Email marketing is by far the most effective way to monetize your magazine, but how do you use it to keep your subscriber list growing? It’s difficult to foresee if and when your mailing list’s retention rates will start to reduce, so what’s the right way to take control of it before it starts to shrink?
How do you get more email subscribers while keeping existing ones happy? What’s the best way to raise conversion rates? And how do you do this all while still effectively monetizing? These are all good questions. Here are some tips on how you can grow your magazine’s email subscriber list.
How to Get More Email Subscribers
The key is to build your magazine website around email capture architecture: This is the most effective method to maximize the growth of your mailing list. Here’s how to develop it:
Create downloadable freebies
The best way to grow your subscriber list is by creating downloadable freebies, such as ebooks, case studies, white papers, etc. Research what people are looking for in your industry and give it to them as a downloadable in exchange for their email address. Just be aware that having one freebie is not enough – you should have twenty or more free offers to achieve consistent mailing list growth. The downloadables should be offered all around your magazine portal to help you convert. It’s very important that you rotate your offers every 90 days, because each offer’s appeal wears off and conversion rates will start dropping.
Ask for your visitors to sign up
Just ask for it. As soon as the website loads, ask for your visitors to sign up. Just show the popup and come up with an attractive proposition on why it’s worth it to sign up to your mailing list. Some people might say that this is a very intrusive or crudel method to collect emails and you will probably lose some visitors, but don’t worry: these weren’t your targeted customers anyway.
The conversion rate you should aim for is 1.5%. Test it within your niche; if you’re getting lower conversion rates, you can try different methods, or simply delay the popup for ten seconds or so. Be sure not to cover more than 40% of your mobile website with the subscription popup because Google will penalize you by sending less traffic.
Use content to drive curiosity & convert
You can give each visitor some free content and, if they want to read more, ask them to subscribe. This can be done for each individual article so the visitor can read a few paragraphs free before being asked to sign up, or you can give a few free articles and then if they want to read more, ask them to subscribe.
Create a checkbox that says, “I want to subscribe to X mailing list.”
Capture emails on all forms and order pages by creating a checkbox that says, “I want to subscribe to X mailing list.” Also, capture emails on unfinished forms and order pages, so you can follow them up later.
Add email capture forms inside your content
Add email capture forms inside your content to make it easier for your visitors to get more of your awesomeness.
Add a menu item to your sitemap that offers a free newsletter on different topic
Your visitors will appreciate the free stuff and might find some topics interesting enough to subscribe.
How to Keep More Email Subscribers
Keeping your subscribers happy and on your list is an interesting challenge. How do you do it?
The number one rule here is to engage them with valuable and interesting content, but to not bother them with what they might perceive as “spam”. This balance is what you need to strive for when you send out your emails. Here are a few useful tips to make sure you keep more subscribers, even those who are on the fence about their subscription:
Give them different subscription options
Give them different subscription options that allow them to control frequency and content. For example, give them options for daily, weekly, or monthly newsletters or even offer them a few treats such as free offers.
This is important for those who go to your unsubscribe page because they’re receiving too many emails from you, but may not necessarily wish to unsubscribe completely. Give them (and your mag) and easy out!
Make sure subscribers have a great newsletter experience
You have all those emails. You naturally want to do something useful with them, right?
Follow up with cold subscribers after 90-180 days. If you offer them something of value, believe me, you’ll be impressed by how many of them are willing to subscribe again.
Make it easy for email subscribers to re-subscribe to a lower-frequency mailing list. Or if you have deep analytics insights on your email subscribers, you may opt to control the experience for those that seem especially inactive. If you start slow, mailing them maybe just once a week at first, you can gradually ramp them up and better retain them.
Treat them with care, like a distant girlfriend. They’re on the fence, afterall. So go with something attractive the first time. Or simply use mood sensitivity, something expert “human business” marketer Chris Brogan does extremely well in his own newsletter. You might do well to emulate that a little. People respond well to mood sensitivity.
If you rate yourself high on the tact and professionalism scale, well, it’s probably not really even about you, most likely. It’s probably about them and where they’re at in their business mojo.
How to Keep Open Rates High
To make your email marketing most effective, you need to monitor your open rates and make sure to keep them as high as possible. There are a few important factors you need to practice in order to keep this process running smoothly. At first, you need to keep your list clean to get the real numbers. Only after that should you start focusing on optimization.
Keep your mailing list clean and tidy. The best approach to this is to:
a. Make it easy for subscribers to voluntary unsubscribe from one or all mailing lists. Move everybody who has unsubscribed to another list. Do not delete them. You might consider, for example, a special appeal list or a “freebie if you come back” list.
b. Purge all inactive subscribers from your active list after 180 days. Retain these as well by moving them to another list as above. But do try to follow up with them after some time has passed.
c. Purge of hard bounce email addresses. These are the addresses where your newsletter went undelivered. The most common reasons this happens are that the mailbox no longer exists, the domain no longer exists, or the server has blocked your address permanently. These are gone forever, or never really were. Delete these permanently. Or don’t?
Here’s why you might keep bad emails (but not schedule them):
You don’t want them in your lists, true. But you might want to save and then print out the full bad email list before purging them forever, so that you can investigate how you ended up with them in the first place. If many seem blatantly fake or never-existed in nature, this can say something about your quality of traffic sources.
Do you need an email subscriber review? If many of the email addresses look legit, it may be a clue to the quality of your customer retention management strategies (CRM for those playing at home). This second issue is actually a much better problem to have. Why? Because it’s a fixable problem and a teachable moment for you and your marketing team.
Make your subject line snappy
Your newsletter subject line is 47% responsible for your newsletter’s open rate. Focus on finding the best pattern that works for your industry. Try to keep it between 6-10 words. Keep in mind that personalization helps in every case. Here are a few ideas:
a. Reasons why – “X reasons why you should do Y”
b. Benefits – “Follow these simple tips to get X subscribers in the next Y days”
c. Question – “Do you think you can learn this?”
Focus on the 1st sentence of your newsletter’s body text
It’s responsible for 27% of your open rate successes. Test how it looks on the most popular email tools, like Gmail, Yahoo, etc. There is a part of the first sentence that is visible, so it’s important that it does some work. Here’s how to make it better:
a. Never make it about you; make it about them.
b. Start with your strongest statement to give it value and impact right away.
c. Personalize it so that it talks directly to the reader, by first name if possible. If not available, make a habit of using a nice nickname like “Rock star” or something that your readers would love you calling them. Avoid Mr. and Ms. The idea here is to get intimate with your audience. Close the gap, never widen it.
All this looks even better in action.
Call or email Flip180 Media your email marketing questions. We would love to help you build your email subscriber list and get the most out of it.