How I Got 20 People To Sign Up For Our Email List In Less Than 48 hours

This post originally appeared on Arts Hacker. Head over there for lots of arts administration tips and tricks.

It has always been a bit of a struggle for me to get large numbers of sign-ups for our email list through our website. I never took it personally because I understand that people’s inboxes are full already before they get my engaging and super interesting emails about Palm Beach Opera.

However, we’ve moved to a new email marketing system (dotmailer which I LOVE) which has really powerful automation features and we needed to get some new people on our list.

I know that a very popular tactic with big brands and e-commerce sites is to offer a discount when people sign up. Because of the limitations of our ticketing system, we’re not able to generate unique offer codes like that and I’m sure that people would use the same offer code over and over again if they could. So, as an alternative, we decided to do a monthly drawing for a $50 gift certificate. Only people who have newly signed up for our list are eligible and the gift certificate will only be applicable for one season at a time.

I added that to our sidebar widget but it didn’t really get much action:

So I started looking for a solution that would make it more prominent without being a stereotypical pop-up box. We had a pop up on our website for email signups previously and we found that it was really just annoying people. We only got a handful of signups and most people were just closing it out right away.

I did a quick Google search and found a company that was new to me: Privy. They have a free plan so I signed up to try it out. It took me about 5 minutes to install it on our WordPress site, and maybe another 10 to set up the widget. It is really simple and easy to use. The great thing about Privy is that you can do a pop-up but you can also do what we currently have running which is a tab at the top of our website:

In less than 48 hours, we got 22 signups, with 11 in the first 24 hours. In the middle of the summer. Six months away from our first mainstage opera. With no online ads running to drive traffic to our site. This is way more than we would usually get through our website form and for no additional cost (we’re still using the free plan).

If you need more functionality, Privy does have some paid plans and a 50% nonprofit discount. There are also some other providers out there like WisePops that offer some more sophisticated pop-up functionality for a monthly fee. However, for us, the free version of Privy is performing great.

What are some creative ways you have increased signups for your email list? Please share them in the comments below!

Keynote Speaker. Communications Strategist. Arts Marketer. Native Pittsburgher. WVU Mountaineer. Trekkie. INTJ. Mom.

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