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7 Reasons People Subscribe to Email Newsletters

We often talk about the content of your emails and how to use it. Today let’s have a closer look at the reasons people signup for your email newsletter in the first place.

After all, if you don’t get people to sign up, there is no reason to worry about the content.

Some of these you’ll recognize, but hopefully there are a few surprises. It’s good to bookmark a post like this and save it as a reminder anytime you’re under pressure to increase those email addresses on your list.

1) Entertainment

Email Sign-up Examples
NBA fans can signup and register to get updates on their favorite sport.

People have things that entertain them. It could be a movie or a TV show. It could be celebrity gossip or the NFL. Everybody has something they pay attention to for entertainment and usually those people subscribe to some kind of email program that fills the entertainment void.

Entertainment is a way you can get people to sign up for your newsletter. Maybe you could do a series of videos that are funny and entertaining. Maybe you have a design company that does entertaining images or illustrations every couple weeks.

There are lots of ways to be entertaining, but it’s not for every business. If you are in the entertainment business make sure you focus on that fact in your email signup call to action.

2) Useful Tips

People will signup for emails when they have some knowledge to gain. This is actually one of the big reasons people subscribe to B2B email newsletters.

If your business has helpful information to share, you can really build a strong email list. Be sure to communicate the value of your email newsletter and maybe even bundle and use it as a whitepaper / video series or other sign-up incentive. You can use pop-ups and list building tools to bring even more attention to it.

An example would be the celebrity cooks you see on The Food Channel. Those stars can share quick recipes or even kitchen tips in an email newsletter. From there they can sell their complete cookbooks or instructional books or even branded cooking equipment.

3) Saves Time

Email Signup Examples
Longreads curates the best long-form stories nearly every day.

This is another area where B2Bs can get signups.

Some B2Bs create weekly newsletters that share interesting industry information. LinkedIn has been doing this the last couple of years. They share original content and other stories from around the professional world.

This is curation and it saves people time. People signup for curated email lists because they don’t have to spend time finding interesting articles.

4) Friend Recommendation

Sometimes it comes down to a simple endorsement from a friend. You’ve seen those refer a friend notices and social share options at the bottom of email newsletters before.

If the content in your email is interesting enough people will share it with their friends. You’ll get coverage on blogs and in other media and word will spread.

You can help things along by encouraging this referral process, but you need to start with great email content that follows the other items on this list.

5) Saves Money

This is a big one for retailers. People will signup for your email list if they know you’re sending out exclusive offers and promotions.

There are a segment of consumers that need discounts to purchase. Even if those discounts are perceived they need to know they’re saving money every time they purchased.

6) Updated Information

zappos email sign up
Zappos has a way of getting email addresses even when they don’t have shoes in stock.

You’ll see this on occasion in the B2B and B2C world.

Zappos and other retailers do this on some product pages. Say Zappos runs out of a certain shoe. They may leave the product page up so if someone finds the page they can signup for updates if the shoe comes back in stock.

This can work for B2Bs as well. Maybe the company isn’t accepting new clients at this time, but if the visitor signs up for updates they’ll be the first two know.

7) Client

This one is basic. Anytime you make a purchase with a company they put you on the list. You start getting the email updates.

One area where some B2Bs don’t take advantage is adding their clients to a list. The sales process isn’t typically purely electronic so they simply don’t add those clients to the email newsletter.

Be sure to add clients to your list. Then send them content they want to share with their peers. You could gain some additional subscribers.


These were a few of the basic reasons people signup for email newsletters. Each covers a few more specific things.

Hopefully this post will help you increase the number of subscribers you have on your list.

Email remains a key way to bring sales to your company. Nearly every Internet user has an email address and they check it quite frequently.

Scott Hardigree
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1 Comment

  • by Jim Morton
    Posted January 28, 2013 12:49 pm 0Likes

    Great article, Scott. I’d add that people sometimes subscribe to newsletters to help them keep up with the ever-changing technological Zeitgeist. This is especially true of things such as security and the sudden, sometimes radical shifts in computers, media, software, etc.

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