Five ways to grow your subscriber list (and the one thing to avoid).


Running my own gig means 99% of things that frustrated me pre-Prom Queen are no longer on my radar. You know, like peak hour traffic and wearing a bra all day. But still, a couple of things still get up my nose:

1. The “Empty Grounds” message on my coffee machine. (Where’s the love and support when you need it most?)

2. Receiving shouty emails I didn't sign up for.

While there isn’t a “Spam me, mofos!” post-it on my forehead (nor “Mock me, coffee machine!”) my inbox cops it left, right and centre. Now, unless you’re aiming to waste your marketing efforts, alienate potential clients and get your spam rate up, I don’t recommend growing your subscriber list by combing LinkedIn and business websites for email addresses, or from business cards you pocketed at a recent networking event.

Not everyone received that memo.

The email's subject line read something like "Please Opt-Out If This Isn't Your Thing".  There were emoticons for added friendliness and lovely use of manners, sure, but no amount of heart emojis will warm the heart of a woman who's been added without consultation to a mailing list. And the kicker? I'd already received a surprise email from the same person one month prior, and yep, you guessed it - I unsubscribed!

There are better ways to onboard clients without starting off on the wrong foot or jeopardising your database thanks to spam reports, so I began writing my reply. Then, upon realising there's a fine line between sounding crazy-passionate and totally bitchy over email, I picked up the phone instead. I was nice (obvs!). We chatted briefly. And I promised to write a blog post about five ways to grow their subscriber list, build better relationships with ideal clients and boost sales. Because, unless you’re pinching email addresses and dodging calls from lunatics like me, isn’t seeing your business flourish the aim of the game?



1. Give people more than one place to opt-in. Whoa! Madness! Not having a place for people to opt-in is like building a room in your house without a door. If pop-up boxes drive you crazy and refuse to subject your audience to one, give people the opportunity to opt-in at your website’s footer, or a banner at the top. Share a link to an opt-in landing page via Facebook, and to your Linktree on Insta. Include a CTA at the end of every blog post offering readers an opt-in to receive the next automatically. While this is 101 stuff and there are countless places to add opt-ins, it’s surprising how many websites don’t cast a single net to catch email addresses.

2. Give something that outweighs the value of your subscriber’s email address. And no, your newsletter won’t cut it. Business coach? Give me year-long support with 52 weekly tips to grow my business. Wedding planner? Give brides your insider secrets to planning a dream wedding – without going broke or crazy. Offer a no-catch webinar and pack it full of value.  Successful lead magnets aim to make life easier, better, more efficient. And they give more than they take. 

3. Collaborate. Put a call out to super-star owners of complementary businesses to be profiled on your blog. Of course, give them an opt-in to register their interest and better yet, see if they'll promote your business in return. Collaborate with other brands to create an awesome giveaway – your audience can fill out an opt-in form to enter.

4. Worship and reward your tribe. Make them aware of bonuses or added value that non-subscribers don’t receive to entice sign up. Give them first option on new products during the pre-release stage, exclusive access to secret sales, or first chance to grab front row seats to an event with extra goodies during or after the event. Make them feel like part of your gang and treat them as you would your inner circle – not a database of people you’re blasting information at.

5. Help - don’t sell. I’m guessing you plan to keep your hard-earned subscribers, keep your open rate up and stay front of mind?  Then help your audience, don’t shove your products or services down their throat. First things first, get clear on who you’re selling to, take the time to understand their problems on a deeper level, the ripple-effect of these challenges, then the wonderful outcomes or results of your proposed solution. If every email is a hard sell, be prepared for open rates to plummet and unsubscribes to go up.

In the same ways any relationship develops, rocking up in someone’s inbox and not being shown the virtual door relies on a mutually beneficial partnership. It’s a back and forth process that focuses on building trust. It’s about freely sharing your time, attention, your energy, your support, your insight. It’s give over take.

I’m just hoping my new friend reads this post. Should I pop them on my mailing list and send it their way? 😉  

Image via Pinterest

Nami ClarkeComment