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What Is Email Subscriber Acquisition, And Why Is It Needed Now More Than Ever?

March 18, 2020 Sarah Cavill

Consumers and brands both rely on email. In fact, 3.9 billion people around the world use email, and an eMarketer report found that, while 72% of internet users participate in social media, nearly 91% are email users. 

More importantly, with regard to digital marketing, 66% of surveyed consumers said they opt into promotional emails. For brands that want to engage with consumers using email, growing CRM databases is essential.

What Is Email Subscriber Acquisition?

Shutterstock_794355823  Subscribe Now For Our Newsletter (Flat Style Vector Illustration UI UX Design) with Text Box and Subscribe Button Template

Email subscriber acquisition is the continual creation of a database of subscribers that brands can use to deploy newsletters, promotions and other email campaigns. While there are many ways to grow subscriber bases, brands that want to significantly or consistently scale their subscriber volume often leverage email subscriber acquisition campaigns. Most email subscriber acquisition campaigns leverage websites to identify and engage with target consumers. Series of questions help website owners and brands understand website visitors and connect them with the brands seeking those buyer personas. Consumers matching pre-defined profiles are given the opportunity to opt in to specific, branded offers, for example, becoming a subscriber to the newsletter of a diaper brand.

How Targeted Can Email Subscriber Acquisition Be?

Email subscriber acquisition campaigns can be as loosely defined or as targeted as desired by a brand, with website targeting and consumer questions used to create narrower audiences. 

Subscribers are often sourced through websites where audiences who fit the email subscriber campaign target might be hanging out. For instance, opt-in subscribers for Baby Gap promotional emails might be easy to find on websites that offer content about baby health. To further narrow the audience, campaign-specific questionnaires are created. In general, consumers tire after too many questions, so shorter forms typically lead to higher volume results. However, when brands are seeking tightly defined audiences, for example, pregnant women expected to give birth within six months, customized questions can be leveraged to let brands identify and connect with just the right people.

Determining how many questions to ask can be an issue of cost (more questions typically costs more), how niche brands want to focus their email subscriber acquisition efforts and how they plan to use their email subscriber databases in the future. Broad targeting, which could include basic questions about age and gender, may be satisfactory for some campaigns. And, while narrow targeting with more questions like life-point, caring for a baby, homeownership, etc., can cause some potential subscribers to jump off before completing the form, longer forms also result in the most actionable data for future audience segmentation and message personalization. 

Targets And Goals Must Be Established For Strong Email Subscriber Acquisition Campaign Results

Shutterstock_272455511  Concept of sending e-mails from your computer

In order for email subscriber acquisition campaigns to be effective, brands must develop specific campaign parameters, including the target audiences they are seeking, the KPIs they will use to determine success and their long-term plans for their subscriber bases. Often measured email KPIs include open rates, click-through rates and unsubscribe rates.

Passing campaign performance data back to the email subscriber acquisition source is also important, as it aids in campaign optimization. Understanding which efforts result in high-quality subscribers can help scale future subscribers from that source.

What Types Of Brands Benefit From Subscriber Acquisition?

The world is a different place than it was even a week ago, and brands will be looking for ways to respectfully and helpfully maintain their relationships with consumers. The social distancing required because of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is going to drive many people online, both because they will need items normally bought in person and because they are going to be restless sitting at home. As a result, any brand with an online store or a delivery continuity plan should be consistently engaging with consumers right now.

Brands with hefty email subscriber databases can reach their customers where they are, as needed, without being intrusive. Under normal circumstances, brands with good subscriber databases that remain agile and engaged may be able to build better, deeper, more lasting relationships with their customers. In today’s current environment, strong email subscriber databases can help brands maintain consumer connections and grow by servicing the needs and wants of today’s shoppers.

Are You Looking To Increase Your Subscriber Acquisition?

Digital Media Solutions® (DMS) is the leading global martech company leveraging innovative, performance-driven brand and marketplace solutions to connect consumers and advertisers.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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