Grow Newsletter Subscribers With These Effective Tactics

You’ve probably heard the expression “The money’s in the list” tossed around your office. Many marketers believe that your email list is one of the most valuable marketing assets for your brand because you actually own the data, unlike your social media followers.

However, just collecting hundreds of uninterested subscribers who aren’t engaging your content won’t help you convert them into customers. Instead, you need to grow newsletter subscribers with connections who are interested in your message and act as brand advocates for your services.

Email marketing remains the most effective digital marketing strategy and is an essential communication method for reaching your customer base. In fact, 72% of consumers still prefer updates via newsletter, compared to just 17% who prefer social media. With strategic planning, you can begin to grow newsletter subscribers and keep engagement rates high with connections who are loyal to your brand.

How do you go about that? While it’s easier said than done, the following tactics will help you build a high-quality email list to kick-start your digital marketing strategy.

What is a newsletter?

Before diving into tactics, it’s important you understand what exactly a newsletter is and how it can help your business grow. A newsletter is an email communication that’s sent on a consistent basis and includes information about your business, services, and products.

However, newsletters aren’t necessarily selling products; they’re communicating value to your subscribers. In fact, certain methodologies recommend structuring your newsletter with 90% educational and 10% promotional content. Newsletters are meant to create a conversation between your brand and subscribers to keep them in touch with updates and, hopefully, motivate them to take action.

 Google Design’s Newsletter Example

Source: Really Good Emails

We love this newsletter from Google Design because it’s strictly informational and provides instant value to the reader. Not only does it include a quirky note from the Google editors, but it also offers nuggets of blogs, Google design updates, and recommendations from a technologist. As a reader, you feel more connected to the company because it feels personal.

How newsletters benefit your brand

With the right strategy to stay top of mind with customers, you can grow newsletter subscribers who continuously open and engage with your message. In fact, you’re 40 times more likely to get new customers from an impactful newsletter strategy than other digital methods.

Consistent communication with your customers not only helps you build trust, but it also establishes your brand as an authoritative voice in your industry. Once you’re able to form trust, your subscribers will begin to funnel down your customer journey and share your content with their network, which means more qualified subscribers.

How to measure your newsletter’s success

While newsletters can increase your brand awareness and convert subscribers, it’s important you’re measuring success, so you know where to improve. So how do you know if you’re winning the heart of your growing subscriber list? Consider the following metrics and testing strategies:

  • Open rate: test subject lines and preheader text
  • Delivery rate: test sending emails out at different points in the day
  • Click rate: test the position of your CTA, message, and design
  • Conversion rate: test the email’s content value

7 effective tactics to grow newsletter subscribers

Now that you know the benefits of developing an email newsletter, it’s time to turn up the volume and learn how to grow newsletter subscribers to build your business.

1. Offer incentives.

Let’s start out with the biggest way to grow newsletter subscribers: incentives. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how great your newsletter content is; potential subscribers need to feel like they’re receiving something in return for their email address. Why? Now, more than ever, consumers are guarding their data carefully. Your newsletter incentive needs to be worth it.

Incentives can include:

  • Free shipping
  • Percentage off first order
  • Educational course
  • Gated content like whitepapers, eBooks, etc.

Tattly includes incentive with newsletter

Source: Tattly

Check out this example from Tattly, who utilizes a 20% incentive with every new subscription to their newsletter. Combined with their fun product line, Tattly also includes catchy copy that makes the signing up for the newsletter fun. This subscription is also easy—users don’t need to take the time to fill out a daunting form—it’s just a few keyword strikes and you’re in.

2. Develop data capture forms.

Linking to a new signup page means that you’re sending your users away from the main site for them to input their personal information. Those precious extra clicks away decrease the chances of the user actually signing up for your newsletter. Instead, include a data capture form directly on your landing pages within the sidebar, footer, or header to make it easy for the user to submit their information.

3. Run contests or sweepstakes.

What’s something the majority of people won’t be able to resist? Anything for free. The trick here is that you don’t have to give away anything extravagant. Oftentimes, your products or services are the best giveaways. Not only does this encourage newsletter signups, but it also gets new subscribers involved in your brand a little more deeply, which could result in future conversions.

Even better? The right kind of contest can go viral and attract even more subscribers to promote your brand. Advertise your contests on your social media to encourage sharing and on your website.

4. Test button elements.

What color is your button? What does the copy say? If you’re thinking this doesn’t matter, you could be missing out on an opportunity to grow newsletter subscribers. In fact, 85% of consumers say that color is a driving factor when researching to buy a new product. The right color can elicit a sense of trust, urgency, or even relaxation. Utilize a color that stands out on your website and doesn’t fade into the background.

For your button copy, play around with different verbiage beyond the typical “sign up” or “subscribe.” Consider copy that keeps it simple and personalized and provides value to your user. Your user shouldn’t have to guess what happens when they subscribe to your newsletter. Effective button copy includes:

  • Start My Free Trial
  • Give Me 15% Off
  • Send Me My eBook
  • Gimme New Content

5. Utilize social media.

Just like every business needs a robust email database, they also need a strong social media presence to attract newsletter subscribers. If someone is following your Facebook page or has liked your Twitter, they already feel connected to your brand. Encourage them to join your conversation with consistent posts that highlight the benefits of your newsletter.

Additionally, social media sites make it easy to add newsletter signup options to your brand’s page through custom tabs, lead generation forms, or even adding a link in your about section.

Allbirds offers signup button on Facebook

Source: Allbirds, Facebook

Sneaker company Allbirds utilizes its Facebook page to grow newsletter subscribers by including a “Sign Up” button directly on their profile.

6. Use exit intent popup offers.

The truth is: everyone who visits your site won’t sign up for your newsletter right away. While some users find popups aggressive, utilizing this technique is a great way to capture contact information quickly. Instead of launching a popup when a user first enters your site, employ exit intent technology to detect user behavior and prompt a signup form as they’re about to leave your site. With exit intent, you know the user has been on your site long enough to understand your brand and what your newsletter could offer, which makes subscribing less intimidating.

7. Give your subscribers control.

As you’re trying to attract more subscribers, it’s important to consider how to retain your email list and avoid unsubscribes. If you notice an increase in unsubscribes, it could mean that your current list is overwhelmed.

Who can blame them? The average person receives 121 emails per day. To help relieve inbox anxiety, consider offering a “light subscription” option or even a preference center for users to set the timing at their own pace. Your preference center options could include daily, weekly, or monthly options.

The goal of an email list is to keep subscribers on your newsletter list, even if they aren’t receiving your full volume of communication. It’s always better to have an engaged subscriber than someone who receives all your emails but never opens them.

Wistia develops email preference center

Source: Really Good Emails

Wistia developed a comprehensive preference center that sets up expectations for subscribers and offers control over the frequency and type of email. We love how Wistia sets expectations with the subscriber, so there aren’t any surprises.

Wrap up

If you’re ready to start generating results with your email marketing, you need to first develop a quality newsletter subscriber list. To do so, employ creative tactics that entice potential subscribers to not only sign up, but also engage with your content on a regular basis. Think about it this way: What would grab your attention enough to subscribe to a newsletter?

You can grow newsletter subscribers with a few strategic tactics, including:

  • Offering incentives or a contest giveaway
  • Testing various button and copy options
  • Displaying data forms at the right moments
  • Creating a preference center

Now that you understand how to grow your subscriber list, it’s time to start creating powerful newsletters that keep your contacts engaged. Try Campaign Monitor for free to kick-start your email marketing strategy.

The post Grow Newsletter Subscribers With These Effective Tactics appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

Keeping it Simple: Why Simple-Text Newsletters Work

This is a guest post from Jerry Low at HostScore.

Now that there’s a wide range of digital marketing tools available, some marketers have put email newsletters on the back burner.

But this could be a mistake.

Although SEO, social media marketing, and paid ads can help your business, email is still a powerful platform for promoting your brand and connecting with customers.

In fact, email marketing has some of the highest ROI of any strategy. After all, most people check their email more often than social media platforms.

If you’re still not sure, here are a few mind-blowing stats that might convince you:

What is an email newsletter?

An email newsletter is a consistent email communication sent from a website, blogger, or person.

You can drive your newsletter back to your website where your content and services are hosted. On the other hand, maybe your business begins and ends at your newsletter, with just a signup page for people to subscribe. (Among the top email hosting providers, according to HostScore, are GoDaddy 4.66% and Rackspace 1.12%.)

Whether your newsletter is advertising for your site or the core of your business, you’ll need a great ESP like Campaign Monitor. ESPs manage your email marketing campaigns, lists, and email data.

Email newsletters help your company stay in contact with customers and prospects. Through regular email messages, you can let your audience know about the latest tips, news, products, services, and updates about your company.

Some email newsletters are weekly content digests similar to Rolling Stone’s roundup. Notice how each article on the list gives the reader a “taste” of what they’ll read, enticing them to click through for the full story.

Other email newsletters are used to promote events or products. They can also be a useful tool for internal communication with staff, contractors, or freelancers.

Here’s another newsletter example from the San Diego Chargers:


Instead of an information roundup, this newsletter gives you the need-to-know details quickly and efficiently.

Different types of newsletters

So email marketing, and specifically sending digital newsletters, is an excellent way to promote your business. But where do you begin? One of the first steps is deciding which type of newsletter you’re going to send. You have two choices:

HTML newsletters

HTML is an abbreviation for HyperText Markup Language. It’s the code used to build many websites, and you can use it to spice up your email newsletter, just like the Rolling Stone one.

When you use HTML in your email message, you can include things like CTA buttons, animated gifs, and even video. But should you? We’ll get to that in a minute.

Plain or Simple-text newsletters

Plain-text emails are exactly like they sound. They include text only (formatting and links are okay), but there are no media elements added, such as those gifs and bright colors.

If you’re not sure what a text email looks like, open up the last email message you received from a family member or friend. That’s it.

The benefits of simple-text newsletters

The debate about whether HTML or simple-text emails are better has gone on for years. Marketers who love bells and whistles might be drawn to HTML, but this isn’t always the best choice.

While we often discuss the benefits of HTML and plain text respectively, today we’ll argue the benefits of plain-text newsletters.

Some of the benefits include:

Controlled experience

When you add images, gifs, buttons, and videos to your HTML email newsletter, they may not come through clearly with every email client.

This is going to result in an inconsistent experience for the user. In contrast, you’ll be able to control the experience with simple-text newsletters because any email client will load the content.

Loads more quickly

The many elements packed into an HTML newsletter are going to slow down the loading speed. And we all know that consumers don’t have the patience to wait for your colorful email to load.

If it’s lagging, they’re going to abandon their efforts, send your message to the trash bin, or even unsubscribe from your list. Because simple-text newsletters aren’t bogged down with code and media files, they’ll load much more quickly.

Better engagement

Simple-text emails create the feeling of a one-on-one conversation with your reader. They’re similar to the messages you’d get from family or friends, so the same type of message from a company seems more personalized.

And while accessibility isn’t always talked about enough, plain-text emails are more accessible. For instance, anyone using a screen reader will get better performance from plain text over HTML.

B2B marketer Kevin Fontenot says that he exclusively sends text-based emails because they have higher open and reply rates and have more of a conversational tone. Several other marketers concur.

Jennifer Lux of SmartBug Media confirms that plain text performs better for her clients. Likewise, Jonathan Aufray of Growth Hackers states that he recommends this type of newsletter and email for most of his firm’s clients.

According to Eric Qunstrom from CIENCE Technologies, simple-text emails outperform HTML as much as nine times better when it comes to engagement. Further, CDMG reports that text-based emails have a 21% higher click-to-open rate on the offer link.

Works on every device

Plain text email messages work on every device, including smartphones, tablets, wearables, and desktop or laptop computers. You don’t have to worry about the responsiveness of your fancy elements in the message because, well, there aren’t any.

Examples of simple-text newsletters

Because you’re using simple text, your email newsletters should be short and sweet. Let the subscriber know why you’re contacting them and then get to the point.

This example from Mailcharts is a perfect no-nonsense email newsletter to new subscribers. The subject line states that the company wants to help with email marketing. It sets the expectation for future messages and invites the recipient to hit “reply” to discuss any email marketing challenges.


Fizzle writes a newsletter aimed at helping entrepreneurs that want tips on building a business:


Who else is using simple-text newsletters?

If you want examples of other companies that are using simple-text newsletters, one suggestion is to start opening more of those messages sitting in your inbox. There’s a good chance that a high percentage of them are created using simple text.

Paul Jarvis is an author and designer who prefers simple-text emails:

“I’ve spent the last 8 years writing a weekly newsletter that’s now read by around 35,000 people. I’ve A/B tested so many variations of the design, and while some tests have been inconclusive, one has been clear as day: simple emails always win. Mostly text, readable text, and text that’s easily readable on mobile devices.

This always beats out graphics-ridden emails or emails with lots of different text sizes and colours. That’s why my Sunday Dispatches newsletter is a single graphic (my logo) and large, consistent type for everything else.”

Drift is a company that makes and promotes chatbots to take marketing campaigns to the next level. The company chose to send out a weekly newsletter from their employee, Dave, recapping the company’s operations.

Dave did this in plain text and wrote as if “he were writing to a friend.” Interestingly, people started responding.

Another company that uses plain-text emails is Expedia’s Cruise Ship department. With its “CruiseShipNews” email, it provides subscribers with updates on various destinations and the latest deals (see below). You’ll notice that the email uses plenty of white space and lists to make the email pleasing to the eye.

In some cases, you might see an email that appears to be in plain text, but it’s really HTML. This is designed in a way to appear as if it were coming from a friend or colleague.

You might get a few of the benefits of simple text email newsletters, but not all of them. One example of this method is an email message from marketer Neil Patel:

Wrap up

Even though HTML email newsletters allow you to add many of the elements that you have on your website or social media page, there are strong arguments for keeping it simple.

Among them: better engagement, faster loading time, and more controlled user experience. If you decide you’re going to send an HTML email, you should consider including a plain text version, so your readers have the option.


Jerry Low is a geek dad who is passionate about web development and SEO. His new website HostScore features a new, data-driven way to evaluate and choose a web host.

The post Keeping it Simple: Why Simple-Text Newsletters Work appeared first on Campaign Monitor.