Email lists are important. Be it a B2B business or one in the B2C domain, there is no way you can do without email marketing. But that’s not the challenging part; the challenge is to grow an email list – the one with quality subscribers that are more likely to become your customers. That’s where most business marketers and bloggers go wrong!

In this post, we’re going to look at the most common mistakes made by people while working on their email list.

1. Your opt-in forms are absolutely ineffective

Here’s the thing about opt-in forms: you need to place them at the right place, with the right message or they are as good as a blink-and-miss. Make it a point to keep your opt-in forms clearly visible on all your web pages. You want to make sure that your visitor doesn’t miss out on them or doesn’t have to struggle to find ways to subscribe.

A/B test different positions of the form to understand the browsing pattern of your website visitors and optimize accordingly for better results.

2. You offer practically nothing to your audience in return

You want me to leave an email address behind so you can contact me later. Sure, but with what? You need to specify it in as many words as to what I get on sharing my contact details with you. You get another lead that you could probably pursue later, but what’s in it for me?

If you want more subscribers, take it as a thumb rule to offer something in return – something that they truly value. It could be a special coupon that can be redeemed on their first purchase, access to special resources or anything you feel is valuable to them.

For instance, here’s a campaign offering a 100% free copy on subscribing to their email list:

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3. You want too much information from them

When you’re at a store and don’t find a product you’re looking for, you would simply want to drop your number so you can be contacted when it is in-stock. But if the store manager pushes you to share your email, birth date, anniversary date, gender, address and more, you’re probably just going to walk away without even sharing that number of yours.

Yes, it is the same when it comes to converting your website visitors. The more nosey you get, the more information you want from them (which they see no value in), the lesser are the number of conversions. So focus on asking only what’s important – a name and email address should do the trick!

4. Your call-to-action is a no-show and way too common

Don’t lie, your subscribe call-to-action probably just screams ‘subscribe’ or ‘opt-in’. Just how actionable do you think these words are? It is one thing to straight cut to the chase, but why not make it a little more nudging to compel your audience to subscribe?

Experiment with your call-to-action copy often. Use copies that complement the rest of the message and what you’re offering to your audience in lieu of their email address. For instance, you could add social proof and let them know how many people like him love your newsletters; or you could simply use a copy that reinforces what he is going to gain out of it.

5. You don’t have an exit intent campaign on your website

Yes, it is not a good idea to interrupt your website visitors. But letting them go away without making an attempt to encourage interaction, is just wrong and you’re probably missing out on a lot of subscribers who were willing to share their addresses with just a slight nudge.

Implement an exit intent campaign on all your web pages that nudges a leaving visitor to subscribe to your newsletter or opt-in for notifications via email. The only thing you need to keep in mind here is highlighting what the visitor will achieve from doing so. So don’t forget to personalize your message as much as possible!

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See how Fos Sto Tunnel increased their email subscriptions by 1700% with Exit Bee 

6. You’re not marketing your content upgrades well

Or you probably don’t have any! Either ways, content upgrades are a great way to say you have more valuable information about what the reader is interested and you’re willing to share it – preferably for free, in lieu of just an email address.

It is important that you focus on creating relevant content upgrades for your readers and have a proper marketing strategy to promote them. Creating a separate landing page will help you drive leads to your website, where a visitor can download the upgrade as well as explore what your business has to offer.

7. Your approach is barely personalized

There is no way I am sharing my contact details with someone who is trying to sell me a product that I would never use. Same holds true for websites that I have absolutely no interest in – why would I give them a window to contact me on when I don’t want to read what they’re sending. Or when I am skeptical that they would send me content from all their categories, while I am just interested in one.

This is why it is important to focus on personalization. Let the visitor subscribe to what interests him the most and focus on sending out only what relates to the same. Not every visitor to your website comes looking for the same thing, and you should respect that.

8. You don’t have a way to confirm a subscription

This one’s a total bummer. There are so many times when I see 5 people subscribing to my email list and then I see what email addresses they have entered. ‘xyz@abc.com’ ‘iam@notinterested.com’ and so many more. You see these and you instantly know they’re fake and there’s no point of them taking a place in your email list.

Hence, it is important for you to incorporate a way to confirm a subscription. Send in an email to the subscriber who can then click on a link to confirm – a win win situation for both of you. You come to know that the email is genuine and he gets a confirmation that he has been successfully subscribed.

9. You ask a little too frequently

What happens when a salesperson gets you ten different t-shirts from sections you haven’t yet shown interest in? You get irritated and decide to leave even the t-shirts you shortlisted behind or simply you get bugged enough to ask the salesperson to leave. Who likes nosiness, right?

The same holds true for your website visitors. If you ask them time and again to share their email address with you, they’re just going to get irritated. The right approach is to ask them at the right time with the right message, which after they have consumed the content they came for and have half made up their mind on interacting with your site.

10. You don’t focus on converting people who interact

Ever thought how all those comments on your blog posts and web pages could be converted into subscribers? These are all people who are interested in the topic you’ve covered and would probably want to get informed the next time to publish something new. Don’t forget about them at all!

Focus on keeping these blog commenters engaged and turn them into your subscribers. Or find a way wherein a reader needs to drop their email address to comment on your post.

11. Your about us page doesn’t have an opt-in

If you think the only page that you can convert an internet user on are the feature pages, blogs, case studies and similar web pages of your business, you’re wrong. The truth is, a typical consumer of today wants to know more about the brand before they interact with them. They want to know the story behind the brand, what their vision and mission is, and what causes they are actively participating in.

This is exactly why there needs to be an about us page opt-in. Create a compelling copy about who you are and turn them into subscribers instantly!

12. You’re buying your email lists

Probably one of the biggest mistakes that a lot of businesses make, is purchasing email lists. Firstly, these email lists are full of people who most likely don’t fall under your user personas. Secondly, their contact information is probably not up-to-date. And thirdly, there could be redundant information that your business wouldn’t want to make use of.

Other than that, having an unhealthy email list isn’t going to get you anywhere with the campaign results. Low open rates, low click through rates and lower conversions – that’s not the idea, right?

Over to you

While it might seem a bit tedious, it is important for businesses to focus on engaging with their target audience, building on trust and a relationship where they won’t mind sharing their contact information. And the only way to do so, is consistently offer value to them without expecting anything in return!

No, we don’t say you don’t nudge them. But taking on the role of a salesperson is going to get you nowhere when it comes to getting subscriptions.

What other mistakes do you think marketers make while trying to grow their email list?


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Vanhishikha Bhargava

Content Marketer at Exit Bee. Most of the times found trying to create compelling copies for blogs and digital campaigns, keeping a watch on what's happening on social media or ranting on Twitter. At all other times, not found.

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