News: Blog

Publishers Call List Growth their Top Challenge, But it Doesn’t Have to Be!

Fluent’s President, Matt Conlin, and VP of Business Development, Matt Koncz, break down the path to acquisition

The publishing world is swiftly moving from print to digital. I know this. You know this. Your three-year-old probably understands it better than anyone, as he intuitively plays on an iPad with one hand and shoves Cheerios into his face with the other.

If we all agree that publishers live online, then why are so many struggling with something as fundamental as email list growth? According to a new study published by eMarketer, “list growth” tops the list of the many formidable email marketing challenges reported by publishers.

“Many publishers are just now starting to realize the value in capturing an email address as a means to drive increased engagement and, ultimately, subscription sales.  More often than not, they haven’t articulated a strong enough incentive for consumers to sign up for email lists,” said Fluent President, Matt Conlin. “Digital consumers are being asked to share personal information, but don’t clearly understand the value exchange.  So to increase opt-ins and list growth, publishers must ensure that the call to action clearly and concisely explains their offer.”

Whether it’s a newsletter sign up or a sweepstakes entry, detail the advantages consumers will see by participating. “The content you’re offering and the manner in which you present it is just as important as the opt-ins’ placement on the page,” said Conlin.

Don’t worry publishers, we’re not just going to call you out on your problems. This is a safe space and we’re here to help. Check out our three tips to jump start your email list growth for 2015:

  1.  Ensure your onsite call to action doesn’t affect the user experience: Clearly state the value exchange that customers will receive by sharing their information. Maybe they’ll collect promotional codes for discounts and online purchases or perhaps they’re receiving exclusive content only available to email subscribers. Whatever your hook is, make sure it’s pronounced. “Readers should be so intrigued by the message that they don’t think twice about the sign up process,” said Conlin.
  2. Consider third party tools: There are a handful of email acquisition providers that have figured out the right way to build lists using more in-depth data analytics and ad serving, sometimes generating more value than publishers might see through their organic sign-ups. These acquisition providers start by identifying interested consumers – ensuring that your advertising dollars are focused on the right people with the highest chance of becoming valuable customers and engaging with your brand long-term.
  3. Create custom content: Promotional content can be a powerful source for list growth, benefiting the advertiser, the publisher, and the consumer simultaneously.  Advertisers acquire growth through the registration process, publishers get unique offers that deliver incremental revenue, and consumers are given an opportunity to win prizes and gain access to new content.

Fluent is expanding on tip #3 by partnering with household names in the digital publication arena to build unique promotions that will drive significant list growth. Participating clients work with Fluent to develop custom sweepstakes that are aligned with the publishers’ audience interests. Sweepstakes are a unique and targeted way to build an audience around acquisition because consumers are signing up for the promotion as well as opting-in to the publishers email list.

“We’re focused on using co-branded sweepstakes as an engine for acquisition. A number of our clients are looking for more unique ways to grow their lists beyond traditional paid acquisition,” said to Fluent’s VP of Business Development, Matt Koncz. “Our solution is to create programs that drive list growth for our partners using promotions that their ideal consumer would be interested in. Best of all, they don’t have to worry about buying traffic. Our internal media buying team leverages their reach in email, display and social to bring consumers to their doorstep.”

Conlin and Koncz’s best recommendation to companies focused on email list growth in 2015 is to evaluate all options.  Run A/B tests on internal traffic, measuring engagement and revenue. Test third party vendors and have a clear understanding of your target metrics – opens, clicks, revenue and LTV. Capturing customer data, especially an email address, is the foundation of digital marketing.

Before you get started, set up some ground rules. “Establish your KPIs up front and set benchmarks,” said Koncz. “It sounds so simple, but the success of any list growth program is built on a foundation of clearly set metrics – What is a user worth to me and what is my target cost per acquisition?”

Your Greatest Marketing Challenges, Solved Get fresh up-to-date insights and content. Sign up now.