To incentivize the prospect to sign up, it’s important to offer them some sort of free bonus, like an ebook, access to a webinar, or whatever attractive freebie you can give them that is related to your business. But you shouldn't have to bust your butt to put this bonus together. You could collect together past blog posts into one PDF, for example.
When you meet people face to face for any reason, ask for their business card. Offer yours. Set a glass bowl on the counter in your store or the reception desk in your office, and ask visitors to drop their cards in it. Offer some incentive to do so — a free product or service, gift card, etc. Use your own business cards to further drum up emails; add an offer on the back of your card that encourages people to sign up to receive your emails.
That’s why it is important to have a Privacy Policy and Terms of Use readily available on your site, and even a disclaimer before they sign up for anything. Not only is this good business practice, it’s also required by Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter … pretty much every major company whose services you will be using to promote your business. Oh, and it is required by most governments.
If that’s not enough to convince you to toss interstitials in the bin and never look back, there’s also the fact that users report these interactions as among their most-hated advertising practices (defined as ‘modals’ in this study by the Nielsen Norman Group). On a one to seven scale, modals (interstitials) landed at 5.82 for desktop users and 5.89 for mobile users, beating even autoplaying videos without skip for most-dreaded advertising type.
In this scenario, a subscription check box is pre-selected for users to receive promotional emails where they would be including their email address (during a purchase process, for example). By leaving the checked box intact, users consent to receive email from you. This option is not flawless, as some users may not realize they’ve given their permission to receive marketing email and could be much more likely to report your email as spam, resulting in damage to your sending reputation and your company.

Great article. Thank you. I’ve just started a blog and eZine. Swapping services with another company is one of the first things on my list. They are plugging my work in their newsletter, and linking on the basis that we co-refer through our emailings. We are in the same general market but our niches complement rather than compete. The reason they agreed was because they like having extra content for their list.

Offline events like trade shows are highly anticipated growth opportunities for professionals in your industry. Demo your latest product at an appropriate conference and collect signups in-person. Once you're back at the office, import these signups into your contact database. Be sure to send these contacts a welcome email that confirms their opt-in to your list. (See #8 in this blog post for tips on sending welcome emails.)
How your email looks is just as important as what it says. Some may argue it’s even more important. A well-designed email will ultimately be more appealing to your subscribers, so make sure your email is responsive to accommodate all devices and don’t forget to have a text version in addition to HTML. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, take advantage of 5 free, responsive email templates that we’ve created here.

Your content should focus on how you can fulfill your customer’s needs, so make sure every email you send provides value. Most importantly, refrain from telling them how great you are, but instead make your email messages all about them. If your brand helps them accomplish something or be something better, they’ll turn into ambassadors for you without you even asking.


Start by asking “What do we want to send? What automation do we want to do? What personalization do we want to do?” Then work backward based on those goals. In order to increase the quality of your list, you must assess where you’re at, and make some goals about where you’d like to be. Once you’ve figured out the current state of your list, you can then build a strategy from the ground up.
Brilliant! I know I probably shouldn’t be writing all just love what you’re saying here. But “love” what and “how” you are saying this here. I haven’t done the email thing yet, it’s something I’m ready to do and would benefit from too. But reading this today – found myself wanting to say, I would have wrote that – I want to copy and paste and tell others because you saved me the answer to myself being asked how do you do it Jane or errrrr zJayne!
All I know is that I have been pulled in every direction by shiny object syndrome chasing a lot of these ideas. Now is the time to step back and see what is in place and focus on things that are working. Or I can just do what Dean Holland suggested and start from list building basics until I can see a way to leverage the things that I have already done and tools I have bought.

Brilliant! I know I probably shouldn’t be writing all just love what you’re saying here. But “love” what and “how” you are saying this here. I haven’t done the email thing yet, it’s something I’m ready to do and would benefit from too. But reading this today – found myself wanting to say, I would have wrote that – I want to copy and paste and tell others because you saved me the answer to myself being asked how do you do it Jane or errrrr zJayne!

Every ESP will give you tools to create an opt-in form for your site. Generally speaking, the less information you ask for (at this initial stage, at least), the better. The more information you ask for, the less likely your prospect is to complete the process. You’ll obviously need to ask for an email address, and I also highly recommended that you ask for a first name so you can personalize your emails. However, asking for any information beyond these two fields can decrease conversion rates significantly without adding much valuable data.
Some ad platforms will ask more of your landing pages than others, when running ads. For example, AdWords is much stricter, when compared to Facebook. AdWords typically requires that you do not have a ‘thin,’ site that is designed solely to collect leads.  Because of this it might be a good idea to focus on using Facebook or Twitter, to begin with.
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