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14 Creative Ways to Grow Your Email Database That Actually Work

by aschmidt

grow_your_email_databaseBuilding your email marketing database is a job that’s never fully finished. Industry studies show that email databases tend to “decay” over the course of the average year due to email address changes, opt-outs and other factors. But in order to stay ahead of the attrition curve, you’ll need some creative list-building techniques that keep fresh email addresses flowing into your database. If you feel like you’re drawing a blank when it comes to ideas, below are 14 creative and effective ways to grow your email database. 

  1. 1. Encourage your subscribers to share your email messages. You can do this by including an “Email to a friend” button and social sharing buttons in your email messages. Also consider putting a “Subscribe” button or link in your email, so that people who’ve received a shared email will have a convenient way to opt-in as well.
  2. 2. Create a whitepaper or ebook and offer it as a free download in exchange for your visitors’ email addresses.
  3. 3. Use your YouTube channel as a means to funnel visitors to your email list. You can include calls-to-action and subscription URLs in your videos, as well as in the description section beneath each video.
  4. 4. Don’t waste valuable real estate on your website! Make sure that the main pages on your site offer some type of email subscription option for your visitors. At the very least, this should include your home page, About page and Contact page, as well as the main anchor page for your blog.
  5. 5. Get business cards printed that feature a special offer and an email opt-in call-to-action on the back side of the card. For example: “Subscribe to our email newsletter and get 20% off your first purchase.”
  6. 6. If you participate in trade shows, remember to bring a clipboard and sign-up sheet to capture people’s email addresses on the spot. Create a special list just for these email addresses, and in your first communication, be sure to thank them for visiting your booth at the trade show. This will add a personal touch, and make a memorable first impression on your new subscribers.
  7. 7. Offer “Email Only” discounts, specials and incentives that you only make available to your email subscriber list.
  8. 8. Conduct an online poll or survey, and make sure to encourage participants to sign up for your email list somewhere on the poll/survey form.
  9. 9. Many email marketing management services (e.g., Constant Contact, MailChimp, etc.) offer a feature whereby customers can join your email list by sending a text message to a certain numbered address that is unique to your business. You can also set up a QR code for smartphone users, enabling them to opt-in to your email list by way of scanning the QR code and following the simple sign-up instructions.
  10. 10. Include an opt-in form on the Facebook Page for your business, and encourage people to sign up for your email list. You can even run a Facebook-specific promotion that offers fans and followers a chance to win a prize when they opt-in to your list.
  11. 11. Facebook Ads are a great way to add new contacts to your email database. Instead of driving people directly to your Facebook Page, send them to your email opt-in form, which will allow for a much more effective level of engagement over the long term.
  12. 12. Add a link to your opt-in subscription form in your email signature. In this way, all your email communications will feature an opportunity for recipients to subscribe to your email list. If you have employees or a team that regularly interacts with prospects or customers via email, add the link to their signatures as well.
  13. 13. Make sure to put a link to your email sign-up form in a prominent area on your Google+ page. 
  14. 14. Leverage in-person events to help build your subscriber database by hosting conferences, panel discussions, meetups, etc., and offering attendees the opportunity to sign up for your email list at the event. A simple clipboard with a sign-up sheet will do just fine for this purpose.

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