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How To Use Hashtags To Increase Email Signups

It’s okay if you don’t have a lot of experience using hashtags to increase your email signups. We’re here to offer a #protip or two. Just putting a phrase like “pro tip” together and preceding it with that little symbol will create an entirely different experience on platforms like Twitter,

It’s okay if you don’t have a lot of experience using hashtags to increase your email signups. We’re here to offer a #protip or two.

Just putting a phrase like “pro tip” together and preceding it with that little symbol will create an entirely different experience on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Instead of a caption or post that is simply made up of static text, you are immediately connecting your content to the online equivalent of the world’s biggest library system.

In a library, for example, books are catalogued with a set of numbers to make it easier to find volumes about the same subject in one place. Hashtags work exactly the same way, except that every social media user acts as the librarian, choosing words that best sum up their content.

One key difference is that hashtags don’t necessarily have to describe the topic of the post. They can also reflect some kind of sentiment associated with the content, or refer to an entity related to it. For marketers, this might be the name of their brand, or a slogan their brand is using in other elements of a campaign.

It’s pretty obvious to see how using hashtags in your marketing could assist with things like brand awareness and perhaps even drive engagement with online ads. For many brands, though, using hashtags to grow your email list could offer even greater long-term value.

The power of growing your email list with hashtags

When customers opt into your email list, it’s a clear signal of intent. Even if they’re not ready to make a purchase right away, they are interested enough in your brand that they want to learn more about who you are, what you do and how it could fit into the things they care about.

At the same time, growing your email list needs to be carefully managed, especially in a country like Canada where we’ve created laws specifically aimed at protecting consumer privacy. We’re an “opt-in” culture, which means you have to ensure customers have a clear path to giving their consent to be contacted before you can send them a branded email message.

Hashtags are a surprisingly effective way to head down that path. Here are a few of the routes you could take:

1. The ‘join our community’ approach

Customers get hit with a lot of potential content to click on when they open their social media apps. They might be interested in something you posted but forget to pursue it right away.

Sometimes it helps to be upfront about the opportunities they get by becoming part of your email list. Think about a post that offers an example of a compelling blog, special promotion or other “insider” information that always goes to your database first.

Use a consistent hashtag on that post, as well as other content you share. If someone clicks on the hashtag, they’ll see the post with your invitation to subscribe along with everything else tagged with it.

2. The ‘keep the momentum going’ approach

Contests are often a great way to generate interest in your brand, a specific product, or both. In many cases, though, the number of winners you can choose is limited. Offering great content through your email newsletter is one way to give everyone who participates an additional form of reward.

Hashtags related to a contest may drive higher volumes of interest around social posts, and therefore click-throughs to your site where customers can enter to win. Once they’ve finished entering their details, however, you can always add an option to subscribe to your newsletter as well.

In other cases, event-related hashtags become viral because — whether it’s a virtual or in-person gathering — they are a useful way to tag comments people have about their experience and key takeaways.

Weaving a post that reminds attendees about your email newsletter among those posts with an event hashtag is easy to do. Think about mentioning it as the event gets started, for instance, and maybe again just before you wrap up. If it was a good event, being a subscriber means they can enjoy on-demand videos of the event if you’re offering them later, or even blog posts that recap key sessions.

3. The ‘user generated content’ approach

Nothing is more convincing than when a brand’s customers talk about it openly and honestly with their peers. The problem is that usually, those conversations are happening privately behind the scenes.

Think about a marketing campaign that encourages user-generated content to bring those conversations to the surface. You could ask or entice customers to post a photo of themselves on Instagram using your product, for instance, or citing specifics on Twitter about how your services solved a problem they had. Offer a common hashtag they could include with their posts to make it easy to round them up later.

If you obtain their permission, those user-generated content (UGC) posts could become the basis of a “part two” in that campaign, where you’re celebrating your audience’s success.

At that point, it’s only human nature that those seeing those posts might want to emulate the people featured in them. That’s where an offer to sign up to your email list in the caption or within the post somewhere could be highly compelling.

Next steps

The best thing about the approaches outlined above is that you aren’t restricted to trying just one of them. All three might yield new signups if you experiment with them over time.

Just make sure you choose a hashtag that won’t be easily (or accidentally) copied by another brand. And keep them as short as possible — long hashtags tend to be forgotten or ignored, given that many people are using them when they’re walking around with mobile devices.

Finally, build upon any growth you get in your list. Make it easy for your audience to click and share any highlights from your blog posts or other content with a hashtag already pre-populated for them.

At that point, your customers will be doing some organic marketing on your behalf — using hashtags that keep the value of being on your email list front and centre in everyone’s minds.

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