask them to join your email list? 

A few ways you can exploit your social media accounts to get more email subscribers are – 

a) hosting free giveaways in exchange for a person’s email address
b) promoting limited special offers and gated content that requires an email address to get it
c) adding a descriptive CTA button – where possible – and linking it to your sign-up page

For each social media profile you have, we advise that you create a separate landing page from your default one. It would allow you to clearly identify where the subscriber came from as well as track the number of email subscribers per social media network.

6. Encourage your existing email subscribers to turn into promoters

You might already have a list of engaged, high-quality email subscribers but why not push it a step further?

Let’s say you’ve crafted the most amazing email ever and you’re expecting to get particularly strong reactions from it. Or, you’ve created content which your loyal subscribers will find extremely useful to others. How can you use that to attract more email subscribers? Easily. Just ask those already subscribed to your list to share it.

They can do so by either sharing on social media (however, you need to ensure there’ll be a way for all new people to sign-up) or by forwarding your email to friends, family, co-workers, etc. When you are using the forwarding method though, there are two things you must have in place first. Step one, have a way for new people to subscribe (similar to social share). Step two, make sure the people who receive the forwarded email don’t click on the unsubscribe link or they’ll be removing the original subscriber from your email list instead of themselves. 

As long as you clearly outline what action on the forwarded email or social media share can result in, there’s no reason not to ask your awesome subscribers to lend you a hand. After all, existing quality email subscribers help you attract more quality subscribers. So, treat them as an asset and put them to work.

7. Prove your trustworthiness

Proving that your business can be trusted and providing evidence you’re not all talk but actually do what you say is one of the best ways of making people comfortable enough to subscribe.

Talk to the people instead of at them. Listen to what they have to say and what they need/want. Show them your expertise. Be transparent and helpful. Offer email subscribers something specifically designed for them which will contribute to their business’s growth and success. If you do that, you will not only ‘inspire’ them to promote your business but also, retain them as loyal subscribers.

You can show that people trust your business by displaying – 

1) recognisable client logos – on your website and in your emails;
2) client testimonials;
3) social media counters – ex. likes, shares, followers, etc. (only if impressive though);
4) any prestigious publications you’ve been mentioned in;
5) any business awards and/or nominations you’ve been given.

It’s important to be careful when proving your trustworthiness. So don’t overdo it. Be strategic and selective. Overall, show the targeted potential email subscribers that people just like them trust you.

Final Thoughts

A quality list of email subscribers is probably one of the best assets a business can have. Therefore, if you’re looking at generating better results with your email list, you need to put the work in and build a list that’s engaged. After all, engaged subscribers are important not only to your bottom line but they also help your business maintain a solid, trustworthy reputation.

In short, there’s not just one immediate and extremely effective solution for growing your email list. Hence, you should always look for new and creative ways to grow your subscribers.  However, we’ve outlined seven techniques that will certainly help you build a successful high-quality email list. All that’s required of you is to implement them.

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