How I Got 20 People To Sign Up For Our Email List In Less Than 48 hours


By: Ceci Dadisman

It has always been a bit of a struggle for me to get large numbers of sign-ups for our email list through our website.  I never took it personally because I understand that people’s inboxes are full already before they get my engaging and super interesting emails about Palm Beach Opera.

However, we’ve moved to a new email marketing system (dotmailer which I LOVE) which has really powerful automation features and we needed to get some new people on our list.

I know that a very popular tactic with big brands and e-commerce sites is to offer a discount when people sign up.  Because of the limitations of our ticketing system, we’re not able to generate unique offer codes like that and I’m sure that people would use the same offer code over and over again if they could.  So, as an alternative, we decided to do a monthly drawing for a $50 gift certificate.  Only people who have newly signed up for our list are eligible and the gift certificate will only be applicable for one season at a time.

I added that to our sidebar widget but it didn’t really get much action:


So I started looking for a solution that would make it more prominent without being a stereotypical pop-up box.  We had a pop up on our website for email signups previously and we found that it was really just annoying people.  We only got a handful of signups and most people were just closing it out right away.

I did a quick Google search and found a company that was new to me: Privy.  They have a free plan so I signed up to try it out.  It took me about 5 minutes to install it on our WordPress site, and maybe another 10 to set up the widget.  It is really simple and easy to use.  The great thing about Privy is that you can do a pop-up but you can also do what we currently have running which is a tab at the top of our website:


In less than 48 hours, we got 22 signups, with 11 in the first 24 hours.  In the middle of the summer.  Six months away from our first mainstage opera.  With no online ads running to drive traffic to our site.  This is way more than we would usually get through our website form and for no additional cost (we’re still using the free plan).

If you need more functionality, Privy does have some paid plans and a 50% nonprofit discount.  There are also some other providers out there like WisePops that offer some more sophisticated pop-up functionality for a monthly fee.  However, for us, the free version of Privy is performing great.

What are some creative ways you have increased signups for your email list?  Please share them in the comments below!

Ceci Dadisman
Ceci Dadisman
Ceci Dadisman is a marketing professional with more than 15 years of experience creating effective communications campaigns utilizing innovative, forward thinking methods. She is nationally recognized as a leader in digital marketing and specializes in multichannel communications campaigns. A frequent public speaker, Ceci’s recent and upcoming engagements feature national conference appearances at NTEN, Museums and the Web, National Arts Marketing Project, Arts Midwest, American Alliance of Museums, OPERA America, Midwest Museums Association, and Chorus America in addition to many other local and regional events. Known for her easy-going and vernacular style, she creates open learning environments with an emphasis on information sharing and useful takeaways. She is a member of the National Arts Marketing Project Advisory Committee and the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts Visiting Committee, and is a mentor in West Virginia University’s Creative Consultant program. She also teaches the arts marketing course at West Virginia University’s College of Creative Arts and is on the faculty of Chorus America’s Chorus Management Institute. Ceci was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from West Virginia University’s College of Creative Arts. She currently lives in Cleveland, Ohio.
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