I have an effective e-mail marketing program. Now, how to do I grow my subscription base?

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Solution: Focus on selling value, not products. You've spent months developing your e-mail newsletter, refining your approach down to perfection and building a loyal following. Here are some steps to growing—and keeping—your base of raving evangelists.

Ask visitors to sign-up on your landing page. One quick win is to place a sign-up form on your Web site's landing page. This increases visibility and sends a message that staying in touch with and connected to your customers is of top priority.

Build a compelling sign-up page. Subscribers like to know what they are getting into. A compelling sign-up page can make or break your entire campaign. Elements of an effective page include:

  1. A state-ment of purpose, explaining the benefits of receiving the e-news-letter;
  2. Testimonials from current subscribers;
  3. A link to your privacy statement;
  4. A sample of past issues.

Add "forward to a friend" functionality. E-mail marketing is viral in nature. Encourage subscribers to send your e-newsletters to friends and family by including "forward to friend" capabilities.

Leverage cross-channel opportunities. Integrate your e-newsletter in other components of your marketing mix. Potential subscribers can be mined from seminars, trade shows, advertising, promotional materials, contests, surveys and even employees.

Provide original and valuable content. No one signs up for an e-newsletter so they can get a regular dose of your latest product offerings. The most critical rule to remember is to deliver undeniable value to your readership. A healthy balance of useful and original content as opposed to simply promotion is the recipe for success. A good ratio to follow is 75% value to 25% promotion.

Ray Villares is a consultant at Acquity Group.

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