Growing an email subscriber base can be tricky business. Getting people to sign up can be a challenge, and getting the right people to sign up—people who might one day actually place an order and help keep your company profitable—is even harder. Your sales funnel and other marketing tools are all geared towards finding prospects interested in what you have to offer, but the ongoing investment and fine-tuning of these tools can leave you a little bit frustrated at times.
While we'd never advocate giving up on your other digital marketing efforts, we do have one surefire way to gain more subscribers using the email addresses you already have. Send out an irresistible offer and incentivize sharing, and your list will grow like gangbusters.
First, you need to recognize the enormous opportunity that your initial email list represents. Birds of a feather flock together, and all that, meaning the people who already like your stuff enough to let it into their inbox probably know other people who might feel the same way. Their friends and colleagues can benefit from what you do—and what your emails contain—so let them do your marketing for you!
All you have to do is convince them to share your email with other folks on their list, or better yet to forward it to a key selected individuals. When those folks get the email their trusted friend/coworker/pet sitter forwards, they're WAY more likely to open it, and also more likely to read the inside, click through, and if you make it easy, subscribe themselves.
The only trick is creating an offer that convinces your current list to share.
If one offer is good, two have to be better, right? Give your email recipients a double reason to share your email—one that directly benefits them, and one that their friends will love them for—and your list will grow itself.
Offer your current subscribers a discount for each one of their friends that subscribes (you can generate a unique referral link for each user to make tracking easy and automatic), and offer a discount to each new subscriber, too. The folks on your current lists get to be the good friend who let everyone else in on the deal, and they get to reap the rewards themselves!
Notice you're also incentivizing sales with a discount/coupon...that's not exactly an accident.
Put some media in your emails that your list will simply HAVE to share with their friends. Funny, shocking, alarming, heartwarming—find (or create) something that fits your brand, and make sure it really stands out (but hasn't already gone viral).
Then make it easy for your list to share with others with a forwarding button built in. With the right content, they'll click, type, and help your subscriber list grow.
People love to gamble almost as much as they love winning stuff. Give your subscribers one entry in some super-cool giveaway for each person they get to subscribe (again, those referral links will come in handy), and they'll share your email around faster than a cold in preschool.
The key is cluing into what your audience likes and giving them a little more of it for sharing with other like-minded folks. Incentivize the actions you want, and let others take those actions for you.