Email is Alive and Well: How To Expand and Engage Your Readership

Posted by Amy Chan on September 30, 2014 0 Comments

With the ever-increasing popularity of Facebook and other social media outlets, a lot of people who use the internet to self-promote forget about a good old-fashioned email list.  That used to be the way to engage your fans or customers, but it got too spammy.  But now, Facebook pages are regulated by Facebook to not go to all followers, and the email list is becoming increasingly important.

But how can you expand that email list?  You can put a little link on your website to have people add their email to your list voluntarily, but people are still wary of doing that.  Even though the idea that we might sell your email address is dead with the 00’s, people still are loathe to add their address to a website.  So it’s time to break the boundaries we once held of what we should or should not do to increase out email list.

  1. Down With the Pop Up

It used to be that going on the internet was a frustrating exercise in getting rid of pop up windows, the kind that would automatically open up and interfere with what you were doing.  Because they are so annoying, almost everyone and even most web browsers, have in place programs and protocols to block popups.  What we’re seeing more often now is the “popover,” where a little box flies in and asks the site’s visitor to be added to the list.  It’s more proactive than just having a sign up box, but can be easily ignored if too irritating.  It won’t disrupt what the user is doing, and it can be customized so that you’re not pop-overing your email list with every visit to your page. 

Feel free to make the popover text funny.  The internet is still ultimately a source of entertainment, so even a popover box should be fun or funny.

  1. Twice is Nice – Or Is it?

There was a rule of thought for a long time that when an email gets added to the email list, there must be an email sent to that user to get them to click another link in order to really opt in.  That’s crazy.  It’s tough enough to get an internet user to actually add their email address to your list – now you’re going to give them a second chance to think about what they decided to do, and not only that, you’re going to make it annoying?  You’re going to lose a lot of sign-ups that way.  A better idea is to send a welcome email and thank them for signing up, and give a little bit of the content they just chose to receive.  Worst case scenario, they can unsubscribe.  But don’t give them that easy out once they’ve already voluntarily plugged in their real email address.

  1. Opt-in vs opt-out?

Another long-held belief about an email list was that you should never send an email to someone who didn’t explicitly express interest in your list.  While it’s true you don’t want to go through your contacts and add everyone you’ve ever interacted with to your list, it’s perfectly acceptable these days to send the email to a list with the choice of opting out.  Make the opt-out process simple, and people will not be too upset with you.  You may sometimes get more subscribers that way, even though you do run the risk of mildly annoying a few people.  The likelihood that you’ll generate more subscribers is worth the downsides. 

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