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How To Successfully Grow [and Retain!] Your Mailing List

Some fun facts about email marketing! Emails have the highest return on investment when compared to all the available marketing channels, AND they are at least four times more effective in reaching your target audience than social media sites, like Facebook!

But wait, there’s so much more! Emails are also still the most direct route we have available when it comes to reaching people. And according to top web influencer, Neil Patel, emails also crush social media channels when it comes to delivering more value-rich, personalized content to your readers.

Related read: Growing Your Podcast Audience Through Email Marketing

Now, I get this all sounds great! You’ll probably thinking, “Yes! I want effectively wield emails for help grow my company/brand/podcast/passion project/etc.” But the trick is actually getting more and more people to read your value-drenched, personalized, informative, yet hilarious, email newsletters, and therein lies the rub!

So today, we’re covering strategies that will firstly help you grow that all-important email mailing list, as well as strategies that you can then implement that will make sure you retain that growth and convert all those new sign-ups to loyal members of your community.  

Let’s start with 6 strategies to help you kickstart your mailing list growth.

Grow

1. Be Legal, Eagle

Before we go any further, we need to address the legal elephant in the room. You may want to boost your newsletter numbers by simply importing the email addresses you already have in your contact list, or those addresses you’ve already collected in relation to your business. To this we say, “Woah! Slow down there, pal!” Because this would be illegal! Yup! Foundational Email Newsletter Rule Numero Uno is that you have to ask for permission. Otherwise, you may fall foul of certain email marketing rules and regulations. (You can read more about all the legalities here.)

It is important that you’re fully aware of email marketing do’s and don’ts, not only because of the legal ramifications, but also because of the long term damage this can do to any future mailing list growth. Because if your business and brand gets spam complaints, or your emails end up getting flagged as spam due to bypassing the proper sign-up procedures, you’ll have some serious issues reaching even your legitimate audience .

2. Make Signing Up Easy

Mailing List Growth Strategy #2 is simple, but oh-so effective! If you want to get more people signed up, make it easy for them to sign up! And all this really means is that you need to put your sign up option in places your target audience are likely to find it! If you have a website, put this option at the bottom of every page. If you have a podcast, put a call-to-action at a strategic point in your episodes, then make sure to include a link in your show notes (just another reason why podcast show notes are important!) If you have an active Pinterest page, put your sign-up link in your bio! The bottom line is make it easy!

Think carefully about your target audience and the places they’ll most likely go hunting for the type of niche content you’re offering, and then be sure to leave a way for them to sign up to your newsletter there!

And with that in mind, we dovetail seamlessly to the next strategy…

3. Use Your Social Platforms

Whichever way you cut it, or whatever target audience you’re aiming to reach, a social media strategy is an essential part of growing your email list. And knowing how to use each social media platform to grow said list is crucial. 

Some quick examples: 

For Facebook, you can look at creating engaging posts that stop your target audience mid-scroll. Then be sure to pop your sign-up link in the caption, and you’re good to go!

Instagram is a little trickier as you can’t include links in your posts. But you can add one link to your bio! Then you can use your Instagram posts, as well as your stories to direct viewers to your bio and get them signing up to your mailing list. Remember to use niche-specific hashtags to reach more of your target audience and really make the most of what Instagram has to offer. 

And for Twitter, you can include your sign-up link as part of your pinned tweet so that anyone who lands on your profile sees your mailing list sign-up call-to-action immediately. 

Related read: Social Media Marketing Options For Podcasts

4. Create Short Videos

Creating a short, informative but fun video to share across all your social media platforms is another really effective way to grow your list! Videos are an incredibly powerful marketing asset! And videos are also highly shareable, which means you’ll be amping up your potential reach significantly! If you can get your sign-up videos to capture some of the magic and valuable content viewers can look forward to from your emails, then you’ll have a winning strategy on your hands! 

Bonus Tip: If you’re looking to dip your toes into using TikTok as part of your social media marketing strategy, then an email sign-up video would be a definite “must” for your content arsenal.

Related read: How To Use TikTok to Promote Your Podcast

5. Host a Giveaway

Giveaways are super popular on social media! And this means they are also a fantastic way to grow your mailing list! By including signing up to your newsletter as part of your giveaway entry requirements, you’ll have a whole lot of people signed up as part of your email community in no time! 

However, we do have a word of caution when it comes to giveaways. While they are certainly amazing for getting people to sign-up, they don’t have a best track record when it comes to retention. And this is mostly because giveaways often reach people outside of your target audience. You’ll often find a sudden decline in your subscription numbers after the deadline and winner announcement of your giveaway rolls around.

And this can be super disheartening! One way you can counteract this is to tailor your giveaway competition specifically to your target audience. This will help the “right” people sign up, and will help improve the odds of them sticking around for the long run.  

6. Host a Webinar of Live Event

Our last strategy in the Growth Department is to plan and host a webinar or other type of live event. Webinars and Live Events are an effective way to grow your mailing list because they help show your target audience that you have something that is highly valuable to offer. And by doing this for free via a webinar or live event, you create a great impression as a confident authority within your niche, and it gives viewers a great taste of what you can offer them through signing up to your email newsletter, as well as any other programs you offer. 

Take a look at your content, and find your angle that your current audience seems to respond to best. Look for your social media posts that have the most engagements, or your podcast episode that got the most downloads or comments. This will give you a good indication of the type of content that will make for an amazing webinar or live event! 

Remember to promote your event across all your social media platforms, and hit up everyone who signs up with great content leading up to the event, and you’ll be sure to have significantly enlarged your mailing list!

Retain

Yay! You’ve done it! You’ve applied the above tips, tweaked them to make them your own, and you’ve seen significant growth in your email mailing list! Congratulations! 

But don’t get too caught up in the celebrations! Now that Phase One of Operation: Grow Your Email Mailing List is completed, your next mission (should you choose to accept!) will be: Retaining Those Hard-Earned Addresses! 

And we’ve got 5 strategies to show you how: 

1. Ace Your Subject Lines

Your email subject lines are a vital part of retaining your mailing list because they give your readers their first impression of the type of experience being a part of your email community will be. And remember, first impressions matter! 

Essentially, you’re looking to craft subject lines that scream “READ ME!” And the key to mastering this element is understanding your audience and what appeals to them, or what they’re looking for from their inbox. Are they looking for stats or figures? Would they enjoy puns or other word plays? Are they looking for pop culture references or other niche-specific headlines? Know what it is your audience is after, then deliver this to their inboxes, and you’ll place yourself in good stead for holding onto those mailing list numbers. 

2. Don’t Be Spammy

This is key! Your emails should not ever read as “spammy”! (Yes, that is a real word. I checked!) Otherwise, you’ll have readers hitting “Unsubscribe” quicker than you can say, well, “Unsubscribe.” Now this doesn’t mean you can’t use your email newsletters as a way to promote your business, or latest podcast episode, or that great offer you’ve currently got going on. Your emails are a great place to do this! But it does mean that it shouldn’t be the sole purpose of your emails! 

You want to steer clear of content that feels “sales-y” or worse, pushy! And honestly, you won’t really recover from setting this kind of tone. The minute your readers feel like you’re just using your emails to push your products, you’ll have a hard time getting them to sign up again in the future. Again, this doesn’t mean that you can’t share more about your products or your brand, but the tone and timing is super important.

But above all, your emails should offer your readers amazing value. They should be excited to see your latest newsletter pop up in their inbox because they know it will be a great read, because you’ve taken the time and thought to make it a great read. 

3. Build Relationships

Building and sustaining your email list is so important because emails are such an effective way to make great impressions on your audience. (Follow the links in our intro in case you need a reminder!) But more important than making a great impression is the fact that consistently sending out value-dense emails to your mailing list is an almost-unbeatable way of building solid relationships with your readers. 

Remember, emails are still the most direct route we have available when it comes to reaching people, and coupled with their ability to deliver more personalized content, you have a winning strategy for building those relationships with your community, which will create the desire to stay a part of your community. 

4. Showcase Your Winning Personality

Your email newsletter is the perfect place to win readers over with your winning personality. You can be way more personable in your email newsletters, which will then make your readers feel like they know you. Share personal stories (obviously, if you feel comfortable doing so) tell your favorite jokes, or let them in on other aspects of your life. Balance this with the content they’re so hungry for, and you’ll rarely see your subscription numbers dropping!

BONUS TIP: Use pictures, funny images, or other design elements to help showcase your personality via your emails. You can also create your own template that reflects you and your brand with every email you send out. Unsure of how to create your own email template? Then check out this article which features The 9 Best Sites for Free Email Templates.

5. Know that Content is King

But above everything we’ve shared above, the Number 1 strategy for growing and retaining your mailing list is knowing that content is, and will always be king. There is really nothing else that will keep your email numbers from declining other than packing your emails to the brim and then some with your amazing content. The bottom line is, if you want to keep your readers engaged and happy, and not reaching for the “unsubscribe” option, you need to keep giving them emails that are informative, engaging, and showcase more of your one-of-a-kind point of view.

Do this, and you’ll always have an amazing community surrounding you and your brand. You’ll be able to build up trust between you and your readers, which will see your readers turning into customers, but more than that, they’ll become a loyal member of your community, and there is nothing better than that!

In Conclusion

The growth of your email mailing list is really a never-ending cycle of implementing innovative strategies to grow said mailing list, and then applying those strategies designed to retain these numbers. And then repeat. 

Email marketing is a tried and tested way to engage your target audience, provide value, and build relationships that turn readers into loyal members of your community. And that’s why building and retaining your mailing list is so important. Put these strategies into place, and your mailing list will never be the same again! 

Related read: Email Marketing Basics For Podcasters

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Jennay Horn

Jennay Horn

Jennay is the Content Director at We Edit Podcasts

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