Copyright 2006 Donna Gunter
I’ve been publishing an email newsletter since 2000, and
have to admit I wasn’t very attentive to the whole process
at the beginning. Hindsight is 20/20, and I could kick
myself for not taking this strategy very seriously, as my
email newsletter list is my gold mine because it’s filled
with subscribers who already know something about me.
Each week after I send out my ezine, I receive several
emails that begin, “Hi Donna! My name is …, and I know
you don’t know me, but I know you, as I’ve been reading
your newsletter for a couple of years now.” I love those
emails, as I know that my reader has begun to like, trust
and respect me — all the characteristics that need to be
in place for them to decide to buy something from me.
Many of you may be asking, “Well, Donna, isn’t the email
newsletter dead? Everyone is blogging now.” True,
blogging is quite an effective way to publicize your
business. However, I believe in the power of doing both.
There are people who don’t have the time/energy/desire to
read a blog and would rather have the info delivered
directly to them in their inbox, with no additional
How can you grow your own list? Or, if you’re just
starting an email newsletter, how can you get subscribers
to the list? Here are 15 strategies I’ve used over the
past 5 years to get subscribers to my email newsletter list:
1. Tell your clients, colleagues, friends and family.
Just like a birth announcement, tell everyone you know
about your new “baby” — your email newsletter. Because
you want a list in which subscribers have opted in, don’t
add people directly to the list. In fact, many ezine
distribution services don’t permit you to do that.
Instead, provide them with an email sign-up link, or send
them to the form on your web site where they can subscribe
to your newsletter.
2. Have a sign-up box on every page of your web site. You
never know on what page someone will land in your web site.
As I look at my web site statistics, I am amazed at some of
the search terms that visitors use that make them land on
an internal page of my web site. Don’t take a chance that
you might lose them — offer them the option to sign up for
your newsletter on every single page of your web site.
3. Make your sign-up box compelling. Don’t have a simple
sign up box that says, “Join our mailing list.” Yuck–who
wants to voluntarily receive more email? Not me! Give
your visitor a reason to sign up for your newsletter, i.e.
“Join over 2000 other solo business owners who receive
weekly advice on how to get more clients online.”
4. Create one clear call to action. If you have too many
options for action on your web site, your visitor will
become overwhelmed and leave. Conversely, if you don’t ask
your visitor to take an action, you potentially lose that
person forever. Make your primary call to action on your
web site a request to subscribe to your email newsletter.
It’s short, simple, to the point, and will help you build
your contact database gold mine.
5. Ask for only 2 pieces of info: a first name and
primary email address. Many web surfers are want to
disclose as little personal info as they can, as they fear
receiving spam or phishing emails. Make it easy for people
to sign up for your list — require them to disclose only a
minimal amount of info to be added to your newsletter list.
6. Create a free give-away for new subscribers. If you
know your target market well, you know what problems they
struggle with daily. Write a short report/article/ecourse
that provides the answer to a very overwhelming problem
that they have. They can receive the answer to this
problem (your freebie) by giving your their name and email
7. Create a squeeze page for lead generation. A squeeze
page is just what it sounds like — a web site page that
“squeezes” contact info out of a visitor. I have a
content-rich ebook that I give away to new visitors. One
of my promotional strategies is to list the domain for that
squeeze page and write very compelling copy about why they
would want this information. I get 10-15 new subscribers
per day with this technique.
8. Make an offer in your signature file. Don’t overlook
the power of an effective email signature. Whether you use
it on a discussion list, online forum, online networking
site, or just in an email that gets forwarded to someone
else, ensure your signature file works for you. In it,
make an offer for your free give-away and let the reader
know how they can receive that info. I’ve been hooked more
than once by a compelling email signature — they really
9. Create a visual icon for your newsletter. Visitors
respond better to pictures than words. If they can see a
visual representation of your newsletter or of your
give-away, they are more likely to see the value in what
you’re offering and part with their contact info.
10. Use a pop-up or pop-over box on your web site. Yes,
pop-up boxes are annoying, but they’re quite effective.
There are many new varieties now available that look like
sticky notes or a paper list, or ones that seem to bounce
on your screen. Most of these newer varieties are not
blocked by pop-up blocker software. You’ll want to use one
that’s eye-catching, contains a very compelling offer to
subscribe, and won’t be blocked by your visitor’s browser.
11. Make subscribing to your newsletter your #1 goal at
events. Anytime I attend an in-person networking event or
speak at a meeting, my primary goal is to get people to
subscribe to my email newsletter. I simply ask people to
indicate they want to receive my newsletter by placing an
“X” on the back of their business card, and then I add them
to my list and they are sent my opt-in message. At one
event, I had to tell the women at my table what I needed in
the next 30 days, and I said I wanted subscribers to my
newsletter. Every woman at the table gave me her card and
said, “Sign me up!”
12. Offer a free sample or your archives for viewing.
Some visitors have to be shown before they bite, so show
them where you archive your prior issues and let them
experience first-hand all the value you offer in your
newsletter. Once convinced, they’ll sign up!
13. Ask for referrals from your readers. In your
newsletter or on your web site, ask your readers to “tell a
friend” about your newsletter. There are both free and
paid services that offer this option, Bravenet.com being
one of the more popular ones.
14. Get your articles published in other ezines. Writing
articles and having them published online or in other
people’s newsletters or blogs has been a tremendous asset
in helping me grow my list. Make sure that your article
resource box (the info that appears about you at the end of
your article) includes your compelling offer to get readers
to sign up for your newsletter and receive your free gift.
15. Advertise on the back of your business card. The back
of my business card contains compelling copy about the free
give-away I offer for subscribing to my newsletter. Don’t
let the back of your business card go to waste and stay
blank — make that space work for you by helping you add
subscribers to your newsletter list.
Growing your list takes time. Better to have
well-qualified prospects on your list who are truly
interested in what you offer than a large list of people
who never read what you write. Implement 1-2 of these
strategies each week to grow your well-qualified email
About the Author:
Online Business Resource Queen (TM) and Business Coach
Donna Gunter helps self-employed service professionals
learn how to get more clients online at
http://www.OnlineBizCoachingCompany.com . To sign up for
more FREE tips like these and claim your FREE gift,
TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, visit her site
at http://www.GetMoreClientsOnline.com . Read about running
an online biz at our blog,