Strength in Numbers: How to Use Incentives to Grow Your Email Marketing List

By jacob on November 11, 2011

Despite a collective desire from everyone with an iPhone or Blackberry to reduce the deluge of daily email, research shows that email marketing remains the highest performing and most cost-efficient activity for most organizations. While analysts tout the rise of social media, for the most part, it’s still difficult to match the kind of results we’re able to get with good old email.

At PCMS, it’s no different. Our highly refined and lovingly crafted weekly eNews continues to perform better than just about anything we do (aside from our annual subscription brochure). As such, a major goal each season is to grow our email list with new and relevant contacts. But how?

Here's what doesn’t seem to work for us:

  • Email signup sheets at concerts.  Most people who attend our concerts have already made it onto our email list, or have decided to avoid it on purpose. As such, email signup forms are lightly used.
  • Email signup form on our website.  We get 2 or 3 signups per month via our website. I’ll take ‘em, but it’s nothing to write home about.
  • Asking over the phone. When people call to order tickets, we often ask if they want to receive our emails. Would you say yes?

What does seem to work, however, is transactional signups. When people buy a ticket online, they seem pretty willing to sign up. So, how do we juice those numbers into something significant?

What we’ve found most successful is using discount offers (the steeper the discount, the better) to drive sales. We don’t tell people that what we really want is their enthusiastic involvement in our weekly eNews, but that is the main reason we decide to take a "hit" on a full priced ticket these days.

In December, we’ll once again be promoting what has become an annual celebration and overall crazy day at the office: Ten Dollar Day. Last year, this one day sale (in which we put 12 concerts on sale for just $10 per ticket, from the normal $23+), netted PCMS about $22,000 in $10 tickets. Even better, from my perspective, was the treasure chest of 600 new email address we gathered. Success!