8 Ways to Increase Mailing List Opt-Ins

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Maintaining and growing your mailing list is an essential part of your business – at least it should be. Unfortunately, email lists frequently fall into an auto-pilot mode. Here are some proactive ways to keep the efforts moving in the right direction.


1.     Use pop-up newsletter prompts.

Despite what your gut and common sense may tell you, newsletter signup prompts do work. I’ve seen “light box” pop-ups tested over and over again across a long list of websites, and they reliably result in more signups, increased revenue and higher engagement rates. A recent study from eConsultancy reports that an average overlay will increase opt-ins by up to 400%!

2.     Sell the value.

You’ll end up with a certain number of website visitors opting in to your mailing list out of habit, because they like your brand, by accident, or just because. For everyone else, you need to explain the benefits of doing so. Don’t just say “Sign up for our newsletter” and leave it at that – make sure you’re effectively communicating what’s in it for them. Is it exclusive deals? Is it high-quality content? Is it authoritative industry news?

3.     Try creative technology.

There are plenty of commonplace signup tools out there, but getting creative with how your prompt functions is a great way to boost opt-ins. As a creative example, BounceExchange displays an overlay when the cursor nears the browser’s back or close button. Since this is a novel interactive effect, it’s very effective in grabbing attention.

4.     Test, test, test.

Like any critical piece of your website, your email opt-in strategies should be tested to continuously improve the system. Here are some ideas to test your overlay/prompt:

·       Button color

·       Call to action

·       Inline text (prepopulated text field: “Enter your email here”)

·       Position/location

·       Top, horizontal bar

·       Single vs. double opt-in

5.     Motivate referrals.

Refer-a-friend programs can be very effective in growing your opt-in list dramatically. Similar to the second recommendation above, these programs must communicate a clear benefit for doing so. Common incentives for submitting a referral include redeemable points, discounts, free shipping and account/usage upgrades.

6.     Hand over control.

This method is often used to prevent opt-outs, but is still effective in keeping your list size growing. If you’re seeing a lot of opt-outs/unsubscribes, consider introducing a menu from which your visitors can opt in or out of certain types of content, frequency or both.

7.     Leverage social.

Don’t overlook your social network followers as a source of email acquisitions. These individuals have already expressed interest in your business. Those who haven’t already opted in to your newsletter are far more likely to do so than an average site visitor. You can also post offers on your social channels that require an email signup.

8.     Piggyback on comments.

If your site allows comments or similar engagement, consider including a signup form with the comment section. These users are already likely entering their email addresses, so they are only a small step away from opting in.

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