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How to grow your email database

July 2021Becky

It’s estimated that your email marketing database decreases by about 22.5% every year.

It’s easy to see why – contacts change jobs, stop trading or opt out of your marketing, and before you know it, over a fifth of your database are no longer receiving your emails.

That’s why it’s so important to actively encourage sign ups and make sure that the people who are receiving it are interested in what you’ve got to say and hopefully, ready to take action.

FIG is always working to increase subscriptions to our Marketing Partner’s email databases with relevant contacts, as the more people you are targeting, the more likely you are to generate business. Of course, there are providers who sell data but, in our experience, generating your own database offers much better results as you’re talking to people who know who you are and who genuinely want to hear from you. Sending marketing emails to a cold database is never the preferred option and sometimes, can cost more than it generates.

But if you have a very small (or no) database or need to refresh yours with more up to date contacts there are things you can do to build it up and talk to the people who want to hear from you the most! It’s important to remember to follow GDPR law and only send marketing emails to people who have opted in (you can find out more about GDPR here).

1. Add CTAs (call to action) to your blog posts

Call to Action

If someone is on your website and reading one of your blogs, then they’re obviously interested in what you do or what you have to say, so capitalise on that by adding a strong call to action to keep them engaged. Adding a ‘subscribe to our newsletter’ feature to your blog pages is a great way to motivate visitors to your site to subscribe to your email marketing, just like we’ve done for our Marketing Partners, Glossop Cartons.

For better results, make it specific to the blog content if you can. For example, in our recent blog about PR, we added a call to action to download our PR whitepaper too. And in our Marketing Partner, TEL’s blog about their Digital Lab Ovens, we added a link to the product data sheet as it stands to reason that if someone is interested in the product, they may want to find out the technical specifications of it too.

2. Onsite retargeting

Onsite retargeting

If a user is spending over a specified time on your site, or visits a specific page, an unobtrusive side pop up pointing to a free guide or incentive can be very beneficial providing you get the balance right.

For example, a pop up asking each and every visitor to your website if they’d like to sign up to your newsletter would be pretty annoying and realistically, wouldn’t generate many sign-ups. However, if a return visitor lands on your blog page and stays on it for 10 seconds or more, then a subtle side pop up which doesn’t obscure their reading and asks them if they would like to sign up to your newsletter is much more likely to be well received.  

If you want to really drill down as to what works best, then A/B testing can really help. Simply create different CTAs, rules, incentives etc to pinpoint what works best.

3. Promote your sign-up page on other channels

Promote your sign-up page

Promote your sign up page everywhere you can, from your social media (like we’ve done for TEL here). Using action words such as ‘download’, ‘exclusive’, ‘access’ ‘today’ for example can also make it seem more inviting than just ‘sign up to receive yet another email’, so think carefully about how you frame it – it has to add value to generate interest.

Adding a link to your email signature is another way to encourage people to subscribe to your emailshots. Your day-to-day contacts might not be following you on social media or receiving your newsletter so this offers another opportunity to encourage people to subscribe.

The TEL email signature below has generated an average of one new contact per week to their email database which might not sound like much, but it’s 52 contacts per year just from having a link on an email signature.

TEL Email Signature

4. Be analytical


Take a look at your website’s analytics to discover the most visited pages – it’s worth adding Call to Actions on these pages as they’re getting the most traffic.

Again, be specific and unobtrusive to add value and increase sign ups to your database.

Analytics provides a wealth of information which can help you discover much more about your web visitors; from their age, gender and geographical location, to how they arrived on your site and about their behaviour once they got there. All this data can help you build up audience personas to create marketing activity more targeted to them, which means they’re more likely to engage with your company and want to subscribe to your database to hear what you have to say.

5. Add a subscribe button

Newsletter sign up

It may sound superfluous to add a subscribe button to your email database as by GDPR law, you’re not permitted to send email marketing to people who haven’t opted in to receive it…however, there’s nothing stopping them from sending it onto colleagues or acquaintances who may also be interested in what you have to say – and if they do, you want to make sure that they can subscribe to more of the same.

It doesn’t have to be anything garish, just a simple ‘Want to hear from us again? Click here to sign up to our newsletter’ link or button towards the bottom will be enough. And why at the bottom? Well, if they’ve made it to the bottom of your eshot, then they most likely will have read the whole thing, and if you’ve kept their interest that far, they’re probably quite likely to want to hear more from you and will be happy to subscribe.

6. Be interesting and invaluable

Make sure you’re creating good, relevant and useful content – if your email newsletter is dull, boring and contains information that your database doesn’t care about, then you’re going to downsize your list quicker than you can say ‘unsubscribe’.

Create well-written content about topics that your audience needs or wants to know about and offer incentives like whitepapers and webinars to encourage people to engage with you further, and make sure it’s well designed and easy to navigate to make it easy for people to find out more about you should they so want.

7. Ask

Lastly, If you don’t ask, you don’t get, so whenever you create a new contact, drop them an email asking them if they’d mind subscribing to your newsletter with a link to your sign-up page. They can always say no or opt out if they don’t want it, but if they do, then you might just have a potential customer on your hands. 

There are lots of free or inexpensive email providers around, but if you need more specialised help with your email marketing, from the copywriting, design and management, then talk to us on 01457 857111 or at [email protected]

Oh, and don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter too…

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Call us on 01457 857111 or email [email protected]