Image courtesy of Mike Flanagan at flantoons.co.uk

Although e-newsletters may be past their peak, they are still a great way of keeping in touch, reminding people you exist and are thinking of them, and getting clickthroughs to your website or blog.

With that in mind, we all want to get more newsletter subscribers. Here are seven ways you might not have thought of:

1. Don’t call it a ‘newsletter’

Hardly anyone signs up for newsletters any more. Our inboxes are overloaded and we’re all too busy to read the newsletters we’ve already subscribed to. What’s more, your newsletter shouldn’t contain too much ‘news’ because that fails the ‘who cares’ test. It should add value, not be an advert*.

I recommend you call it a ‘tipsheet’ or ‘offers & deals’ or choose a name that will resonate with your audience. Include hints and tips,  humour, and whatever best demonstrates your expertise and adds value to your readers.

2. Don’t ask for too much information

Don’t ask new subscribers for their date of birth, inside leg measurement and mother’s maiden name. The more information you request, the fewer subscribers you will get.

Just ask them to give you their first name and email address – that’s the minimum you need.

3. Use signup boxes not an email link

Make it easy for subscribers to sign up. A clickable link that opens a blank email message makes it harder for them. Besides which, any extra click you make people take is a chance to lose them**.

Instead, give people simple boxes to fill in and you’ll get more signups. (All the major providers allow you to do this.)

4. Offer an incentive

You have to reward people in return for giving you their precious email address, so make it a no-brainer*** for them to sign up.

Offer something exclusive such as an e-book, downloadable white paper, or plastic daffodil. Something that doesn’t cost you too much but that they will find useful. This is sometimes called an ‘ethical bribe’.

5. Reassure people you won’t spam them

Anything you can do to take away the risk**** is a good thing. So promise people you won’t sell your mailing list (assuming that’s true), and set their expectations so they know how often you will message them and what kind of content they’ll get.

6. Choose your button wording carefully

People prefer to click buttons rather than text links. Don’t just have a ‘submit’ or ‘subscribe’ button, because that’s not very user-friendly.

If you want to appear more approachable, use button words such as ‘yes please’ or ‘get it now’ or whatever tone of voice best suits your readers and fits your brand personality.

7. Use pop-ups

All the research shows that pop-ups (floating windows) get more signups, however, some people find them annoying and choose not to use them.

This is despite the fact that pop-ups are more sophisticated then they used to be. For example, you can now ensure the pop-up only appears when the visitor has been on your site for a certain amount of time, or when they look at a certain part of the page. You can also hide the pop-up from repeat visitors.

*Favourite expression no. 1
**Favourite expression no. 2
***One of my least-favourite expressions, sorry
****Favourite expression no. 3

By the way, the next issue of my award-winning Writing Without Waffle tipsheet is out on Friday. See top of the right sidebar to subscribe.

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