I’m very fond of the saying, “People do business with people they like.” But just because we want people to like us, doesn’t mean we cannot play hardball every now and again. The words “passive” and “marketing” do not sit well together for companies ambitious for growth. It’s time to get more aggressive in your approach to email marketing and this starts with your subscription forms.

Q: When was the last time you actually clicked on a link in a navigation bar or a button on a website promising a newsletter?

A: Probably never.

If you are currently hiding your email subscription forms behind a “newsletter” button on your homepage, you are missing a huge opportunity to capture new email addresses and start conversations that lead to sales.

When someone lands on your website, you need to fight for conversions. In the perfect world, this will be a sale. This is because a sale generates income and (through the collection of email data) gives you multiple opportunities to sell to your new customer again and again, creating something called Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). If you don’t make a sale, you must try your hardest to, at the very least win an email subscription, giving you a fighting chance of a return visit and a future purchase.

This means four things:

  1.  Your email subscription forms need to be in prominent positions on every single page of your website and other online real estate such as your corporate blog. Try experimenting with multiple positions or pop-up campaigns to drive subscriptions.
  2. Subscription forms should be short and sweet. You may put people off subscribing by asking for too much information. There is no such thing as too many leads. Your email marketing analytics data will show you who your most engaged subscribers are, enabling you to identify your hottest leads.
  3. You need to offer a call to action much stronger than the promise of a free newsletter. Content-led initiatives such as whitepapers, ebooks, videos or webinars are great mechanisms for driving subscriptions.
  4. Email subscription forms work best when they add names to relevant lists. This means creating multiple forms which will automatically segment your subscribers based on the product/service page of your website.

If you are concerned that taking a more aggressive approach to collecting customer data might actually put customers off, consider the following:

If you are investing time, effort, and money in attracting people to your website and you are not making any effort to engage with them via email marketing, there is a good chance you will never see a positive return on your marketing costs.

Isn’t it time you got a little more aggressive in your approach to email subscriptions?

This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.