After an initial burst of enthusiasm many of us who start eNewsletters do nothing to build the number of subscribers. This is dumb as it takes no more time to prepare an eNewsletter for a database of 3000 people than for a database of 300 though you suddenly have 10 times more opportunity. Here’s some advice on growing your database:
1. Export all the names with email addresses from your fundraising software – lock the fundraising manager in a broom closet if needed.
2. Round up and upload all those stray Excel spreadsheets – events organisers can be a good source of these.
3. Add databases of staff, vollies, board members, bureaucrats, local, state and federal pollies, sponsors, clients and more. Work around fools who say this cannot / should not be done.
4. Many databases and mailing lists have no email addresses. Get a volunteer to work the phones and get the email detail. Every call will save you time and money. The volunteer should tell those she calls that you want to keep in touch at no cost and that their email is private and that they can always unsubscribe themselves with the click of a button. DO NOT let people say no.
5. Export the contents of colleagues Outlook contact books. Give colleagues the option of deleting people who they absolutely know aren’t appropriate and upload the rest.
Remember – anyone wanting to unsubscribe will be able to do so with one click so you’re not imposing too greatly on anyone. If anyone on your database kicks up a stink upon receiving your email just shrug it off and think of the hundreds who didn’t.
6. Install and deploy a pop up on your website to proposition every single visitor to your site. This is really a non-negotiable.
7. Promote subscribing in various ways. “Every new subscriber in February goes in to the draw for a…” really works. Even better would be promotions that encourage people to forward to a friend – that way you have friends marketing to friends on your behalf. NEVER underestimate what people will do for an iSomething.
8. Change your forms to ensure that you always ask for an email address.
9. Can you promote your e-newsletter to the people who call up your helpline?
10. Clipboards at the ready, have recruiters working at your events to sign on new subscribers members.
11. Promote the e-newsletter in your current printed communications.
12. Do the same on your signage, on-hold messages and on work-related emails. Think of all the emails your organisation sends – they can all have a direct link to your subscription page.
13. Have a business card muster. Every staff member pops any and all appropriate business cards into an envelope and writes their name on it. Details are duly uploaded and the staffer supplying the most new subscriber wins a prize.
14. Want to skyrocket subscriptions? Simply have your receptionist ask every caller to subscribe. If he sounds positive about it you will gain dozens of subscribers a day. Do this and you will prosper.
Remember: if you gain a massive amount of new subscribers in one job lot we recommend sending a special edition eNewsletter, explaining who you are and what your eNewsletter is all about. Emphasise the low cost to you, the benefits to them and the ability to unsubscribe if they want.