If you’re serious about getting repeat visitors and building your brand, sending out newsletters is a vital tactic. Sometimes its hard to get started with a subscriber base, but there are tactics that work well – surveys are my favorite.
Prospect Magazine carred out a survey to rate the "world’s top 100 public intellectuals". A pretty boring subject, but it caught on with newspapers running campaigns to vote for local heroes in Indonesia, Canada, India, Spain, Bulgaria and Turkey. This story about the results on NPR really got my attention with a quote at the end:
Interviewer: "Do you have many subscribers in Turkey at this point?"
Propsect Staff Member: "We’re hoping to get a lot more. We quite cleverly made it compulsory for people who are voting to enter an email address into the system. Our email newsletter list is now made up of about 95% Turks."
How many emails did they get? "Over half a million people voted"!
Propsect Magazine is already looking forward to an even bigger harvest
of emails: "next time, don’t be surprised to see the Chinese walk the
You don’t have to play on people’s rivalries to harvest a lot of email
addresses in a survey. We’ve long used surveys to build up the
newsletter lists for our local tourism sites. People love the chance to
vote about something on their doorstep and the businesses featured in
the survey feel that they have to turn out the vote.