Hidden List-Building Opportunities?

Seeking Out New Subscribers...If you’re reading this blog, you probably already collect email subscribers (if you don’t, then start!).

But are we taking every advantage to collect addresses that we can use to follow up with people – building opportunities later?

MarketingSherpa just dropped off a report in my inbox that suggests people are willing to provide an email address in more situations than most people think.

And you might be surprised by what details people are and aren’t willing to give.

Working with a company called KnowledgeStorm, the team at Sherpa conducted a survey and addressed the following questions:

1. What Content Are Subscribers Willing to Register For?

Many of our users send newsletters, free reports and white papers to their opt-in subscribers.

But how many of you offer a demo that requires an email address? What about product brochures and related literature? Case Studies?

According to the survey, over half the respondents were willing to register for:

  • White Papers
  • Case Studies
  • Analyst Reports

And around 40% were willing to register for product literature and demos. If you look at the table provided in the report, you’ll notice that the vendors’ responses don’t match subscribers’. So they weren’t aware of what people were willing to register for.

2. Does A Content Summary Increase Signup Rates?

In some cases, people hesitate to sign up because they’re not totally sure what they’re signing up for.

At the same time, provide too much detail, and you risk boring people into leaving your site without subscribing.

What jumps out in this section is that while everyone recognizes the importance of having a summary, the weight that vendors place on that summary, and the weight that subscribers do, isn’t even close to equal.

Subscribers want to know what they’re getting in exchange for their email address. Provide enough detail so that there’s no room for misinterpretation.

3. Do People Actually Provide Valid Information When They Register?

We’ve talked before about keeping your signup forms simple so that people:

  • Sign Up At All
  • Provide Valid Details

What’s great about this part is that you see a comparison of how often people are willing to provide different types of information accurately, such as:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Company Name
  • Phone Number

There’s good and bad news here.

First of all, more people provide a valid email address than nearly any other piece of information.

The bad news: only 68% of them always provide a valid email address.

This is one reason why you use Confirmed Opt-In and get people to confirm before providing your content; otherwise, according to this you’re not getting a valid address nearly a third of the time.


  1. Bear in mind that this survey was in the B-to-B market. The B-to-C market may not value a case study or a whitepaper the same.
  2. Use Confirmed Opt-In and require people to confirm in order to receive whatever content/bonus you offer.

Most importantly, take the overall point of the survey:

You may be throwing away an opportunity to follow up with people by not requiring registration for some of your content.

Take a look at your website and your business. Do you take advantage of every opportunity to collect subscribers?