Online newsletters are one of the most cost-effective tools you can use to market your business. Customers and prospects who subscribe to your newsletter mailing list are giving you the opportunity to establish a relationship with them. Once they opt-in to receive your newsletter in email, you can build that relationship, establish trust, and nail down sales by sending the newsletter regularly. The more people who subscribe, the more sales you'll land.
And there's the rub. Your newsletter is only as good as your list is. How can you get people to subscribe to your online mailing list? Better yet, how can you get a lot of people who don't even know you yet to subscribe to your ezine, thereby asking you to send them information on a regular basis about your business?
Here are several ways to accomplish that feat without spending bucket loads of money on marketing.
1. Make a subscription form a prominent feature of your website. The more visible your sign-up box is, the more subscribers you'll get. Although most of us would like to think visitors to our website diligently read through every word on our home pages, the truth is that most first-time visitors never scroll all the way to the end of the page. So, moving a sign-up box from the bottom of your web page to the top can double or triple the number of people who see it and give you their email address.
2. Put a subscription box on every page of your website. Most businesses have only one door through which the public can enter. And most website owners consider their home page to be analogous to that public "front door." But it's not. Instead of having just one "door" on the Internet, you website has as many "doors" as you have pages on the site. Depending on what a web surfer searches for in the search engines, they may find your product pages, or your credentials page, or any other page on your website and never see your home page! So, get that newsletter signup box on every page.
3. Ask people to subscribe to your newsletter mailing list when they complete a purchase. Just because someone bought a product from you once doesn't mean they'll remember to come back the next time they need something you sell. To get that customer back again, be sure you capture the customer's email address as part of the sale and include a checkbox on the form letting people indicate that they'd like to be included on your mailing list.
4. Capture names of people who leave a product site without buying. Not every customer buys the first time they visit a web site. Consider including an exit page on your site that asks people to sign up for your newsletter. Give them good reasons to do so -- testimonials from others who are receiving the newsletter, promise of notice of future discounts, or getting a free informational product if they sign up now, all help encourage first-time visitors to subscribe to your newsletter.
5. Ask current subscribers to forward your newsletter to their friends. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to grow your newsletter list. Remind your readers to spread the word about you by including a note in every newsletter asking them to please forward the newsletter to their friends who would be interested in reading it. Be, sure, too, that there's a prominent link to your subscription page in every issue of your newsletter.
6. Promote your newsletter at seminars and talks. If you give seminars or talks on your area of expertise, be sure to let your audiences know that you have a newsletter and what the benefits of subscribing to the newsletter are. And don't forget to include your newsletter subscription link in your handouts.
7. Promote your newsletter in your 30-second commercial. Many organizations give members a few seconds at the beginning or end of meetings to introduce themselves and their businesses. End your "commercial" with an appeal to visit your website and sign up for your newsletter.
8. Archive past newsletters on your web site if offers haven't expired. The search engines may spider the past issues, giving you new visitors. Put a link to your subscription signup page on the top and the bottom of every archived issue on your site.
9. Include testimonials on the signup page to show what other say about the publication. Sure, you think your newsletter is valuable, but that's not what site visitors want to know. They want to know what other people think about your newsletter. So, save all those glowing comments your readers send in, ask for permission to post them, then include some of them on you subscription signup page.
10. Have a link to past issues on the signup page to so that those who are considering signing up will be able to see what they'll be getting.
11. Write articles and distribute them to trade groups and to appropriate online websites. Include a sign up link in your author's resource box at the end of the articles.
12. Offer a free gift -- downloadable of course, so you have no delivery charges -- to those who sign up for your newsletter. To simplify the delivery process put a link to your freebie in the thank you note you send to new subscribers. And, just in case any of those new subscribers pass on the link to their friends who haven't subscribed, put a subscription box on your free offer page, too. Lead it off with a note that says "Not a subscriber yet? If a friend sent you a link to this page, sign up for your own copy of [your newsletter name]."
13. Include information about your website and mailing list in every package you send out to existing customers.
14. Get a friend in your industry to promote your newsletter to their mailing list -- then promote the friend's list in yours.
15. Promote your newsletter to your social media contacts -- but don't spam groups or message boards. Some email sending services (like Constant Contact) have widgets that let you include a signup box on your Facebook page. Include your newsletter signup page in the links in social media profiles where possible, too.
16. Send a postcard mailing to targeted mailing lists you've built from collecting business cards or from the newspaper. Use the mailing to solicit newsletter signups. To get the recipients to take action, offer a free gift (a downloadable product) to people who subscribe by a specific date.
17. Display a sign by your cash register or at tradeshows with Text to Subscribe instructions.
18. Never stop soliciting subscribers. Email addresses change, and their email becomes undeliverable. People's information needs or product needs change, and they unsubscribe. Keep your list fresh and growing by continually promoting your mailings.
Editor's note: Not using email marketing yet? Or not happy with your provider? BusinessknowHow.com uses and recommends Constant Contact. Try it free today.
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