Five Missed Opportunities for Acquiring E-Mail Subscribers

  |  July 1, 2010   |  Comments

Consider these touch points - including direct mail and SMS - to win new subscribers. Second in a two-part series.

In part one, I examined four places where marketers can communicate with customers and prospects and encourage them to opt-in as e-mail subscribers. Those areas were: at point of sale; in the call center; in-store experiences; and sales calls/marketing collateral. Today, let's look at five more areas:

Direct mail: Sure, we all get bombarded by long letters with a special offer or coupons stuffed in a clear envelope, but this is missing the permission side of marketing, which also happens to be the secret sauce of any e-mail marketing juggernaut. Direct mail can be a great bridge to costly, untargeted (and unsolicited) messages to a far more cost effective, targeted, and permission-based marketing channel.

Remember, your names on direct mail are just lists; people that opt in to your company have given you permission. So, it's worth the extra step in transitioning potential and/or existing customers to that side of the marketing fence. Unfortunately, what may prevent this in many companies is politics, lack of cross-departmental synergies, or just not testing the concept out.

Mobile: What I call "Text2Grow" is beginning to take off, leveraging SMS's immediacy for building an e-mail program. While it may seem counterintuitive to use SMS (define) to grow your e-mail list, it's not. Most consumers may be texting with their friends these days, but not nearly as much with brands. Leveraging it for a quick consumer data entry makes sense as an option.

Don't forget your mobile site and/or smartphone applications when it comes to acquisition. I have downloaded hundreds of apps for my iPhone and iPad, yet have only seen a handful that provide me with the opportunity to engage with the brand on other platforms such as e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter. There's a very real opportunity and one that's growing fast.

Experiential marketing: So, what do you do after you walk away from a successful event-based marketing campaign (besides picking up trash and sleeping)? Whether it's a major sporting event or guerrilla-brand launch campaign in a pocket of a city, you're probably basking in the glow of a lift in brand awareness and product trials. That's all fine and well, but in the day and age of performance marketing, why not also offer your consumers that are being exposed to your product/service the ability to opt in to your e-mail program and social presence? It can really blow away your ROI (define) by stretching the exposure and relationship you began but never really built.

Catalogs and packaging promotional inserts: We've all opened a package from a favorite catalog or website and found marketing fillers (Netflix trial anyone?), but rarely do companies cross-promote their own programs and additional services and offerings. Why not have a simple card or flier placed in the package promoting ways to connect with the brand you just opened a package from? This could be your first opportunity to capture some people's attention if they are a gift recipient or maybe a pure catalog shopper. Let them know they can "Like you" on Facebook or receive more special offers via e-mail.

Most catalogs prefer you receive their e-mails instead of the more expensive and often environmentally-frustrating, thick-as-a-brick paper option. Catalogs can merchandize their products and showcase items in different ways than e-mail can, but ultimately, a customer that buys from e-mails is a far more profitable customer.

Pure e-commerce companies - don't forget your options: Even strictly e-commerce companies have relevant acquisition opportunities - some online and some offline. Call centers, transactional e-mails, customer service interactions, live chats, social networks, and any offline sponsorships and partnerships. The possibilities are significant as is the potential for monetizing these folks and generating an ROI to make any business swoon.

As is the case for capturing e-mail subscribers on your website, your real estate placement, value proposition, and execution all matter greatly when it comes to propelling your e-mail program's size on the back of your offline properties. Make it your summer plan to test out one area that's being underutilized. Your new subscribers will thank you.


Simms Jenkins

Simms Jenkins is CEO of BrightWave Marketing, North America's leading email marketing-focused digital agency. The award-winning firm specializes in elevating email marketing and digital messaging programs that drive revenue, cut costs, and build relationships. Jenkins has led BrightWave Marketing in establishing a world-class client list including Affiliated Computer Service (A Xerox Company), Chick-fil-A, Cox Business, Phillips66, Porsche, and Southern Company. The agency was recently ranked among the fastest growing private companies by Inc. Magazine.

Jenkins was awarded the prestigious AMY 2010 Marketer of the Year from the American Marketing Association for being the top agency marketer and the Email Marketer of the Year at the Tech Marketing Awards held by the Technology Association of Georgia. Jenkins is regarded as one of the leading experts in the email marketing industry and is regularly cited by the media as such and called upon by the financial community to provide market insight and consulting.

Jenkins is the author of two definitive and highly regarded books on email marketing; The New Inbox (published in April 2013 by ClickZ/Incisive Media) and The Truth About Email Marketing (published by Pearson's Financial Times Press in 2008). Jenkins is currently the Email Marketing Best Practices Columnist for ClickZ, the largest resource of interactive marketing news and commentary in the world, online or off. His industry articles have been called one of the top 21 information sources for email marketers.

He has been featured in Fortune Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Adweek, Bloomberg TV, Wired Magazine, and scores of other leading publications and media outlets. Jenkins is a regular speaker at major digital industry and general business conferences.

Additionally, Jenkins is the creator of and, the leading authorities on email and social media metrics. Prior to founding BrightWave Marketing, Jenkins headed the CRM group at Cox Interactive Media.

Jenkins serves on the eMarketing Association's Board of Advisors among other civic and professional boards. He is also a mentor at Flashpoint, a Georgia Tech-based startup accelerator program. Jenkins is a graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio and resides in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood with his wife and three children.

Follow and connect with Simms on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, The BrightWave Blog, and his book websites at and

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