B2B Marketing Zone

It’s My Party and I Hope You Show Up: Building a Subscriber List That People Want to Be A Part Of

It’s My Party and I Hope You Show Up: Building a Subscriber List That People Want to Be A Part Of

It’s My Party and I Hope You Show Up: Building a Subscriber List That People Want to Be A Part Of

You bought six kinds of chips, the bar is stocked and the perfect party music has been selected. So why are you sitting at home alone on the night of your big party?

You invested a lot of time, effort and money in this party, but somewhere it went wrong. Maybe your guests didn’t receive their invitations or maybe you put the wrong date.

In a lot of ways, building a subscriber list is a lot like hosting a really great party. 

Andrew Kordek, Co-Founder of Trendline Interactive and expert contributor for our “Best Practices for Building a Subscriber List” white paper, suggests that marketers think of acquiring subscribers “as a party. You are inviting them to experience your brand, and are asking for something precious from them.” His bottom line: “Don’t let your party suck…do it right.”

Don’t Let Your Party Suck: 6 Ways to Do List Building Right

How do you make sure your subscribers don’t feel like the equivalent of disinterested party guests?

  1. Send a Good Invitation – Ensure that your sign-up process is streamlined. Plan the sign-up experience from your subscribers’ point of view.
  2. Don’t Invite the People You Know Aren’t Interested – Review your email analytics, then clean up your current lists.
  3. Don’t Bribe People to Attend – Don’t bother with unrelated offers, no matter how tempting.
  4. Tell Guests What to Bring – After people have subscribed, always include a call to action.
  5. Do the Work to Make a Memorable Experience – Plan email acquisition like a big party that your guests won’t want to leave.
  6. Skip the Piñata – Know your audience and tailor content to their interests.

Looking for more advice on list building? Download our “Best Practices for Building a Subscriber List” to get more fundamentals for your success.


Are you hosting a killer party? How do you make your email marketing campaigns a memorable experience for your subscriber list?  

  • I really liked this article. Its easy to forget that people can see gimmicks a mile away. If you have something real and valuable to offer, you will get peoples attention and probably get the response you are hoping for. If you try to camouflage a bunch of fluff with free pencils or stress balls, you are going to get called out on it. People respond well to honesty and thought leadership. If you can put those in front of all, there shouldn’t be any issues.

  • I agree with Guedo, a gift is something you provide without expectation. That’s what an honest relationship is built on, remember that book “Beware Of the Naked Man who Offer’s The Shirt Off His Back”? A gift is what you tell another person about, a gimmick is what you put in the drawer after the Ether wears off. It ain’t knowledge unless you share it. The best teacher’s tell you where to go to learn, vs. telling you a bunch of facts to memorize.
    Cheers, Chris

  • We have customers all the time looking for good lists. The answer is that they don’t exist…well…you can’t purchase a good list. You can, however, build a great list over time the hard way. It isn’t easy but man…it will pay off in the long-haul.

  • The list building process is significantly improved with the behavioral metrics. It’s easy to see who the fanatics are that regardless of the message or activity are digesting everything vs. the casual viewer. This has already given us the ability to understand how our content is resonating with our customers

  • Cory

    I agree with Carter that the Act-On behavioral metrics makes list building easier. In the case of our existing list, it’s being able to move the mindset from a “blast” approach were everyone on the list received the same offer to a targeted approach as well as planning out the funnel for new contacts that opt-in.

  • With the development of marketing automation solutions, I find that it no longer makes sense to build a huge list and send the same email to everyone. Everyone has different preferences and it is difficult to engage all subscribers with the same message. I’m happy that we have adopted marketing automation because i can now send out relevant, tailored communications based on prospect information and historical marketing data.

  • Mind was blown at #1 Ensure that your sign-up process is streamlined. Plan the sign-up experience from your subscribers’ point of view.

    This seems common sense for most people however I am glad it is presented as #1 in this blog.

    Put yourself in your audiences shoes, think back to experiences that you have with subscribing to other sites. Did you subscribe because you “felt” a connection? Or was it the stress ball or bottle opener you we’re promised in return.

    If you are finding roadblocks in your strategy, take a closer look on what you could be doing wrong on your end. I agree with Guedo up top about people seeing gimmicks from a mile away.

  • Nuala

    I agree with Nick that it is important to segment your lists. Investing in marketing automation software has streamlined that process and increased efficiency.

  • Tim

    Interesting take and a new way to think of it for sure. I think #2 is so important. You shouldn’t waste time on people that you know are not interested or even most likely not interested. You should align your messages with people who are clearly interested in what you are selling, so your invitations and messages will be considered relevant and worth their time. Which leads to #6, being relevant by tailoring to the audience’s specific needs and interests. Very important.

  • Jeff

    I like the Don’t Bribe People to Attend tip. Even if it does work. It will only work for a short period of time. They will not be interested in the long run which will not help you out any in the future. Be real, if they are interested they will sign up. If not thats fine. You wont be wasting any of each others time, and you’ll have a solid list soon enough.

  • Dani

    I like #5 “Do the Work to Make this a Memorable Experience.” It’s important that people both want to read the email and are interested in the content. There is little point to putting out information that people don’t want to read. If it’s interesting and relevant, the changes are that they will be active and engaged.

  • I agree that gimmicks tend to get the people what they want but substance and a little homework will help you both get what you need.
    Would you suggest a broader base of general information for an informal inrtroductory meeting or wait to gather enough information to be more specific to that persons direct needs?

  • Short and sweet , I agree with the writer. I would question number 3, because we have found value in offering true value propositions to our potential clients.

  • Greg Palmer

    Might be me reading into this wrong, but I find this article to be a bit contradictory. This is meant to be about building a subscriber list which to me means they are new to your brand/company and you more than likely have limited information. With this in mind, only number 1 is really useful for initial user acquisition.

    Numbers 2 and 6 are entirely dependent on data which you will likely not have on new subscribers. 3 seems to be counter-intuitive–having something to offer is the easiest way of getting something in return. 4 makes sense. And 5 doesn’t really say much or have much substance.

    Again, could just be me reading into this wrong.

  • I can’t tell you how many marketers STILL send me unrelated offers, and as an email marketer it drives me nuts. The key word is “unrelated” offers – I don’t need a link to your webinar on database growth when I just watched your webinar on PPC ads. You may think “why not? Those are both digital marketing…” as you barrage my inbox, this is just aggravation because my focus is elsewhere. Good examples of related offers would be from Amazon and eBay – based on a combination of browsing history, wish list and previous purchases – the perfect blend.

    • Lisa I could not have said it better myself, great comment here.

  • Bobby Holt

    A good invite is 100% the key to getting desired results. Too many times I’ve received emails with no direction and no real way to sign up for what the email was inviting me to. Make it easily visible and make it streamlined.