It’s not easy to get somebody to give you their email address.
Most people wage an ongoing war with their inbox and the last thing they want is to invite more incoming missives into their life.
But, with the right approach you can still build a large and engaged subscriber base.
Here are five simple keys to getting people to hit that subscribe button, based on my experience growing the For The Interested newsletter to 25,000 subscribers.
1. Promise (and deliver) value to the subscriber.
Nobody’s going to subscribe to your newsletter as a favor to you — they need to know what’s in it for them.
The description of your newsletter has to express a clear value proposition to give people a reason to subscribe.
If you’re a comedian, asking people to sign up to your mailing list just to get a reminder about your future shows isn’t really about providing value to them — it’s about providing value to you.
That’s why people rarely subscribe to those email lists.
Instead, make it clear what’s in it for the subscriber that they will value.
When I invite people to subscribe to my For The Interested newsletter at the bottom of posts like this one, I say the following:
If you found this post helpful, you’ll also enjoy my FOR THE INTERESTED newsletter. It’s a weekly collection of 10 ideas to help you learn, do, and become better at your work, art, and life.
I want people to know exactly what to expect, why they should care, and how subscribing will benefit them.
2. Ask your audience to subscribe.
Don’t assume readers will know you have a newsletter or just “figure it out.” They won’t.
Be explicit, be obvious, and don’t be shy about asking them to subscribe.
If you’re proud of your newsletter (and you better be or it will never work), then there’s no reason to be shy about asking people to subscribe.
Still feel uncomfortable asking? Then go learn how to get over your fear of self-promotion.
3. Showcase your signup form or call to action.
This seems obvious, but apparently it’s not.
I have conversations with clients all the time who wonder why they don’t get more email subscribers and then I go look at their website and can’t even find their signup form.
You can’t get somebody to subscribe to your newsletter if they don’t see the signup form.
Incorporate your signup forms (and links to them) in places where your audience can’t miss them.
With For The Interested, I plug the newsletter at the bottom of the articles on my website and on Medium, in the navigation menu of my site and my Medium publication, and even in the intro paragraph of each week’s newsletter on Medium.
They’re tough to miss.
4. Build trust with your audience.
Because so many people and companies have abused the privilege of having access to their audience’s inbox, trust is more important than ever.
People are skeptical when you ask for their email, so the only way to ever get somebody to subscribe to your newsletter is if you first get their trust.
The way to get an audience’s trust is to consistently deliver what you promise, show them you care about them, and provide them with legitimate value in your interactions.
If you struggle to get people to subscribe to your newsletter, it’s often a sign they don’t trust you yet.
5. Create something that aligns with your audience’s interest.
If you make videos about knitting, your audience isn’t going to subscribe to your newsletter about real estate.
The better your newsletter’s content matches the core interests of your audience, the more likely you are to convert them into subscribers.
This means the less defined your niche is and the more vague you are about the people you’re trying to reach, the harder it is to attract email subscribers.
The better you know who your audience is and what they value, the better you’re able to position your newsletter and frame it in a way that compels your audience to invite it into their inbox.
One more thing…
If you found this post helpful, you’ll also enjoy my FOR THE INTERESTED newsletter.
It’s a weekly collection of 5 ideas to help you learn, do, and become better at your work, art, and life.
(See? Told you I make the subscription ask hard to miss!)