How Email Marketers Acquire Subscribers

It doesn't take a digital genius to see that email marketing remains one of the most powerful and effective ways to increase any number of important indicators of performance - from unique visits to revenue and ultimately growth.

The benefits of having a large email list are immense of course, but getting to a point where sending out email on a regular basis often escapes those just starting out. Many simply don't really realize the investment of effort and creativity (not to mention time and money) required to grow an email list. It's not just the cost of sending (which is arguably much lower than other marketing channels traditionally) but all the digital bells and whistles as well including any and all variety of testing and optimization solutions or personalization features that can be added on. That makes it more important than ever to optimize what can be controlled - from the forms being used, to the incentives for subscribing as well as determining what headlines and call to action work best.

Let's explore some of the methods being used today by the 'Net professionals.

EXIT-INTENT POPUPS: A majority of first-time visitors will exit a website after their initial visit. By using an exit-intent popup, marketers have one final chance to make their case for the visitor to subscribe. While many consider them over-used and annoying they do work quite well as they are true attention grabbers. The trick with exit-intent pop-ups is to ensure that the benefit being provided is clear and concise, worthy of the attention of readers.

TIME-TRIGGERED LIGHTBOX: Interrupting a user as they are in the process of leaving your site may not always be the best fit depending your audience. Those looking for an effective alternative may want to consider a lightbox with controls over when the popup should display. For example, perhaps a marketer could elect to trigger a lightbox with a subscription offer when the user is on a site for a specified amount of time or upon arrival at the second page of their session. It's less intrusive (as the user has shown some level of interest) and can be as effective as any other means to acquire subscribers.

EMBEDDED FORMS: Perhaps the most common method to acquire subscribers is that of the embedded form. All email marketing service providers (as well as marketing automation and customer relationship management systems) provide embedded forms by default to help their clients acquire subscribers, but even the best executed forms fall short in terms of catching users attention. The best practice is to use a form with high contrast to the background of the site (so that it stands out) and use a catchy and compelling headline to capture interest.

STATIC/STICKY FOOTER/HEADER BARS: One of the newer approaches to email subscriber acquisition is to show the subscription area in a fixed (static) position so that it is always in the users' field of vision. Subscription bars can be placed at the bottom or top of a webpage and perform quite well on average depending on the size, location, and other factors.

In your experience as a Web professional and Internet marketer, what's the most effective way to generate subscribers? Share your thoughts with a comment below...