Five Days to Increase Your Newsletter Subscriptions – Day 5

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Promotion is key to building your subscription list. The most obvious way to gain subscribers is to have a subscribe box or link on every page of your site. But do you also need a special offer? For the last day of our series, we take a look at subscription promotion.
Day 5: Subscription Promotion
Do you need to offer a contest to get people to sign up for your newsletter? If you’re a major consumer marketer you seem to from these examples:
CTV’s Insider Newsletter is currently promoting a DVD and CD contest.
Proctor and Gamble’s Home Made Simple site seems to think so, its contest mania! Click over and you could win a some cleaning products and $1000 towards a High Definition TV.


Why do you need to offer consumers contests? Because there are soooo many newsletters it’s hard to get people to try it out without a little glitz and glam. But when you are offering a contest, you need to take into account a percentage of your new subscribers shouldn’t really be on your list.
To cut down on these ‘fake’ subscribers, you can do what P&G did above, and get people to opt in via a checkbox. This is following best practices. Legally speaking* you could be up front and say that entering the contest is also signing up for your newsletter, but then you’d be offering an opt-out in your newsletter anyway, so might as well just get people who are interested in your newsletter and not risk lowering your newsletter response rates with a bad list.
Okay, but do you really need to offer a contest? Of course not!
Put your resources into solid content instead. That’s what a good B-B newsletter does – know the market and tailor content. If you are looking for a jumpstart to your newsletter subscriptions you may want to offer a contest, but get a couple editions going so you can offer a sample of the incredible information or entertainment your subscribers will receive.
You definitely need to let people know you have a newsletter. So here are a few places you can promote your newsletter with your subscribe box (the Home Made Simple site above has a good strong subscription call):
* home page
* every page of your site
* business card, email signature, letterhead, printed brochures, catalogues
* tradeshows, point of sale, speaking opportunities, presentations, demos
* part of any event, white paper, demo, contest or warranty registration form
* within the newsletter itself to capture those who received it from a friend or colleague
* co-registration with a complementary site
* submit articles to other publications or do a content sharing deal with a similar but non-competing site, just make sure inclusion of a link to your newsletter is part of the deal
* post on blogs when you have a relevant article and include a link to the full article (but do _not_ put a subscription call in your post unless it’s your own blog)
* user groups
* PR, especially if you have a topical article or an ‘expert’, you may be able to get some PR out of the article content (not the fact you have a newsletter, yawn…), and as a by-product get more subscribers
* Customer Service and Sales reps can ask customers and prospects if they would like to receive the newsletter as part of their service or sales call
* Direct mail postcard or letter to solicit subscriptions from your customer base – this is a good way to get updated and additional customer profile information
* Okay, go ahead and do an offer: white paper, free consultation, checklist, recipes, tips, trip, iPod…
Hope you enjoyed this series this week and got some useful ideas. Send me your newsletter promotion: . I’ll subscribe and read every issue. 😉
*Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and do not dispense legal advice, even so I may offer an unqualified opinion you can take or leave at your own risk.

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