Supercharging List Growth

I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 25 years. Over these years, I’ve tried darn near everything from owning my own nightclub to having a ‘store’ on CompuServe’s Electronic Mall, to real estate development and, even, selling speakers out of the back of a van… 🙂

In 1998, we bought the domain to compliment our catalog business and have been involved with the company ever since. I’m also a New York Times bestselling author, creator of The New Media Summit and have two popular podcasts, Reinvention Radio and Beyond 8 Figures. In other words, I’ve been a bit busy.

After we launched online in 1993, email has played a huge role in my success… though, I’ll be the first to admit that understanding how to BEST leverage email marketing has taken the better part of this journey.

It’s only been somewhat recently that I’ve been able to supercharge our email list growth and conversion.

With, prior to July 2013 we were only converting at ~1% from our inbound traffic. After testing various email tools to improve our metrics , we eventually found great success working with Bounce Exchange.

The big takeaway from this process has been to become really analytical and test, test, and test again in regards to what works and what doesn’t when it comes to optimizing email conversion rates.

What we’ve found is that you have to respect the numbers. If you split test two fonts and the one you like the least performs better – you have to implement it.

You may not understand the reasoning why the numbers are shaking out against your better judgment but you have to become detached to some degree.

Our opt-in rate now hovers around 6% and it’s been a massive improvement.

What I also want to share today is just ONE of the many strategies we’ve used to build our list at to over 4 million subscribers.

What we’ve been doing is looking out into our market and seeing who’s out there in our direct or related verticals that we can partner with. This doesn’t necessarily mean our direct competitors but rather others who compliment our focus.

If you’re a masseuse you could reach out to the folks who manufacture massage tables. If you sell swimsuits find someone who’s selling sunglasses, etc.

What I love about this strategy is that I don’t see a whole lot of other people doing it. Why would they? It’s a bit of a crazy idea, right?

Most of us never look outside of our immediate market segment. There is a tendency to see these people as competitors as well, but they aren’t. A rising tide can lift all boats.

You likely have potential partners all over your supply chain.

As an example, offered a promotion on a rare bottle of bourbon that we were going to give away, and we cross-promoted with different businesses within our industry.

We partnered with a brick and mortar liquor store, a liquor magazine, and a few other well-aligned partners. We each added onto the giveaway so it was a tremendous amount of value being offered.

Each of the partners then mails their respective lists about the offer. However, and here’s the kicker, in order to be eligible for our giveaway you have to agree to enter your name and email on the co-registration page. This is where we ask our audience to agree to receive emails from all of the partners.

We’re all mailing for this promotion and in return, we’re all gaining exposure to each other’s lists.

Do we sometimes get immediate unsubscribes after the giveaway finishes? Of course we do. However, we’re always keeping more than we lose by a large margin. So, yes it’s absolutely worth it from a numbers standpoint.

This is an easy and effective technique that any business can use to ramp up your subscriber list in a short period of time. And, again, this is just one of the myriad methods we use to drive traffic and secure subscribers.


Action Steps

  1. Find partners within your vertical who are not direct competitors.
  2. Create an offer together that gives a ton of value to your audiences.
  3. Have each partner send out the offer to their list.
  4. Require your audience to agree to the co-register in order to receive the offer.


Result You Will Achieve

Email list growth by working with partners within your industry who are willing do a joint offer and co-register with you.

Mentor: Steve Olsher

Founder of Liquor, Steve Olsher is an online pioneer with a vast experience of email marketing. He has used email marketing strategies to grow his personal list to 60,000 subscribers and Liquor’s to 1.5 million.

This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.