Last week, I wrote about why you need an email list if you want more sales.
This week, I want to share some of the strategies I've used to grow an email list.
We talked about opt-in forms and Mailchimp. Do you have that ready on your website? Great!
Amp it up with an incentive
These days people don't just sign up to mailing lists anymore. You need to give them a reason. Especially if you're just starting out and no one knows who you are.
For product based businesses:
If you're selling something tangible that you made like soaps, handbags, scarves, jewelry, notebooks, prints… here are a few options on how to spice up your opt-in form to get more sign ups!
- Offer a discount. 10% as a minimum. 20% is even better and more irresistible. Who wouldn't want to sign up for your mailing list?
- Offer free shipping. I suggest to do it domestically only (I'm US based, so the free shipping coupon only works within the US) otherwise you'll be footing way too much in shipping costs for international orders.
- Offer a giveaway. One item and one random subscriber to be picked monthly. It's really hard to resist free things.
- Offer a “how to” guide. For example, “ways to wear your scarf”, “how to use your soaps”.
Caveats to each suggestion
- Offering a discount assumes that your subscriber is already interested to make a purchase. But you want to reel in your site visitors who don't know they want to make a purchase yet! There are more people out there who might be on the fence about your product, and getting them to sign up for your email list will give you the opportunity to show them how awesome your product is and turn them into paying customers!
- A free shipping code is basically the same as a discount code, just packaged differently!
- Many people are worried about giving away product. Some would strategize to only do giveaways very few times per year so they don't dilute their brand. You don't want people to think that you're a discount shop, right? Also there's a concern that you're only attracting freebie mindset people who will never spend money.
- I'm a non-believer on giving a “guide” of any sort, unless you're a service based business or you sell digital products. I would personally never sign up for a fashion styling guide that I'll never use and I don't believe it to have much value for handmade product customers.
How many subscribers I got:
- I tried a 15% discount code for a few months. I got about 1-3 subscribers daily
- The free shipping code got me less than 1 subscriber a day (totaling to 30 subscribers or less in a month)
- The giveaway got me a whopping 10 subscribers on average daily
So here's the problem. My goal is to grow my mailing list quickly, but I don't want to keep attracting people only interested in free stuff.
Having said that, I'd love to keep doing a monthly giveaway. Within a year I would be able to collect 3,600 subscribers!
I spoke with a few of my friends and mentors, read a few books and I think I have a solution to this. I want to grow my mailing list quickly while filtering people who will never buy from me.
It's still in experimental stages and will take time for me to gather concrete data but I have a good feeling about that this will both grow an email list quickly AND attract the right kind of subscribers.
If you're interested to learn about what I'm trying out, stay tuned for next week's Building an Email List: Part 3.