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Getting email subscribers is an art, so put down the sledgehammer and pick up some different tools.

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Jay Pratt, Technical Lead at DestinationCore.

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Getting email subscribers is an art, so put down the sledgehammer and pick up some different tools.

Asking your audience for their personal information is a tricky subject, especially with GDPR looming in the background to keep us all (rightly) in check. But it doesn't have to be as trepidatious an undertaking as you may think and for those more confident out there, it also shouldn't be an in your face 'GIVE US YOUR EMAIL' approach either.

Read on for some ideas around building an engaged audience via the most targeted and direct marketing channel you have at your disposal.

Who are you trying to reach?

Seems like a pretty obvious answer right? Your users!? Well, yes, sort of. I mean if you could sign up all of your website users, you'd probably have a pretty big list of people to send your snazzy newsletter to, but how many of them would actually read it, better still click on it? Truth is, not that many.

Building an audience is not a numbers game, well it is but not solely a numbers game. Obviously it would be great to have thousands of subscribers actively engaging with your email marketing but getting there is not about every user on the site having a form thrust under their nose.

The aim should be quality not quantity, 15k subscribers is no good if they aren't opening your emails, 2k engaged subscribers is much more valuable.

It's all about timing...

I can't tell you the amount of times that I have landed on a site, ready to find what I am looking for and BANG! A popup appears asking me for my details. Let's look at this from a few angles...

Firstly as a new user, I don't know you or your brand from Adam and the first thing you have done is, rather intrusively, asked for some personal information, with no context or inclination that I may be interested in doing so. Even worse you have committed one of the cardinal sins of User Experience and interrupted my user journey.

The natural reaction for most users to a popup is to immediately try and close it - it's like that annoying fly that starts bothering you at the family BBQ, you just want to swat it away.

So the best case scenario is that the user just closes the popup but still wants to continue with their journey on your site. They may decide to enter their details just to get the popup gone, so now you have their details (begrudgingly) and one more unengaged subscriber. The worst case is that they think, you know what, I'll look elsewhere and hey presto, you lose a potential customer and brand ambassador.

Now another option with the ol' popup approach is to put it on a timer, or look for when the user is heading for the 'close' button on the browser tab then flash it up in one last attempt to get them on your list. I can promise you that this approach will end up in the same end result - at best an (even more) unengaged subscriber or another negative experience.

So how should it be done?

Well, our suggestion is to offer the opportunity to stay up-to-date with your content but in a contextual way. For example, I've just enjoyed reading a great article about the best street food in your location. When I get to the end of the post, a form appears that reads something like:

'If you enjoyed this article and want to read more like it, why not simply enter your email below? You can opt out any time..."

This way you can be more confident that the user is going to actually be interested in hearing from you. Email Sending Platforms (ESPs) like Mailchimp (the DestinationCore choice) are able to segment users based on any categories that you can think of, so on your form you can either have some checkboxes so the user can choose what they are interested in or you can make it contextual and silent i.e. on a food blog, the form can automatically add the food segment tag to the user.

Segmentation allows you to be able to deliver targeted content to the right users that are more likely to engage with it.

The key is to make it passive, not aggressive. Contextual not general. Make the user feel like they are getting a personal experience and they will stick with you longer and shout about you louder!

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Will Wright | Managing Partner

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Tel: 0203 780 7187

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