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Unusual Ways To Improve Email Newsletter Signups

January 1 2015 · Steve Benjamins

The email newsletter signup process is pretty set in stone: users fill out a sign up form, click a confirmation link and then— voila!— they’re subscribed.

But in the spaces between these steps there is room to delight and find extra value. Here’s a collection of ideas to do just that.

1. Call attention to the sign up form with animation

I got this idea from my office mate Jakub Linowski who runs Good UI. Done right, a subtle animation can be a cute (almost Pixar-like) way of calling attention to your sign up form.

An animation I used on a recent project to call attention to the sign up form.

2. Use Brian Dean’s magic autoresponder to get a 50% reply rate

Autoresponder’s are a great way to introduce yourself to subscribers after they’ve signed up. I used this autoresponder from Brian Dean to get a response rate of over 50%. (These responses are a valuable source of feedback from subscribers.)

3. Think of your unsubscribe page like a 404 page— it’s okay to use humour

It doesn’t have to be a bummer when someone unsubscribes. You can lighten the mood with a little humour. (And who knows, maybe that humour will make someone rethink whether or not they want to unsubscribe.)

Humour can also be a way to embed one final pitch to the user. When someone unsubscribes they are tired of hearing from you— so embedding your pitch in humour might be the only way to get it through. Watch Hubspot’s unsubscribe video below and notice how subtly it suggests that you can stay in touch with Hubspot through Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn:

4. Don’t let people re-subscribe

This one’s a bit crazy but Ramit Sethi does it (and he knows something about email marketing).

Basically, Ramit lets his subscribers know they won’t be able resubscribe. This makes them second guess themselves anytime they think about unsubscribing (“am I certain I don’t want these emails in the future!?”). Not letting people re-subscribe takes balls but it also might improve your retention rate.


5. Remove the double opt-in

Many email marketing services require your subscribers to click a confirmation link sent to their email to complete the sign up. Why can’t it be easier?

One way to make it easier is build a single opt-in form. You can do this with a form builder such as Formstack that lets you send data directly to services like Mailchimp.

Try removing the double opt-in.

6. Set up a real life sign up form

Chimpadeedoo from Mailchimp lets you turn tablets into real life email sign up forms.

So, if you’re salon you can set Chimpadeedoo up on your front counter. Or if you’re a coffee shop you can set it up where people wait for their lattes. Just remember to tell people why they’d want to sign up (and make it more substantial than “hear updates from us!”).

7. Add a sign up option to all your forms

Because any form that gets filled out is an opportunity to ask users to subscribe to your newsletter.

When people email me on Site Builder Report they have an option to join the newsletter.

8. Welcome new subscribers with a video

People don’t give their email address to just anybody— so when they sign up for your newsletter, they’re trusting you. One way to reciprocate that trust is through a personal welcome video. Litmus does a great job of this by including a video introduction immediately after you sign up:

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