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How to grow your email subscribers

by team Holly & Co

Is it still worth growing your mailing list? Are emails still relevant even though they feel old-fashioned in contrast with the fast-paced and ever-changing social media space? The quick and simple answer is yes – it’s not just about Instagram Reels, LIVEs and TikToks. It might feel like people’s inboxes and concentration spans have reached saturation point – and we’re being told (surprise, surprise, by the apps themselves) that consumers just want to scroll through quick, easily digestible video content on social media. But in a survey last year, 49% of people said they wanted to hear from their favourite brands on a weekly basis. So, get your email marketing right, and you will build a dedicated following that actively looks out for the arrival of your newsletters and regular updates.

Many businesses focus much of their time on Instagram. There was an era when it offered an instant way to connect and allowed us to see the satisfyingly immediate effect of our efforts when the number of followers, or post likes, increased. But in the last year, this has drastically changed. What once worked on the platform, now doesn’t – and with the arrival of TikTok, Instagram is churning out new releases (that we’re all supposed to be using) at an alarming rate. It’s no wonder so many are struggling to keep up with it and feeling deflated.

This is why growing audiences in more than one channel (so that you’re not overly reliant on one) is so important. An interesting question to ask yourself is ‘Where would my business be if Instagram shut down tomorrow?’ It happens (and has happened to members of our co-mmunity). If that thought makes you panic, it’s time to start thinking about other bases, and nurturing your mailing list is a great place to start. But how do you go about it? Read on to understand all the things you should think about…

Make your emails matter

The main thing you need to think about is what you can offer people via email that is really worth them giving you their email address? But importantly it needs to interest them both at sign up and ongoing. You can give customers a sign-up discount initially, but you risk them signing up for this and then immediately unsubscribing or never reading another email. So think about why people will continue to read your emails. Give them something they can’t get anywhere else, that they can’t get through your social channels. Think of it a bit like a members’ club – your biggest fans need rewarding. Below are some of the things you could consider giving your subscribers:

  • First to know about new products, drops and collaborations 
  • Early access to sales 
  • Exclusive subscriber-only content
  • Exclusive competitions and offers 
  • Curated content: content that may appear elsewhere but not all in one place

The main thing you need to think about is what you can offer people via email that is really worth them giving you their email address? But importantly it needs to interest them both at sign up and ongoing.

How many emails should I send?

Before pushing ahead on encouraging sign-ups, it’s good to think about frequency of emails and to make sure that you can schedule the time for it. Plan how often you can produce emails that really deliver against your sign-up promise.

  • It’s worth making an email content plan so you know roughly what you’ll be writing about or sharing each time (whether than be weekly, monthly etc). It can be a plan that’s subject to change but plot it on a calendar, so you have a clear idea in your head of what’s coming up. 
  • If you’re stuck for ideas, you can mail out as and when you have something to say, while you build up your mailing list. This should be temporary though – regularity is key in having customers look out for your updates. 
  • Looking at the data on how many have opened it and what they have clicked on, which will give you more confidence about what content is of interest. The same applies if you already have an email – look at your figures and decide what you can do to offer a new and improved style of communicating. 

Now shout about it!

Once you’ve worked out what you can offer via email, think about how and where you’re going to tell people about it – and keep doing it. 

  • Always offer visitors to your website the chance to sign up for your newsletters. You can have a sign-up box on the landing page, but a pop-up window is also a good idea so that people can’t miss it. Be sure to mention all the perks in the pop-up copy, making it sound as enticing as it really is! 
  • If you have an e-commerce site, you should have an opt-in at checkout. Don’t forget that with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation which protects customers’ rights to their data and therefore their privacy), you have to allow people to opt in, you can’t simply ask people to opt out i.e. ‘check this box if you don’t want to receive our emails’. Never use people’s email addresses unless they’ve agreed to be part of the mailing list. 
  • Remind people on your social media accounts why they should sign up. Use both your Instagram grid and Stories to share shots of what your email looks like and why it’s worth signing up. Make it relevant, for example If a new product collection is coming, encourage followers to sign up so they hear when it drops first. 
  • Your packaging offers a great opportunity to let customers know about exclusive email-subscriber content and offers. You could create an attractive advice slip, which could itself be Instagram-able. 
  • If you have a bricks and mortar shop, consider a QR code near the shelf edge or at the till. Again, make your signage attractive and think about why people would sign up in the moment. 

Don’t forget, word-of-mouth marketing is the best marketing, so be bold in asking people to share your email if they liked it.

The main thing is to keep talking about it across all your touchpoints with your customers. Don’t forget, word-of-mouth marketing is the best marketing, so be bold in asking people to share your email if they liked it.   

You need to really believe in your email marketing and what it offers, so that you feel proud enough to talk about it whenever you talk about your business or when people want to find out more. So what are you waiting for? Get scribbling, you might be surprised by the results! …And if you haven’t already sign up to our email and see what we do! 

Key takeaways:

1. Make your customers feel special: Keep offering subscribers access to content, treats and offers that they can’t get anywhere else. It doesn’t have to be a huge offering every time, it’s the sense of exclusivity that’s important.  

2. Quality over quantity: Be realistic about the frequency with which you can send emails. It might be every week, every month or maybe every quarter. Choose whatever works for you and the rhythm of your work but try and stick with the regularity. 

3. Shout about it: Tell people about your email everywhere that you can, after all, if they don’t know about it they can’t sign up! Think about all the places you connect with your customers and how you can weave in mentioning your email.

Images: ‘Per my last email’ – Ellucy Stitches, ‘Spam’ – Lucy Sparrow, founder of Sew Your Soul

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