Email List Building the Lazy Way

Generate Theme

People seem to want to know about email list building, and how to get a big newsletter subscriber base. I have my ways. I’ll share what I know.

I sell premium WordPress themes (affiliate link) from StudioPress, because I’m a fan of the company, but also because I use them and they have served me very well. At present, I’m using the Generate theme (scroll down a little), which features a prominent email subscription link at the top of the page (see the above graphic or just click through to [chrisbrogan.com]).

This is perhaps the least customized version of a StudioPress theme I’ve ever used. Yes, Brian Gardner and team added my pretty head to my version, but beyond that, if you want what I’ve got on my site, it’ll work almost the same way out of the box. (Yes, it’s better to have a designer help you pretty it up a bit.)

But the look of the theme, while wonderful, isn’t what’s interesting. Want to see some numbers?

My Subscription Rate to My Email Newsletter

According to my stats, we’ve seen an increase of 35.41% in subscribers to my newsletter since turning on the Generate theme. Just park on that for a moment. 35 percent more people are getting my newsletter since I pushed that big graphical sign-up into the top of my site. This is huge.

If that’s not a reason to consider picking up the Generate theme, then I can’t help you.

A Bit More About My Methods

I have some other stats to share with you. My open rates.

Open Rates on Previous 4 Newsletters

35% – CB’s Next Big Deal
39% – Three Words
23% – Starting Moves Video
40% – Switch To Paper Lists

What are the industry averages? Silverpop says 22%. Epsilon says 23.8%. PR Daily says 17%.

I’m doing reasonably well, given the averages I’ve found elsewhere. How do I think I’m accomplishing this?

  1. Deliver value. Give even more than your readers would ever imagine.
  2. Encourage replies. Make your newsletter come from a real email address, not a “donotreply@pleasegoddontemailme.com” type of address.
  3. Write in a personable tone. People respond to the sense they’re talking with a person.
  4. Share useful information, not ads. The more you can help others and extract value elsewhere, the better.
  5. Be clear when you’re selling.
  6. Connect with people outside of the email on social channels. (Secret gold.)

Email Marketing Isn’t Dead; BAD Email Marketing Is Dead

I called this email list building the lazy way because to me, it’s lazy that I don’t spend mountains of time figuring out A/B testing, and I don’t work exceptionally hard on copywriting or crafting the most amazing headline ever. I have very little in the way of automation. It just doesn’t suit the Human Business Works brand.

Instead, I invest in being as personable and responsive as possible. I invest in creating more value than I capture. I invest in delivering as much quality as I can manage. That’s how I act lazy.

Check Out Generate

If you want to take a shot at building your newsletter in 2012 and beyond, check out the Generate theme from StudioPress. I’m sold on it, for sure.

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