Grow your subscriber base with smartphone technology

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Jeffrey Rohrs, VP, marketing research and education, ExactTarget
Jeffrey Rohrs, VP, marketing research and education, ExactTarget

One of the most critical components of any email marketing program's success is the ability to continuously attract new subscribers. It is not enough to simply post an opt-in form on your website; rather, your email acquisition strategy must take advantage of every consumer touchpoint at your disposal.

Fortunately, the rise of social media, smartphones and the mobile consumer have expanded the ways in which brands can generate new opt-in email subscribers. As you audit your own email acquisition strategy, here are three ideas to help grow your subscriber base while staying true to permission.

  • Facebook opt-in page. If you're like many brands, you've spent a considerable effort building your Facebook fan base. However, many marketers are beginning to realize one simple fact — fan communications within Facebook are limited.

To get more value from your fans, consider adding and promoting an email opt-in page to your Facebook mix. Email gives you the ability to communicate with opt-in fans on your terms and at a schedule you set. Plus, as our research found, a majority of consumers still check email far more frequently than they do Facebook and emails still generate greater sales than Facebook posts on the whole.

  • Quick response (QR) codes. With smartphones poised to overtake feature phones this year, more consumers will be armed with QR code scanners. Take a look at the physical spaces your brand commands. It could be a storefront or product packaging — all of it affords the opportunity to acquire new subscribers with the right mix of convenience and incentives.

  • Text messaging (SMS). According to ExactTarget's SFF research, text messaging remains the No. 1 activity for teens and the No. 2 activity for all consumers on their cell phones. Because texting works on both feature and smartphones, it is a channel that all of your cell phone-carrying consumers can use. Moreover, thanks to cheap, unlimited texting plans, it is increasingly a channel that consumers use without fear of unexpected fees.

Clearly, the list of innovative list growth strategies does not begin and end here. Location-based services, daily deal partnerships and point-of-sale receipts all hold additional promise for keeping your list fresh and responsive. Take a look at your brand environment with fresh eyes and a social perspective. New ways to acquire permission-based email subscribers are often only limited by our creativity.

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