10 Ways To Grow Your House E-mail List
Ian Lurie May 31 2007
Your house e-mail list – the list of people who subscribe on your web site – is your greatest asset. I surveyed 10 clients’ marketing campaigns over the last year. Their house e-mail lists performed best, even compared to search marketing or print direct mail.
Conversion Rates are higher:
And the value per visitor is higher:
Yet most clients I work with neglect their house list. They’re afraid to e-mail to that list and make their customers angry, or they simply feel they don’t have the time, or they’re not aware that it’s a gold mine.
Here are a few ways to grow and capitalize upon your house list:
- Invite past customers. If you have a huge database of customers who have not said ‘please e-mail me’, and you don’t want to assume, then send them an invitation: A polite e-mail letting them know you’ll be sending special offers and new product news, and asking them to click a link if they’d like to be included.
- Bribe people. Nothing works better than a bribe! Offer folks 10% off their next purchase if they subscribe. Give them a gift. Give them early access to deals and products that they otherwise wouldn’t get.
- Entertain them. One of my clients sends a link to their favorite cute animal YouTube video each week. Their subscribership has tripled.
- Educate. Make 1/2 or more of your e-mails purely informational. People are more likely to subscribe if they know they’ll get good information.
- Offer samples. Provide examples of past newsletters and offers on your site, so that folks can check the goods before they subscribe.l
- Make it easy. Let visitors subscribe to your newsletter during the checkout process. If you’re a services-based business or organization, let them subscribe when they register for something else, or as part of their login process.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. When I get a business card in a meeting or at a networking event (shudder – I hate those things) I ask if they’d like to receive my newsletter. I get more subscribers that way than any other.
- Facilitate whitelisting. On the ‘thank you’ page for your e-mail subscription process, invite the subscriber to add your newsletter’s e-mail address to their address book. That’ll let your e-mails past most spam filters, and insure that they see it when you send it.
- FTAF! Make sure every e-mail has a Forward To A Friend link, so that the addressee can send it on to others.
- Provide alternatives. Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, is starting to catch on as an alternative to e-mail. Make your newsletters available in an RSS feed. That lets the more technical folks review your latest news on their timetable.
Don’t neglect your house list! It’s a powerful resource that can make the difference between a good month and a great one. Your customers want to hear from you!
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More