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HOW TO: get more email subscribers

1. Choose your fields carefully
Studies show that the more required fields included in a form, the higher the abandonment rate during the subscription process. Particularly if the required fields don't appear to relate to fulfilling their simple request to receive your newsletter. Unless you have specific reasons why you need each piece of information from a subscriber and are ready to accept a lower subscribe rate, then a good rule of thumb is to keep your form to no more than five to seven fields (not all of them required) for the visitor to fill out.

2. Have a good description
Tell people very specifically what they're signing up to. Go for the WIFM factor - which stands for "what's In It For Me?" Don't be vague or hedge your bets in the hopes that everyone will sign up. Descriptions such as "sign up to get company news" or "hear about our products" won't inspire anyone. What you want to do is encourage people to sign up who are going to be very interested in your products and services; they're the ones most likely to be active and engaged with your emails. For example, here's what I include in my newsletter's subscribe box: "The Business of Email is a free, monthly email newsletter offering relevant news, marketing articles and best practice tips for permission based email marketing."

3. Have a privacy policy
Have a link to your privacy policy regarding your email marketing activities. It's EU legislation, but even more importantly is best practice. Telling people clearly what you'll do with your data is part of the trust building process with subscribers.