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This blog will cover:

  • Attracting potential customers to your content
  • Encouraging customers to opt-in to marketing e-newsletters
  • How to vet subscribers
  • How to segment your audience

How do you get the perfect subscribers for your marketing e-newsletters? Treat them like vampires!

If you have seen ‘Let the Right One In’, the 2008 critically acclaimed Swedish romantic horror film (that’s right!) or the 2010 Hollywood remake ‘Let Me In’ you will know that they are about a 12 year old, bullied boy who makes friends with a young girl. However, it turns out she is (spoiler alert!) a blood sucking vampire and helps him kill his assailants.

Leading up to the big reveal, there are a few signs along the way that his new friend isn’t all what she seems. These include the blood sucker classic, insisting on being invite in before entering his home.  But, do you know what actually happens if a vampire tries and enters a premises without an offer? The answer is nothing…nada….diddly squat. Simply, an invisible, impenetrable barrier is present, stopping night walkers from heading inward bound, until they hear the fateful words ‘Come on in’.

‘But, what has this got to do with marketing e-newsletters?’ I hear you cry. It’s the secret to building the perfect subscriber list….treat your audience like a group of ‘friendly’ vampires!

Enticing the Undead (Attract Customers to Your Content)

If you think that by simply putting an e-newsletter opt-in on your website, that potential subscribers are going to start swarming towards it like bats, then you are very much mistaken.  First of all, you will need to direct customers to your email sign-up and also convince them that you are a worthwhile recipient of this valuable piece of information.  Before you invite them to join, the prospect of joining must be inviting. But how can this be achieved?

Drip feeding

By drip feeding quality, relevant content in front of your audience on a regular basis through organic and PPC social media channels (e.g. ‘5 Tips on How to Get Dressed Without a Mirror’, ‘The 10 Best Coffins to Get a Good Days Rest, ‘How to Embrace Being a Pain in the Neck’) there will become a point, if they value your output, when they will sign up to the mailing list to ensure that they don’t miss out on future installments.

Just ensure that you include a ‘call to action’ regarding how to become a subscriber within every blog that you publish. A pop-up which jumps out at the vamps (rather than them jumping out at you!) as they leave your blog can be even more effective!

Going In For the Kill

Rather than relying on several smaller blogs , over a period of time, to peak your audience’s interest, you can alternatively produce one substantial, desirable piece of content that your target market won’t be able to wait to get their teeth into (‘The Ultimate Guide to Whitby by Night’, ‘101 Garlic Free Recipes’). All they will need to do is surrender their email. Shorter blogs or digital advertising can be used to direct potential customers to this content.

It is best practice to produce a landing page on your website highlighting the benefits of downloading this document. This will also include a sign up form for subscribers to submit the information that you require before the download occurs.

Dangling the Bait

Signing up to a mailing list to receive discounts and promotions is often a good way to incentivise your target audience: e.g. free busty virgin for every new subscriber!

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Invite Them In (Securing Opt-Ins for Marketing Communications)

So, you’ve lured your audience to the door and they are poised to enter, but how do they get through the invisible barrier? A lot of companies who start an e-newsletter, try and make it as easy as possible to subscribe to. They ask for a minimal amount of information (name and/or an email address) and only have one opt-in stage.  This is generally a mistake for the following reasons:

There Are Deviants Everywhere

Everyone or thing who tries to subscribe to your e-newsletter may not be exactly what they seem.  By having a simple subscription process, you are making it easy for the competition and ‘dishonest people who make up emails just to receive downloads’ to sign up. It can also leave you vulnerable to spam bots.

Having a doubt opt-in process (i.e. a verification email) will not eradicate the above problems completely, but it will provide another barrier to overcome or give non-genuine subscribers an opportunity to have second thoughts.

Also, with the introduction of GDPR, who some think was a stake through the heart of the e-mail marketer (not me, but that’s a separate blog!), a double opt-in provides an extra level of protection that subscribers know exactly what they are opting into i.e. e-mail marketing communications from your organisation.

Sounds Familiar!

You may think there is no harm sending communications to an audience that it isn’t intended for. So what if the odd familiar* receives the e-newsletter, their master might eventually turn them and then the content will suddenly be relevant! But there are consequences to making it too easy to subscribe to your e-newsletter. For instance, some online e-campaign management platforms (e.g. Mailchimp) use ‘number of subscribers’ as a metric for setting monthly payments. Therefore, if you have any subscribers on there who aren’t going to engage and convert to a sale, then they are costing you money.

You may think non-engaged subscribers will unsubscribe eventually, but how many irrelevant e-newsletters do you leave unread in your inbox on a monthly basis? In all likelihood, they will continue to receive them. This will drag down your e-campaign open rates and click through rates when measuring your marketing ROIs. Ironically, by making it harder for people to subscribe to your e-newsletters will make you look even more successful!

Not All Vampires Are the Same

The average person in the streets may think that a vampire is a vampire. However, if you know the audience, then you will know Nosferatu has a reflection and shadow, whereas Count Duckula does not. Therefore, their requirements regarding personal grooming maybe very different. By asking for more information during the opt-in process, you will have the ability to segment your audience and tailor content specific to their needs. This will increase engagement and ultimately drive sales.

‘Come On In’

Once a subscriber has provided the information you require and confirm their interest, it is now time to let them in. But don’t forget to include the functionality to share your e-newsletter content via email and social media channels.  If your subscribers continue to be delighted by your content they will forward it on to more of their kind. Like the little girl in ‘Let the Right One In’, once you do let them in, they may even start carrying out your dirty work for you!

* A mortal who is subservient to a vampire

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Gary Skipper

Gary Skipper

Gary Skipper is a Account Director at Agency51. He has over 20 years’ experience in marketing and has worked with all aspects of the marketing mix both online and offline. For the last 5 years, he has focused on digital marketing and promoted and created content for sectors as diverse as dentistry, construction, veterinary and car leasing. He also writes in his spare time which has led to working for television and performing stand-up comedy.

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