Email is the #1 way to connect with the most supporters in an optimal time frame and with a fresh message. Growing your email database provides benefits too numerous to mention. But, how?
Some people are wary of giving out their email addresses. They fear getting on a dozen lists of groups they care nothing about. They fear scammers. They fear getting too much email, even from you.
You need to earn the right to deliver content directly to the inbox of your biggest fans. And you need to respect the parameters you’ve promised, so you don’t risk loss of that trust.
On your website, make it simple to subscribe to your email list. Place the sign-up button in a prominent place, not in the footnote at the end of the newsletter or only on the Donate Now page. If visitors have found your website, they have taken a step to learn about you. They are already interested and capable of action. (What more could you want?) Jump-start the email signup with a clear call to action and a reason to sign up now.
Don’t ask for the moon. This isn’t the time to ask for all the information you will ultimately want. Make it simple and ask only for the information you need to reach them by email.
Establish trust. You may want to tell potential subscribers what you will and will not do with the information they provide. (Honor what you’ve promised.) Showing this respect makes it easier for the person to trust you. Offer the option to receive information from you by mail or by email. Show that you want to communicate with them in the way that they prefer, not the way that’s easiest for you.
If you can give a reason to provide the email, even better. A subscription to your newsletter. Offer a prize drawing once a month. Offer to send some special information.
Encourage joining your email list wherever you can. On your home page, of course, but also on requests for information, donation envelopes, petition signups, raffle entry forms—use your imagination.
Ask current subscribers to spread the word with a “forward to a friend” device. Make sure there’s a Subscribe link within your newsletter so people who do receive a forwarded copy have an easy way to sign themselves up.
A generation ago your direct mail list was your Golden Ticket. Today email is path to power.