On the List 🌱
How to get more subscribers.
The Broccoli Report
Friday, November 11, 2022
Time to read: 8 minutes, 7 seconds. Contains 1624 words.
On the List: How to Get More Subscribers.
Emails exist in a sweet spot between the professional and personal. Our inboxes give us a little more control when it comes to keeping ads and the stuff we actually want or need to read separate, and the absence of pop-ups and videos jumping out mid-scroll is a soothing reprieve. It’s a safe space, uncluttered by stats or likes, still relatively free of algorithmic manipulation, where we set the pace. And it’s private(ish). Trust still exists in inboxes—enough real business and important communications happen via email that it holds a legitimacy that texts or DMs can’t quite match. It’s a channel where we check in, not out—to quote Boyz II Men, it’s “not too soft, not too hard.”
That’s why email marketing works—99% of email users check their inbox every day, and some check it 20 times daily. Around 73% of millennials identify email as their preferred means of business communication, and 86% of professionals give priority to email connection. So how do you get in someone’s inbox? It’s all about the signups. Today, we’re tackling the biggest question that comes up for brands looking to bulk up their email marketing efforts: How do I get more people to sign up for my company’s newsletter?
A couple of weeks ago, I asked Broccoli Report readers to share their experiences on building an email list via Google form. One interesting response came from Riley Brain of ceramics brand Wandering Bud. The company has used Mailchimp for a while, and out of everything they’ve done to build its email list, a "pipe personality" quiz generated the most leads.
I’m not surprised—just today, I was looking for new blush and found myself in some brand’s shade-finder quiz that required an email to see your answer. (I surrendered). Brain’s quiz followed the same steps, requiring an email address to reveal a personality-matched pipe.
Brain says that growing a subscriber list means focusing funnels. “Take the time to funnel as many customers, followers, commenters, and browsers over to email as you can. Have people sign up at IRL events or get creative in providing incentives for people to sign up via social media. Email is the most reliable space to communicate with customers; there is no algorithm or censorship tied into email like there is with social media.”
(Let’s hit pause here real quick for anyone who may be about to quietly open another tab and Google “what is a funnel?” Marketers are storytellers, and they love metaphors. The funnel is a way of describing a potential customer’s journey from encountering a brand to making a purchase. Those journeys can follow different paths or funnels—for example, someone might hear about a brand from a friend, then search it. Another person might see your targeted pop-up on their social media. And a third person might see your product on a shelf. Each one has a slightly different route to buying the product. Savvy marketing folks pay close attention to this and work to develop—and take advantage—of each funnel.)
One other piece of email marketing advice gleaned from Brain: Following Intuit’s acquisition of Mailchimp, she transitioned to Flodesk just in case the acquisition would impact their tolerance for cannabis-related businesses on the platform and hasn’t had any issues.
So that’s advice from a peer, but I was curious—when it comes to building those email lists, what would an expert recommend?
Kieryn Wang is a digital and experiential marketer and the founder of ALMOSTCONSULTING, a Seattle-based marketing agency that works with a variety of cannabis and cannabis-adjacent businesses. I reached out to get her take on email marketing best practices. As a test case, I asked her to consider the hypothetical case of a company that lives or dies on email, with the added complication of slim margins and no real product to discount: The Broccoli Report.
Granted, we rely on regular email signups more literally than others—without them, I don’t get paid. But what better example for the purpose of email marketing strategy than a business that is wholly dependent on them and only virtual offerings to get potential readers’ attention?
Here is our conversation:
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