Some of the most popular tactics for acquiring email subscribers aren't viewed by marketers as especially effective, but they are widely used because they are easy to implement, according to a recent report by ExactTarget.

The report was based on data from a survey of 395 digital marketers predominantly from the United States. Respondents were asked to identify the tactics they use to grow their email lists and then rate how effective they consider these tactics are in producing quality subscribers.

Some of the tactics with with largest discrepancy between use and perceived effectiveness were:

  • General email sign-up forms on websites (74% use, 42% rate effective).
  • Sign-up requests specific to different sections of websites (52% use, 45% rate effective).
  • Email capture via Facebook (45% use, 31% rate effective).

Conversely, a number of tactics are not as commonly used, but were rated as highly effective. These include:

  • Paid search advertisements that drive to landing pages with email opt-ins (27% use, 50% rate effective).
  • The option to opt into email when viewing mobile app content (12% use, 59% rate effective).
  • Requiring an email address in order to register a mobile app (13% use, 55% rate effective).
  • Paid mobile ads (12% use, 41% rate effective).

Another set of tactics such as inbound call center requests and in-store loyalty program acquisition were also rated high in effectiveness, but are used by a relatively small group of marketers because they require facilities (call centers, brick-and-mortar locations) that not all brands have.

In this offline category, the tactics cited as the most effective in driving email subscriber growth were:

  • Capturing emails during inbound sales calls (23% use, 71% rate effective) and service calls (23% use, 63% rate effective).
  • Acquiring emails for loyalty program registrations in-store (18% use, 67% rate effective).
  • Sales associates requesting emails during the check-out process (20% use, 57% rate effective).
  • Email acquisition tied to emailed receipts or ticket deliveries (13% use, 55% rate effective).

Below, additional key findings from the report.

Top Email Marketing Objectives

  • The majority of marketers surveyed (64%) cited selling products/services as a top objective of their email campaigns.
  • A little over half (51%) are also looking to drive brand awareness.
  • Just 34% send emails to gain insights on their customers.

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey of 395 digital marketers predominantly from the United States. Of the marketers surveyed, 36% were B2B marketers, 35% were B2C marketers, and 29% were involved with both B2B and B2C marketing. The survey was conducted between June 20 and August 5, 2013.

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a writer, editor, and a content strategist. He is a co-founder of ICW Media and a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji