Acquiring new email addresses is an important element of any email marketing programme.  A report by Custora shows that email acquisition quadrupled from 2009-2013, demonstrating that the channel is one of the strongest available to marketers.

Email acquisition has benefits beyond gaining new customers. It also helps reduce churn and retain and nurture your existing customers. Generally speaking, there are six key strategies to implement in order to authentically grow your email list.

Optimize Your Opt-In Pages

Once you’ve captured your users’ attention, you need to reel them in, so make sure your opt-in pages are working hard for your email programme, and not against you.

Firstly, make the opt-in form visible on the website and design a standalone sign-up page that promotes the benefits of joining your list. In addition to including a link, make sure content and calls to action on the sign-up page are limited so that there are no competing messages.

Depending on what you’re asking people to sign up for, in most cases, less is moreDepending on what you’re asking people to sign up for, in most cases, less is more. If you’re requesting them to sign up for a newsletter, a name and email address may be enough. If you’re offering a free trial, you might need additional qualifying information. Whatever information you ask for, make sure you need it and will use it.

Providing incentives, disclosing your privacy policy and providing comprehensive credentials will also help to optimise opt-in pages.

Create Multiple Opportunities For Sign-Up

Once you’ve optimised your opt-in page, you need to promote it so that more potential users can engage with your brand.

Every time a visitor completes a form on your site, they should receive a “thank you” message. This is an excellent opportunity to include a call to action that encourages the user to sign up for your email list. Make sure to include information about the list and the value gained from joining it. Also, your blog may be one of the most visited areas of your site, so it’s another great place to include a call to action.

Include sign-up calls to action on your homepage and subpages, where appropriate. You can include them in your top navigation, in the footer, and on the sidebars to keep it visible to visitors at all times. Also, don’t forget the power of the pop-up to put your call to action front and centre.

Create A Stellar Welcome Email

Once you have a new subscriber, you need to welcome them in the best way possibleOnce you have a new subscriber, you need to welcome them in the best way possible. Make sure you focus your message on validating their decision to opt in to your list.

The adage, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is especially true when it comes to email. The welcome email sets the tone for every email delivered to your subscribers’ inboxes thereafter.

Most importantly, you should personalise the email. During your sign-up process, you’ve probably asked for a first name, last name, and an email address—use them! Some companies like Visual.ly address their users by their username instead. Whatever method you choose, make sure to personalize your welcome email.

Generally, users expect immediate confirmation when they sign up for something; when they don’t get it, they think that something is wrong. Be sure your first impression is a good one and let them know that you received their request.

If you have a service or product that needs a little explaining or requires a next step to get started, use your welcome email to give them a few tips on how to get there.

Develop Valuable Content

All of your efforts detailed above will be for naught if you don’t have something interesting to say to your subscribers. Content is still king and you have to provide useful information if you want to stand out in the crowd.

The initial focus should be on the subject line. Although there is no exact science to composing the perfect subject line that leads to a click, a general rule of thumb is that it should be no more than 50 characters. No matter the length, write a subject line that captures attention and accurately reflects the content of your email. Nothing is worse for your reputation than a bait and switch, so stay true to your email content while being absolutely captivating in its introduction.

Keep your email content short and straightforward. Introductions to longer articles are fine, but emails should be just a few short paragraphs with a main call to action.

How your email looks is just as important as what it saysHow your email looks is just as important as what it says. Some may argue it’s even more important. A well-designed email will ultimately be more appealing to your subscribers, so make sure your email is responsive to accommodate all devices and don’t forget to have a text version in addition to HTML.

Before you press send, make sure that what you’re saying is something your subscriber wants to hear. Segment your email by location, demographics, and past purchase behaviour to give your subscriber the most personalised experience possible.

Create An Email Preference Centre

An email preference centre is a tool that helps you establish a healthy communication cadence with your subscribers. It provides an easy way for your subscribers to manage their email by giving them a centralised portal.

This will help you reduce unsubscribe requests, complaints and spam reports. There are many reasons why a customer may decide to unsubscribe from your list and attrition is normal. However, an email preference centre helps provide alternatives for those who may be unsubscribing for reasons that are within your control.

You really want your customers to select “manage your preferences” instead of hitting the spam button. By asking your customers how frequently they want to hear from you and about what content, you’re putting control back in their hands.

An email preference centre can help showcase the variety of your email marketing offerings and can help with segmentation strategies. They remove some of the guesswork from your email marketing campaigns. By asking subscribers about their interests and preferences, you can deliver customised campaigns, which will elicit a better response.

Email Deliverability

Getting your messages to your customers’ inboxes should be your main goal for any email campaign. 22% of email routinely goes undelivered, so you can’t afford for email acquisition practices to negatively affect your deliverability.

To maximise email deliverability, you should use strong permission practices (only send to those who have specifically opted into your email marketing), eliminate inactive emails, focus on high-value customers, test before you send and monitor your engagement rates.