I worked in the beauty industry for nine years, and couldn’t figure out why it was so hard to grow our company newsletter database. Are people totally over newsletters? Are company newsletters a nuisance that only suffocate inboxes daily?
Then I realized something; it’s not that subscribers aren’t reading newsletters anymore, they just aren’t reading OUR newsletters. We were doing it all wrong.
Customers are savvy, and understand that newsletters are a hook; a way to keep you engaged with their brand. That’s fine. They’ll “drink the Kool-Aid” and sign up if there is something to gain from the emails, but first you have to capture their attention. The request to sign up can’t be hidden in the footer or only found on the home page, it has to be right…in front…of their faces…at all times!
The Associated Press released some eye-opening data in 2014 regarding attention span and web use. Here is the skinny:
1. The average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds.
2. In 2000, the average attention span of a human being was 13 seconds.
3. By 2013, the average attention span of a human had dropped to 8 seconds…one second less than that a goldfish.
It’s a safe bet to assume that it has probably dropped to 7 seconds or less since then. So, how do we (digital marketers, sales teams, communications departments) combat such a short attention span when all we want a customer to do is love us (love us and sign up for our newsletter, of course)?
Follow these key steps, and you will be sure to experience what we all call “the spike;” but more specifically, the spike in your brand’s newsletter adoption:
1. Create an easy signup feature that is prominent on your site
If it takes a new user more than a few seconds to sign up for a newsletter, then you are missing out on a huge chunk of your audience. The more visible your sign-up box is, the more subscribers you’ll get.
Use a simple pop-up window on the home page, requesting users to sign up for your brand’s newsletter. Give them a reason why they should give up their sacred email address to another company: “Be the first to know about industry trends, special promotions and product testimonials, etc.” You can set the form to pop up the first time that a visitor enters your site, so regular visitors don’t have to be bothered the next time they check out your site’s info.
Another home page improvement is to move your sign-up box to the top of your web page vs. the footer. This simple move can double or triple the number of people who see it and sign up.
Anchor a subscription box somewhere on every page of your site. This may seem annoying, but most users won’t notice these little details unless they are looking for the call to action. You never know what content a user might find useful on your site that triggers them to want to learn more about your brand and future information they might find helpful – so make it easy!
2. Complete a purchase and request a sign-up
What happens when you finish making a purchase? There is a high…a moment of bliss and satisfaction that feeds our consumer lifestyle. That sounds like the perfect moment to request a more long-term connection.
They like you…in that quick moment after the sale…but do they love you? Love you enough to remember to come back the next time they need you?
Keep your brand top-of-mind by capturing the customer’s email address as part of the checkout process and include a checkbox on the form letting people indicate that they’d like to be included on your mailing list. Easy enough – right?
3. Encourage customers to tell their friends
Why do online shoppers love Yelp, Angie’s List and Google Reviews? Because we love to hear about previous experiences from our friends and other “non-biased” shoppers out there in the world.
This is why word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to grow your newsletter list. Ask your current subscribers to forward your brand’s newsletter to their friends. If they love your content, they will share it. You can make the request by including reminders in every issue of your newsletter. Just make sure there’s a prominent link to your subscription page, and keep it simple to sign up.
4. Take advantage of organic SEO on your site
So now your newsletter is gaining momentum. You’re serving up engaging content and your current audience is loving it. However, once you send it to your existing network, it’s retired and put to bed, never to be seen again by the public eye. Why waste that incredible material?
If the content is interesting and people are searching for it, then archive those past newsletters on your website. Search engines will spider the pages of your site, find those past issues and deliver your information through search results, bringing brand new customers back to your site.
Once the archived material is on your site, make sure to put a link to your subscription sign-up page on every archived issue. Customers will sign up if they know they will read about information that they are actually searching for.
5. Offer a free gift
No matter what your product or service, there has to be some type of benefit to the new reader that would be appreciated. So what is it?
If you are in the retail space, provide the future customer with a discount code that can be used on their next purchase. If you provide services like financial advice, then give readers the option to download a free white paper with powerful tips on how to balance their budget in 30 days. There is always something you can give, so figure out what they want the most, bait that hook, and watch the number of new readers grow!
6. Mobile-responsive is not an option…it’s a must
Last but certainly not least, make sure your newsletters are optimized for a mobile device. No one wants to be lying in bed, reading their morning emails and open a message that they can’t even read because the text is too small, and on top of that, the images are not displaying properly. That’s just bad etiquette and will only encourage users to unsubscribe after that first email.
So make sure you have a fully mobile-responsive email template and you’ll be set up for success the next time your brand is in front of the eyes of your next potential customer.
Want help but don’t know where to start? Contact UpTrending!