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3 tips to double your email list fast

The following is a guest post from our friends at Privy

It’s time for your monthly marketing team meeting. You sit down and review the previous month’s email campaign reports, and you pat yourself on the back because, hey, you averaged a 30% open rate and 25% clickthrough rate across your audience of 50,000 subscribers!

You should definitely celebrate those kind of results, but why stop there? What if instead of 50,000 subscribers, you could get those same (or better!) open and click rates from 100,000 subscribers by the end of the year?

I know, I know, I can hear you chuckling. But I promise, you can quickly double your list – or even triple it – by focusing on dedicated list growth efforts.

At Privy, we power list growth for 25,000 marketers around the globe. So we thought it would be fun to look at the current state of new subscriber conversions in an effort to help those just getting started with some tips for success and benchmarks for comparison.

We recently looked at six months worth of data across 5,000 of our most active marketers, generating hundreds of millions of data points. As a result, we were left with a ton of interesting email capture trends and takeaways to share.

Of course, not all forms and pop-ups are created equal. To elaborate, factors like display type, trigger, timing, and device type will have a big impact on your ability to encourage unknown visitors to sign up for your list. But with that in mind, here’s what we learned.

(Note: These results will vary for different companies, but the hope is that they provide you with benchmarks for your own efforts!)

1) Special offers and 'Enter to Win' campaigns provide the most incentive to join your email list.

Above all else, the data revealed that the type of content you offer on your forms carries the most significant impact on conversions. To better understand which types of content provide the most incentive for visitors to convert, we zoomed in on three different content categories:

• Sign-up campaigns: This is a simple “join our email list" form. In some cases, it may mention that the subscriber can expect great content, but it typically refrains from using a specific offer to incentivize conversion.

• Offer campaigns: Just like it sounds, an offer-backed campaign uses the promise of a specific piece of content or a promo code/coupon in exchange for conversion. Think “download this whitepaper."

• 'Enter to Win' campaigns: This is more of a sweepstakes-type giveaway, where at the end of the campaign schedule a winner (or group of winners) will be randomly selected to receive some sort of prize.

According to the research, ‘Enter to Win' forms offer the most incentive to join, converting at an average of 15%. The takeaway? Offering your subscribers something concrete in return for their email address – especially the potential to win a prize – makes them much more likely to sign up for your list. 

2) When it comes to display style, banners outperform bars and pop-ups.

You can use many different display types to display your opt-in form or offers, so we looked across the three most popular form display types to examine which performs best. First, let's understand each display type:

• Pop-up: Also referred to as a lightbox, this display type often appears in the center of a website or "flies out" in the corner.

• Bar: This display type is a full width bar that typically sits either on top of your site, or at the bottom.

• Banner: This is a more subtle interaction that sits at the top or bottom of a site, but starts in a "hidden" state until triggered and then rolls into sight.

According to the results, the banner outperforms both the pop-up and email bar. While it's easy for visitors to feel bombarded by a pop-up or overlook an email bar, the banner display seems to strike a happy medium between the two.

3) User click triggers delivered higher conversion rates than both time-based and exit-intent CTAs.

There are a number of options to explore when determining how and when to present your visitors with an opt-in form. Some are automatic triggers, while others are user click triggers. To clarify, let's take a look at a few different types of triggers:

• Timer: Time-based triggers allow you to specify when to display a list growth CTA, based on how long a visitor has been on your site.

• Exit intent: This option tracks your visitor's mouse movement to trigger a CTA when they appear to be leaving your website (moving their mouse towards the X).

• Tabs and on-site buttons: This trigger typically appears within your site's layout – in the corner, along the bottom of the page, etc. – and prompts visitors to clickthrough to reveal the form.

Based on our findings, tab triggers saw a 32.43% conversion rate, which was dramatically higher than the other types.

Why the noticeable difference? While time-based triggers and exit-intent campaigns have proved useful for many marketers, tab triggers require your visitors to proactively clickthrough to access a form. In other words, those who take action are typically more engaged – hence the higher conversion rate.

(Note: Conversion rate is measured based on campaign views that resulted in signups by trigger type, not total site traffic.)

Now, it’s your turn!

Like blogging or email marketing, you need to start somewhere. Implement your first list growth campaign and see what happens!

You can always tweak your design, targeting, and content to turn up the dials later. I promise that even with a simple, generic form, you’ll grow your list faster than you are today. A little bit of success will prove to you and your team that a more dedicated focus on list growth is worth your time, especially when combined with great welcome series and lead nurturing campaigns.

Remember: These findings reflect the behavior of our users. The best way to grow your email list is to use these findings to inform your own research and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Hungry for more?

Emma and Privy are teaming up for a webinar on Tuesday, June 14 at 11AM (CT). Join Jamie Bradley and Ben Jabbawy as they share their most effective tips and stellar examples from brands like Goldieblox and Mario Batali. Save your spot here

Ben Jabbawy is the founder of Privy, an email list growth platform used by 25,000 marketers around the world. He started Privy after helping his parents market their small businesses, having seen first hand the incredible ROI of email as compared to other popular distribution channels.