These are strange strange times for marketing!


Pretty much everything has changed over the last ten years. The next ten could be just as chaotic. It’s hard to think back to what small brand marketing looked like 10 years ago… back when 23 year old Mark Zuckerberg was just a millionaire with a ‘m’.


Even the last 5 years have been cuh-razy. We’ve seen:


  • Instagram take over as the channel of choice for brands (props to you Zuck for picking them up for just a billion dollars in 2012)
  • Reach algorithms ruin our lives and then just become the norm
  • Snapchat come, and then mostly go away, while Instagram, Facebook and now LinkedIn have taken their best feature (stories) to new heights. 

Even in the last couple of weeks, TikTok is stealing crowns as the fastest growing social network in the world and Facebook launched their own eerily similar product, nice playbook there guys! Big high five for anyone who knows its name. Answer at the bottom.


Without me running the risk of losing you, privacy and trust issues are getting actually pretty serious and it’s not impossible to think that one of the big players could screw up so badly that a massive number of people dump a platform overnight.  


So if your customer relationships are all controlled by one of these platforms…. Hey, nice job on those 10,000 followers on Instagram ; )


…it’s time to think about pulling them into a database that you control. Then you can reach them whenever you want.


This isn’t going a huge job that’ll take you hours, but I do want you to think of it as a deliberate priority.


I’ve laid out 6 ways that you can get your followers to connect with you directly, in a way that isn’t reliant on algorithms or dollars for boosting.


For all of these, you’re going to need a way to capture data.


We have a very simple page inside Ampjar that you can use for free to build your list. It’s customisable and anyone signing up in there will go in a database that you own and control. Most other platforms have something like this, so take a look around. You’re going to want a standalone page that has its own link, and you’ll want to be able to customise the page.


Ok, here goes:


  1. Use stories to sell your upcoming email 

Instagram stories is a channel that is easy to populate content to and should be giving you some ok reach at the moment.


Your simple challenge here is to talk to your followers and ask them to sign up. They like you, you like them, just ask.


“For those of you who don’t know, we send out a fun email every two weeks and have one coming up, follow the link in our bio or swipe up to go and put yourself on the list so you don’t miss out”


FOMO (fear of missing out) is something that you can use here.


This very simple, just drop the link in your bio, either directly for a few hours or inside linktree or whatever else you use. If you can use ‘swipe up’ then do it!


  1. Don’t ask your followers to go and find the box at the bottom of your home page 

So you managed to put a sign up box on your home page? That’s awesome and should capture some passing traffic.


Just please don’t ask them to go looking for it. They’re going to get distracted (hey maybe not a bad thing!). Send them to your sign up page instead. Anything else doesn’t work, believe me we’ve seen the stats.


  1. Newsletter-only offers or pre-releases 

The most effective way to get sign ups is to leverage that FOMO a little harder.


Put new announcements, product releases and other real news in your newsletters. It’s a good thing to do anyway, because you can craft the story with images and text.

The way to think of this though is that it’s a free kick before you release it on social channels. It makes customers feel special and it drives clicks.


So then your job is to tell your followers that there’s something special coming later today, in an hour, in 15 minutes, and that they need to sign up.


We’ve seen people grow their lists by the thousands this way.


Win, Win, Win.


  1. Don’t use email just to sell sell sell 

Your followers love you because you talk to them, you show them beautiful imagery and they buy from you because they love your story. A huge mistake we see so many brands make is that they just use email to hard sell their customers.


Use it as part of your story, talk in first person, put funny quotes in there.


If your emails are just selling, you’re not going to be able to talk to your customers about all the reasons that they should sign up, and even if they do sign up, they’re not going to hang around and certainly won’t tell their friends.


Plus your emails should be sharable works of art in their own right…


  1. Post links to your latest newsletter on your social channels 

Share your newsletters on your social channels. Grab a shot and drop it on Instagram, and give yourself some good, easy content for Facebook and even LinkedIn.


Think about timing this right so that your followers still have incentive to sign up themselves, but the idea is:


“Here’s our latest newsletter, go and sign up here (drop the sign up page link in here) so you make sure you get this in your inbox first”


  1. Use competitions 

Competitions can be a great way to drive sign ups. These are different to ‘tag and follow’ competitions, and need to be treated pretty differently, but are easy to set up.


There are lots of tools out there that can help you run a competition if you need, but there are two really simple ways that I like.


Probably the simplest way is to say that you’re going to give away a prize to one of your subscribers, or one of your new subscribers, and get them to click or swipe up to enter. You can just link them to your sign up page. You could edit the text on that page so that it talks about the contest and then anyone who enters in that time is in the draw to win.


The other super simple way is to create a competition entry form using something like typeform or google surveys (both free). You can ask your followers some more questions in there, theme the page up and even ask them a creative entry question if you like (although people find these really off putting and may not sign up). Then when you’ve drawn or chosen a winner, just export the data and drop it into your database.


Easy. Definitely try it!


That’s the 6! It’s an ongoing process but there are some very easy ones here that you can kick off this week.


I’d love to hear how you get on, and especially if there’s anything that works particularly well for you. I’m also very happy to help you grab your Ampjar sign up page and help you get moving!


P.S. as promised above – Facebook’s TikTok clone is called Lasso