5 Reasons People Aren't Subscribing to Your Mailing List

6 min read

Growing your email marketing list is crucial, but new subscribers can sometimes be hard to come by. Here are 5 things that could be going wrong.

Email marketing is a valuable practice to pursue, but in order to even get started, you need a list of willing subscribers. Though your website may be popular and well-received, sometimes visitors just don't convert into eager subscribers. You might feel like you're doing everything you can to direct people to your opt-in functions, but you're simply getting no takers.

The truth is, there are a lot of things that could be affecting your sign up rate. However, any major issues can usually be identified and cleared up with a discerning eye, a little extra work, and bit of marketing knowhow.

So let's take a look at five common reasons why people might not be signing up to your mailing list.

1. You Aren't Communicating the True Value of Signing Up

Think of all of the times on other websites that you've seen a basic message like "Join our email list to receive regular updates!" Though it's clear what the desired action is and how to comply, it doesn't exactly inspire direct action. Frame the copy within your opt-in forms around how you want your readers to feel about signing up, rather than simply what you want to happen.

To give an example, which of the following do you find more enticing?

a. "Sign up for free, monthly nutrition tips, meal plans, and recipes!"
b. "Lose weight and feel great with our simple and delicious meal plans and recipes - they're fun, fast and tasty! Delivered fresh and free to your inbox every month. Want in? Sign up below!"

The copy in option "b" is obviously much more enthusiastic, whilst also conveying the tangible benefits that subscribers will receive. You need to prove that you genuinely care about giving the most valuable subscriber experience you possibly can.

2. You're Not Advertising it Enough... Or Too Much

You know that people can sign up to your mailing list - but do your readers? Growing your subscription list is a valuable element within your marketing strategy, so it rightly deserves pride of place on your website. Don't be shy about it - if subscribing to your list is going to genuinely help people, then shout it from the rooftops! Don't let your opt-in forms hide in the background - make them bright, bold and persuasive.

However, going too far down this route can also be problematic. Have you ever been on a website that overenthusiastically advertises signups to the same list over and over - sometimes multiple times within the same page? Needless to say - it's not pretty! Try to find a happy medium visibility-wise so you're not driving people away.

3. You're Not Taking Time to Test

So you've gone to the trouble of creating vibrant opt-in forms that enthuse about the tangible values of subscribing, and you've placed them at strategic places within your website. But then, you're met with nothing but silence.

The temptation could be to chalk it up as a massive failure and undo all of your good work; but chances are that you just need to tweak something - potentially quite small - to pique people's interest. Refine your subscription process by testing different copy, placement, and design options for your opt-in forms to maximise subscription potential.

If your website's content management system allows, give A/B testing a go. You can try out one or more variations in design, text, and calls to action at the same time, showing different options to different users simultaneously. This allows you to analyse the relative performance of each option and run with what gets the best results.

4. You're Not Providing Enough of an Incentive to Sign Up

Whilst out and about on the internet, you've probably come across websites that tempt you into signing up to their mailing list by offering access to a useful downloadable resource in return. These resources are called "lead magnets", and they're a great way to incentivise new subscribers.

When you're putting together your lead magnet, you need to make sure you're providing something unique and valuable. Don't just follow the crowd and provide the same kind of content with the same kind of advice that everyone in your industry is giving. Carry out market research to identify the content your website's visitors are specifically after in order to lure them in. This way, you'll give yourself the best chance at attracting new interest.

5. You're Making Subscribing a Chore

Subscribing to a mailing list should be an easy process, so you need to double check that you're making yours as hassle-free as possible. There are two major ways that you could be making subscribing difficult.

The first one is that you may be asking for too much information in order to sign up. A first name and email should normally suffice, perhaps with a couple of other fields, but if you're asking for 5 or more points of information, it starts to become a chore to fill in, and can also make your company seem a bit nosey.

You could also be turning people away by making subscribing too complicated. An ideal sign up process should go something like this:

1. The reader sees your signup form or pop over window, enters their email address, along with 1 or 2 other optional points of information.
2. The page confirms their sign up and asks them to click the link sent to their email address which will confirm subscription.
3. They access their email and click the link as requested, which takes them to a confirmation page.

If your own subscription process is more complicated than this, it may be worth reworking. Every redundant hoop that you ask people to jump through provides an opportunity to abandon the process part way through, so work to streamline it however you can.

The best course of action to take here is to simply sign up to your own mailing list, and objectively judge the average user's experience. If you personally wouldn't put that effort in to subscribe to something, it's unlikely that your readers would either.

All in all, taking an objective view of your whole subscription process is key - remember your average user experience at every turn, and provide them with the most valuable and straightforward experience possible.

When you're growing your subscriber base, you need a reliable way to keep tabs on new opt ins. Our FIVE CRM platform lets you design attractive and engaging email mailouts, and create compelling automated drip campaigns.


Try FIVE CRM, and find out the benefits of using a CRM platform for email marketing!

Michael King says...

"I can’t think of a time where a client has requested something that we weren’t able to do with FiveCRM. Unlike most systems, it has a lot of flexibility."

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Managing Director, Senior Response


“Each client, and each of their campaigns, has its own unique specifications. We essentially needed to set up mini CRMs on one platform to meet those requirements.”

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Operations Director, Team Telemarketing

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