Offline Methods to Increase Your Email Subscriber Base


Sometimes at the checkout counter I’ll notice a little signup sheet or a collection box with a note that says something like, “Join our mailing list for updates and information on [retail store name here.]”

Never once have I given my email address.

It’s not that I think I may get spammed by my local deli, or have my laundromat sell me out to home mortgage lenders. It’s that I have to wonder what these establishments really have to offer that requires my email.

In short, they haven’t given me a compelling reason to share that particular inroad to my life.

So what would compel a person to subscribe to your newsletter?

First, give them a good reason to subscribe, such as a free gift, raffle entry, or a discount or free trial on a service or product. In other words, offer something of (perceived) value in exchange for your prospect’s email address.

For example, a kitchen store might have a turkey deep fryer on display. “Win this 30lb Turkey Deep Fryer by Entering Your Email Address!” The deep fryer itself could be the raffle bucket that would be filled with email addresses and business cards of people who want to deep-fry their own turkey. (If you’ve never had deep-fried turkey, you’re missing out. Never has the bird been so tender. But I digress.)

For the price of a deep fryer ($99 – $149 retail, so figure less for wholesale) you could collect hundreds of email addresses of people who are interested in kitchen products.

If you don’t have the benefit of a retail store, you can still collect emails offline. Train your staff (or yourself) to ask for an email the same way you ask for a phone number when people call.

Once you have it, ask if you can add the person to your mailing list, citing some of the benefits. Not everyone will be interested, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you can build your list this way.

Second, give them a good reason to stay subscribed. Remember that with every email you send you’re giving someone the opportunity of un-subscribing. You need to continue to provide reasons for them to stay on your list.

Remember: keep in mind what your subscribers want, not what you want to sell them.

If you’re that kitchen store, you may want to include unique monthly recipes…along with links to products that can help create these delicious entrees. You may want to include tips and advice on how to prepare food and keep it fresh. You might keep things fresh in your newsletter by providing seasonal recipes, such as grillables in the summer and soups in the winter.

Finally, remember to ask permission to add them to your mailing list. Be clear that you’re collecting their emails so that you can add them to your mailing list…don’t assume that people will know that by entering their email in a raffle, they’ve agreed to receive weekly missives on how great your salad spinner is.

The goal is to develop a list of quality email addresses whose interests match what you have to offer. Quality trumps quantity every time.

Want other help on improving your subscriber base…online or off? Contact us!

–Rich Brooks
President, flyte new media