If you’ve been following the Winbox blog, you’ll know that our primary focus is ensuring that your business sends out relevant content that audiences enjoy reading and actually look forward to receiving. However, there’s little point in composing brilliant emails if you’ve got no-one to send them to, so how do you grow your contact list?

Here are nine top tips…

1) Think inside the box

The most obvious advice is to embed subscription functionality into your website. Take a look at the Winbox website, and you’ll notice a subscribe call to action on almost every page, as well as at the bottom of every blog post. We also often use light boxes and announcement bars to ensure no one misses out on joining our newsletter list.

These generate lots of interest and allow people to easily stay connected. So, if you embrace the virtues of email marketing, make sure the opt-in process is straightforward, quick and efficient.

2) Give it away

It goes without saying that your newsletter shouldn’t cost a penny, but everyone loves a bargain and the word ‘free’ is a very powerful tool. Woo potential subscribers by highlighting the fact that they can sign-up to your FREE newsletter with expert advice and/or special offers.

3) Incentivise

Following on from the previous point, if you create curiosity and give people a reason to sign up, your contact list will grow. Offer exclusive content, competitions or perhaps a free ebook to subscribers. Give people a reason to join you.

4) Teach

Another interesting approach would be to offer a tutorial guide on your particular area of expertise, with a new lesson each week. If your communications promise to be useful, interesting and inspiring, people will start investing time in you.

5) Stay true to your word

If you say you’ll deliver a weekly email, make sure you deliver a weekly email. Don’t send it sporadically, whenever it suits you. People will get into the habit of expecting to hear from you at a certain time each week, so don’t disappoint them. You may also risk looking unprofessional if you send emails out of business hours, so make sure you research the best time to communicate and schedule your output for then.

6) Forward-thinking

Encourage your readers to forward emails to friends and family. Presumably, they enjoy your content, so it stands to reason that their associates will also appreciate it. You should also add a ‘subscribe’ button within emails, allowing new readers to join up with ease.

7) Link

If your social media channels aren’t linking to your subscription form, you’re letting your audience down. Make it easy for people to click through, and regularly promote the benefits of joining the list.

8) Sign off

You probably send hundreds of professional emails each month, so shout about your  newsletter and incorporate a subscription link within your email signature. This is a great way of targeting warm leads, and making them even more invested in you.

9) Back to basics

When at a networking event or business conference, take a pen and paper along and naturally weave your newsletter into conversation. Offer to sign people up – completely free of charge! There’s nothing wrong with going old school, as long as you follow the modern advice too! Talking of modern advice, rather than a pen and paper you can also download the iPad app Enlist and iPhone app SendDesk to add subscribers directly to your list without the need for paper, and it works whether you’re online or offline.