Nurture Your Newest Readers… and Sell to Them Too

There are few nicer feelings than watching your subscriber numbers tick higher. The right people are reaching your landing your page. They’re reading your copy. They’re accepting your expertise. And they’re turning themselves into the kind of prospects you can one day convert into customers.

But those new subscribers aren’t like your other subscribers. Someone who has been on your list for a year or more already knows your content. He or she knows what you’re going to tell them. They know your products, is familiar with your offers and sees your mailings as regular part of their email-reading routine.

They already have a relationship with you.
New subscribers however, hardly know you at all. They’ve signed up because your sales copy has persuaded them that you have a solution to their problems. You want to build a relationship with them — and you want them to buy from you as quickly and as frequently as possible.

When it comes to interacting with new subscribers, there are two schools of thought.

The first says you should nurture them. Don’t give them a hard sell. Ease them in gently with valuable content. Build trust over time. Only when they’re convinced that you’re really on their side should you hit them with a hard sell email that pitches a time-limited discount.
The other school of thought says that you should strike while they’re hot. Subscribers are never going to be keener than the moment after they’ve signed up. And the reason they’ve signed up is that they’ve got a problem that needs solving now. Spend time nurturing them instead of selling to them and they’ll find their solution elsewhere.

Both those arguments make sense… which is why the best strategy is to combine them.
If subscribers are hot and ready to buy at the moment they sign up then make sure you give them a path directly to your sales page. And if you want to build a relationship with them so that they see you as a long term solution to their problems, then give them information that they find helpful and valuable.
Do both at the same time by delivering solid information that contains a soft sell.
If you persuade subscribers to sign up by offering them an email course, for example, then make sure that that course includes banner ads for a product and embedded links that take readers to a sales page. Keep it subtle so that it doesn’t disturb the content, but make sure it’s there so that those hot new leads never have trouble giving you their credit card details.

Make sure, too, that you track the results. While it’s true that your new subscribers don’t yet know you, it’s also true that you don’t know them. As you continue to send emails to them, you want to know which subjects are most likely to generate clickthroughs, which kinds of call-to-action tend to prompt their responses — and whether they’re going to be the kind of inactive subscriber that just bloats subscriber lists.

Winning a new subscriber is just the beginning. Now you have to use your content to get to know them — and sell to them.