With so many opt-in email lists out there, you really need to come up with a hook to attractive subscribers. It needs to have something special or different. It could be something you offer inside every newsletter issue or the hook could be a unique incentive that website visitors can take advantage of immediately when they sign up.
Here are 3 ideas you can use for your own sites, or use as inspiration to get you thinking a little outside of the box:
1. Build an Opt-in Email List by Creating a Private Members Only Site or Section
Create a private website that let people sign up to get free or immediate access. For example, you could say, "Subscribe to our free e-news and get free access to our private membership website!" You can choose to have them receive a username and password every time they want to log in, or you can just provide a link to the site in your welcome email.
Some of the things you can include inside are reports, software, articles, eBooks, etc. Inside the site, you can advertise your affiliate programs, as well. You can follow-up to let them know about updates, new products they might be interested in, the latest news in your industry, etc.
2. Build an Opt-in Email List By Giving Subscribers a Free, Tangible Gift
Instead of offering a free eBook like most everybody else, promise to give your visitors something they can hold in their hands if they give you their contact information.
For example, you could say "Subscribe today and get our new report mailed to you via First Class." When You could print out your report on standard 8 x 11 sheets of paper, fold it up, put it inside an envelope, and mail it off.
You can offer a tips booklet and mail it to new subscribers. Or you can create your own CD full of information targeted toward your market and mail that. If you have a wholesale supply of a product of interest to your subscribers, then you can send one to each new subscriber. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
Follow-up possibilities include articles (your own or written by others), tips you pick up, news in your niche, reviews of products or other interested, related websites, etc.
3. Build an Opt-in Email List Through a Contest or Sweepstakes
Hold a free contest on your website where they must give their contact information, including their email address, to enter. Make the prize something that your niche market will be interested in. Otherwise, they'll never want to enter.
If you already have an e-zine up and running, you could offer free automatic entry for new subscribers. For example, you could say, "Subscribe to our free newsletter and get automatic entry into our contest." You'll also want to retroactively include current subscribers.
You can announce the winner(s) at the end, as well as send any new contest announcements or product announcements. Or you can make this an ongoing contest, where you give away the same thing to one (or more) lucky people every month. That way you'll entice many subscribers to stay on your list.
Once again, you can follow-up with tips, articles, news, new product announcements, or just an announcement of each monthly winner(s). Hopefully, now I've inspired you to take some action or encouraged ideas of your own with these tips. Any idea, the more popular it gets, requires you to think outside the box every now and then to be effective.
Building an opt-in email list is no different and with newsletters and e-zines saturating the Internet day by day, you need to offer something a little different to make them want to sign up to yours or you'll just end up getting left behind.