boosting e-mail list signupsBoosting your e-mail signups should be a priority if you are determined to make real money online. The old saying about how the “money is in the list” is just as true today as it was years ago. In fact, it’s probably more so than ever. In spite of all the fancy ways we can do marketing, by getting messages out through social media and other means, sending good old fashioned e-mail is still the single best way to do things.
Of course, e-mail has changed over the years. I’ve had an e-mail address since I was around 12 years old (I’m going to be 40 next year – yeah, I feel old but they say that 40 is the new 30 so who knows?). Back then, I had multiple e-mail addresses because there really was no such thing as interoperability between different addresses. I had a CompuServe address and a GENie address and even at one time, a Prodigy address.
Today, simply sending out any old e-mail to your customers isn’t going to cut it. Your e-mails need to be sophisticated and worth looking at. But let’s say that you have that covered – you know to send out slick e-mails with good material which is actually useful to your customers.
Now what? After all, the old adage about building a better mousetrap isn’t true in the Internet age. Today, it’s who builds a better marketing campaign around their mousetrap. I’ve been doing some research and found 10 really great ideas to share with you on how to make your e-mail lists pop and get more people signing up. Here’s what you need to know:

Don’t Offer a Newsletter. Offer a Magazine

Ever notice how every guy and his brother has an “info packed newsletter” they are just dying to offer you for free? Some of them may even be pretty good (the one we send out here at QuantumSEO Labs for example). The trouble is, too many people see this and groan – another waste of time e-mail list where I’ll get “newsletters” about the latest junk product they want to sell me.
But what if instead of offering yet another “newsletter,” you offered a “magazine?” It’s not nearly as hard as it may sound by the way. Your “magazine” doesn’t have to be 50 pages with original stories and images. You could easily put together a magazine once a month with one or two original articles, maybe one or two good PLR pieces and then a couple of pieces from article directories.
You can even find pictures to include in your magazine by using a free service on EveryStockPhoto. Oh and as for layout, it’s relatively easy to do it using Microsoft Word. Or you can hire a pro to do the job for you (by the way, I offer this service for anyone interested).
Now, is this more work than just sending out a single item e-mail once a week? You bet it is. But is it worth it? You bet it is. Ultimately, if you can boost both your e-mail signups and your retention of clients by a significant number through this, the extra work is worth it. Plus, there’s no reason that you can’t do your magazine as a monthly instead of weekly publication. When it looks slick, people will look forward to getting it each month.

Offer a Free Tool or Software

E-mail signups are so blasé. They’re old fashioned and everybody has them. However, there are other ways to grab people to sign up for your e-mail list. One of my favorite methods for doing is to use a tool or piece of software which will allow you to grab people’s e-mail address. In essence, people will download the software and then, built right into the software, it requires you to sign up to use it.
This kind of method actually grabs thousands more e-mail addresses than anything else simply because people are conditioned to actually provide their e-mail when setting up a piece of software. It’s the perfect way to grab people’s e-mail addresses. Of course, you do need to ensure that you have some kind of software program or tool which people actually would want to give away their e-mail address to use.
Also, it’s important that you ask for the e-mail address after people download and start setting up the software. Don’t ask them to give their e-mail address in order to get the software. That’s no different than giving away a free gift.
By actually embedding the request in the software, you are much more likely to grab signups. Plus, you can also spread the software far and wide to download services in order to increase still further the number of people who will sign up to your mailing list.
Now as far as getting the software made, you can either buy any number of commercially available tools or you can just go to a site like Elance in order to hire someone to make something for you at a relatively low cost.

Use a Custom QR Code

The odds are that you’ve seen them somewhere – advertisements on billboards often have QR codes which are designed to allow people to download some free item or get a coupon in exchange for signing up. However, as with many things, these tend to be a bit blasé. Everyone has QR codes and they are so 2008.
Instead, consider using a custom QR code. In essence, these kinds of codes embed a graphic image inside of the QR code in order to attract more attention. The way they work is by taking advantage of QR codes’ error redundancy.
The design for QR codes means that even if they are not complete, they’ll often work just fine. This allows skillful graphic artists to create a QR code, change the color of it and then embed some kind of a cool graphic (your logo for example) in the code. Instantly, your QR code becomes unique and interesting, allowing you to improve the odds of getting e-mail signups for your list.
You can find software programs which will make these automatically but I suggest that if you want one that really looks good, you get a pro to make them for you. A professional graphic artist can make the difference in a custom QR code which just looks nice or one that truly pops.

Keep Asking

First of all, do not put a sign up sheet which pops up the second you visit the site. Let people visit for a bit and then ask them to sign up for your e-mail list with one of those pop ups. This will ensure that you aren’t annoying people who just dropped by before they ever get to see what it is that you have for sale at your website.
However, at the same time, you should have sign up options in several places. Include a sign up box on the sidebar as well as having a pop up which lets people sign up. Don’t be “in your face” about them but do keep them in lots of different places. This will allow you to grab people who are interested but who didn’t want to be bothered by your opening pop up just then.
By the way, you may also want to stick a sign up form into your articles themselves so that they get noticed. People do tend to be somewhat ad blind which means that you need to put your ads into places where people are much more likely to notice them in order to grab some more e-mail addresses.
Oh and don’t be afraid to make your sign up noticeable without being flashy. In other words, some graphics are fine but for the love of all that’s holy, don’t go putting in flashing text or something like that. You’ll just annoy people and they’ll want to run in the opposite direction from your website,

Be Careful about Your Signup Button

I’ve written about this in various places in the past but it’s always worth repeating because so many people make the same mistake over and over again. Too many people leave the signup button with the word “submit” on it. If you take a quick gander at the dictionary though you can see why this is such a horrible idea:
I mean seriously, do you want your customers to associate you with something that sounds like slavery? Instead, consider changing the text of your signup button to something fun like “give me free stuff.” Or even “sign up.” But never put down something like submit which just has some terrible connotations even if not everyone knows what it is.
By the way, even though some people may not realize that the word submit is in fact something very negative, it doesn’t really make a difference. The fact remains that you want to stand out from the crowd. By having something a little more interesting for your signup button, you are more likely to grab customers who are interested in signing up.

Don’t be Too Nosy

This is another thing I’ve written about before but it’s definitely worth mentioning it again. I get wanting to gather as much information as you possibly can from your customers so that you can better target your e-mails. The thing is, people see these kinds of requests as being very intrusive. This means that you are less likely to grab good signups for your list.
Remember that you don’t need to know someone’s birthday in order to send them your free newsletter (or magazine as I mentioned above). On the other hand, if you want to grab more information, make your offer something that does require that information. For example, if you want a physical address, offer something that needs to be mailed.
Even better, consider offering something which you charge a token amount for. Even just 50 cents or a dollar works. By doing this, you’ll avoid the freebie seekers and also get that extra information without sounding like you are trying too hard to grab extra information which you don’t really “need.”

Let Your Customers Tell Their Friends

When you send out a thank you e-mail (and by the way, you are sending out a thank you e-mail right? If not, you should be doing so and it should actually include their name instead of just being a total form letter), consider sending out a note allowing your customers to tell their friends on social media.
You can for example include plenty of buttons which can be used to share what your customers just signed up for by sharing on Twitter, Facebook and others. It also helps to offer these customers something extra in exchange for agreeing to share your deal with their friends. Even a 10% off coupon can often be a good inducement to get people to share what you have to offer with their friends.

Don’t Make People Jump through Hoops

You know what I’m talking about – instead of putting your signup page on a separate page and including a link to it, have the actual signup form directly on the front page or in the pop up. The fact is that the more steps you make your customers jump through in order to sign up for ypur e-mail list, the more likely they are to simply give up and walk away. Make it as simple and painless as possible and they’ll be much more likely to sign up.

Tell People Their Privacy Will Be Respected

Be sure to put up a privacy statement which everyone can easily access on your site. Don’t be afraid to use a form letter and ensure that you tell people exactly what you intend to do with their information. The more detail you go into, the more likely you are to get people to sign up. Quite honestly, if you are honest that you may sell the list, you’re still more likely to get signups than if you were to simply forget about your privacy statement and or if you try to hide that fact in dense legalese.

Keep Testing

Finally, split testing is the single best way to ensure that you get the maximum number of signups. There are WordPress plugins which will allow you to split test by putting different versions of your squeeze page or pop up page onto the same site. This will allow you to track who is signing up with which squeeze page and fine tune it to maximize your signups.