Expanding your subscriber base during the holiday season requires a synthesis of creativity, user-friendliness, and data-driven strategizing.
That said, the way you look at your goal can make a huge difference in how you work toward it. We propose that instead of aiming to just “increase” subscribers, focus on how you can amplify your offerings and go out of your way to connect with your demographic. The strategies will remain the same; only the motivation will shift.
Newsletters fundamentally serve as builders of relationships. With that in mind, let’s explore how you can kindle lasting relationships with your audience this holiday season.
Create and Promote Seasonal Content
The first step is to craft unmissable seasonal content. For that, you need to gauge the mood of your audience during the peak season.
Now it’s not enough to know that consumers are in a festive mood and are expecting brands to act in a certain way. Anyone can tell you that. You want to conduct extensive market research and actually feel the pulse of the people.
That done, you want to tease potential subscribers on social media platforms by offering sneak peeks into subscriber-only gift guides, holiday offers, seasonal videos, newsletter excerpts, infographics, etc. This may be called value teasing.
Implement A User-friendly Signup Process
It’s common for retail stores to inspect their entrance doors during busy shopping events or holiday sales. This includes the use of electronic door counters and the implementation of safety protocols to guarantee smooth customer entry, emphasizing the importance of accessibility.
Similarly, implementing a frictionless signup process is critical for assimilating new subscribers into your contact list. This involves:
- Simplifying signup forms: Ask for essential information and use auto-fill options. Here’s how the GhostHunter Store does it.
- Mobile optimization: Ensure your signup form is mobile-responsive. Below is an illustration of the mobile-optimized sign up form on Nike.
- Offering social sign-ins: Allow people to sign up using their preferred social media accounts. Here is an example from Adidas.
- Providing incentives: Offer a discount or a free downloadable resource in exchange for signing up. Here’s how Bonobos does it.
Promote Subscription on High-traffic Pages
Ideally, you want to feature newsletter signups on your home page and landing pages. However, subscription placement also depends on what kind of a brand you are and which of your pages generate the most traffic.
If you are an ecommerce brand, you may want a signup form on your product page(s). Some brands tend to include a signup form toward the end of a product recommendation quiz. A notable example would be Warby Parker.
If you have dedicated landing pages to promote holiday events or offers, you want to feature a signup form on those pages in order to capture users who may be interested in your seasonal offers.
Including a subscription form on your blog may not work if your posts lack popularity.
Use Exit-intent Pop-ups
Exit-intent popups are a great way to capture visitors just as they are about to leave your website. (Pop-ups capitalize on the concept of bounded rationality, where decision-making is constrained by cognitive limitations.) For the holiday season, you want to customize these pop-ups to encourage sign-ups.
At this juncture, design and evoking a sense of urgency assume paramount importance. Keep the design festive and engaging to capture the holiday spirit. You want to create a visually appealing experience. Craft compelling copy for your holiday exclusives by using negative triggers. In these examples, the bolded words/phrases act as triggers:
- “Avoid Missing Out on Festive Surprises – Sign Up for Our Holiday Newsletter”
- “Say ‘No’ to Missing Exclusive Holiday Offers – Join Our Newsletter Now!”
- “Prevent Holiday FOMO – Stay in the Loop with Our Newsletter!”
- “Hurry, Before You Miss Our Seasonal Secrets – Subscribe Today!”
- “Don’t Get Left in the Cold – Connect with Our Holiday Newsletter!”
- “Act Now to Avoid Missing Out on Merry Moments – Subscribe Today!”
- “Say Goodbye to Gift-Giving Guesswork – Get Our Holiday Newsletter!”
Organize Holiday-themed Contests and Giveaways
Running a holiday-themed contest in the peak season can be very effective— as long as it is executed thoughtfully. There is no dearth of ideas as such. Just reflecting on your brand identity can give you a lot of ideas for contests and giveaways. What truly matters is the implementation.
The famous “scarcity principle,” one of Robert Cialdini’s principles of influence, suggests that people are more drawn toward things that are perceived as scarce.
Why? Scarcity tends to increase the perceived value of something. This is also the secret behind exclusive content which confers a sense of belonging to a select group. This is a particularly rewarding experience and acts as an intrinsic motivation. You want to use this principle to attract new subscribers.
To participate in your contest, users will be required to submit their email addresses. This is how you capture valuable leads. To maximize participation, promote your contest across marketing channels, including email, social media, and your website.
Leverage Social Proof and Trust Signals
Did you know that the mirror reflects the left hand as the right hand because the left hand saw the right hand appearing as the left hand in the mirror, but not vice-versa?
Just kidding! 🤪 However, the essence of the idea remains: individuals often take cues from others’ behavior. This is prominent especially in the holiday season. So here are some of the ways you can leverage social proof to reel in new subscribers:
- Display a live count of subscribers on your website, creating a sense of urgency to join the community.
- Consider running a countdown campaign to the holiday, while highlighting the growing number of subscribers per diem.
- Share stories of how your newsletter has positively impacted the holiday experience of subscribers.
- Collaborate with popular influencers in your niche who can vouch for the value of your email newsletter.
- Consider giving achievement badges to long-term subscribers, then promote it on social media. (Remember value-teasing?)
- Offer teasers from exclusive behind-the-scenes content related to your holiday newsletter preparations.
- Create holiday-themed leaderboards showing the most engaged subscribers or top referrers during the season. Offer them tailor-made digital tokens of appreciation.
Utilize Email Signatures and Social Media
The point is to include a subscription link or CTA in your email signatures and social media profiles. The latter is one of the simpler ways to give a boost to newsletter subscriptions, and it can yield significant organic results if even a few of your team members command a substantial following on social media.
Just make sure that your call-to-action is clear and concise. Use persuasive language to tell the recipient what you want them to do, and make it easy for them to do it.
You could also include a link to your newsletter subscription in the footer. As an illustration, HubSpot includes the link to their Hustle newsletter in every email they send.
Retarget Abandoned Carts
We’ve been exploring methods to attract subscribers from external sources. It’s worth noting that your existing contact list contains potential subscribers. You want to re-engage them by sending cart abandonment emails.
This is a common issue during the holidays. Visitors browse for gift ideas but don’t complete their purchases. But it’s an excellent opportunity to reconnect with your audience. Why? Since the trigger doesn’t start from your end, you’re now engaging out of necessity, so to speak, rather than trying to pester a few cold leads into brand loyalty.
In terms of revenue recovery, this works, especially during the holidays. In order to rake in more subscribers as well, you may add prominent subscription CTAs in your cart abandonment emails.
As previously emphasized, newsletters are designed to cultivate enduring relationships. While mastering strategies is a crucial aspect, effectively putting them into practice with the right intentions is an entirely different challenge. As you integrate the concepts outlined in this blog post into your newsletter campaign, it’s essential not to lose sight of the overarching purpose behind it: not just number-crunching, but adding value to people’s daily lives.