You always want to bring in new opt-in subscribers, enough, at least, to replace the e-mail addresses lost each month (via hard bounces and unsubscribes). Hopefully you bring in more, so the list grows. Here are some tips for deeper analysis and really identifying where you can boost opt-ins.
Web Site Conversion
People visiting your Web site are natural candidates to sign up for your newsletter. How many of them do? What's considered a "good" conversion rate? Five percent conversion rate is about average, 15 percent pretty good... Know your conversion rate, but don't ever assume it's enough.
Contests and Other Incentives
Contests and incentives can significantly boost growth rate, but be sure you're getting qualified prospects, not just serial sweepstakes entrants or people looking for the freebie. Look at the e-mail opt-in rate. As a guide, consider 45 percent opt-in good.
Down the road, look at this group's unsubscribe rate. If it's significantly higher than that of your control group, you may decide the short-term boost isn't worth the long-term decline.
If you promote an e-mail newsletter on your site, basically you're advertising and recent data shows rich media ads are generating four times the click-throughs of standard ads.
Rich media ads tend to cost more. Be sure the lift justifies the cost. Ensure not just click-throughs but also subscription conversions grow.
Do you have a lot of people land on the sign-up page for your e-mail newsletter but don't complete the process? Decreasing the abandon rate is a quick way to improve list growth. Shoot for 30 percent or less abandon rate; if it is over 50 percent, you've got a real opportunity to grow your list. How do you stop people from bailing out? Request less information and remove intrusive questions are the two best places to start.
Keep At It!
There are so many factors in e-mail acquisition campaigns: offer, copy, design, placement, the sign-up page itself. Don't give up if you don't see tremendous results right away. Test different approaches to see what works. Even small increases help you move in the right direction.