27 July 2020

A newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with your customers, with plenty of options to inspire with topics that they find interesting. Seasonal news, special occasions in your garden centre, discounts, and other inspirational content are great ways to keep your customers informed and engaged with your store or webshop.

On top of that, there’s always something to do in the garden if you’re focused on gardening & plants.

But how do you get more subscribers to your newsletter list? Based on our experience we’re happy to share our best secrets with you! Have a look at these 14 ways to get more newsletter subscribers on your list.

1. Create an exit-intent popup

This tool is a great way to make a lasting connection with website visitors. Just when they are about to leave your website and move their cursor to the X-button on their browser, a popup will be shown, asking them to subscribe to the newsletter.

This is often combined with a discount or another compelling offer (see tip number 2).

A popup, or lightbox as we normally would call them, can look like this:

Before you consider this annoying: the return on investment can be very high so perhaps you should put your feelings aside and give it a try?

2.  Make an offer they can’t refuse

What are you offering in exchange for their email address? Customers will definitely ask this question to themselves. The answer is, most of the time, a discount they can use in-store or on your webshop.

If you don’t want to throw in discounts to get more subscribers, we can highly recommend to offer an eBook to website visitors. An eBook is a great way to showcase your knowledge, is worth a lot more than a few pounds and is fun to read. That’s the reason why we do it at Garden Connect as well and yes, many of our customers have been doing this in the past!

A nice offer in return can be a great trigger for people to decide to subscribe.

eBook Why Should I Buy From You

3. The location of the opt-in on your website

It should be as easy as possible to subscribe. With easy, we mean as few clicks as possible. This could be a little box on the bottom of every webpage, a small bar on the top corner or another position that is easy to find and visible on every page the visitor sees.

The worst way to do it? Adding a menu item called “Newsletter” to your website. Unless you have a proper promotional plan in place, it won’t work at all. Visitors won’t understand what’s in it for them and will ignore the button for sure.

Most of the Garden Connect customers are using a signup form on the bottom of the website which generates a constant flow of subscribers:


4. QR codes are fast and fun

For a completely customer friendly experience, a mobile-friendly website is very important.  By placing QR codes in your garden centre, you make it very easy and accessible for people to find out how to subscribe to your newsletter.

The best place to do this is in your restaurant via a table-top leaflet. Why? Your visitors are enjoying a coffee or cold drink and are probably having a good time and have a moment to engage with it.

Why wouldn’t they want to keep themselves up to update about everything going in your centre? Let them scan a QR code so they can sign up for your newsletter. Oh, and a second-coffee-free will ensure those subscribers sign up as soon as they’ve read the sign!

5. From regular emails to email subscribers

Another great tool to consider is to add a link to the subscription page in your email signature.

(This assumes you have an e-mail signature but if you don’t, do it asap. It’s professional, saves you time and a great marketing tool! Have you ever seen the Garden Connect signatures?)

This would be another email address than the one you’re sending the newsletters from, for example, one about order information or customer service. By creating a catchy line you can encourage people to subscribe by clicking on the link.

6. Thank you!

People who subscribe to your newsletter gave up their privacy and e-mail address so you’d better make sure they get a positive feeling about it. Despite that, the ‘thank you for subscribing to our newsletter email’ confirmation e-mails we see out there are often the most boring e-mails we see!

Spending a few minutes to create a personal, warm and welcoming e-mail will give your new subscribers a positive feeling about the action they just took.

It’s a confirmation their data is in good hands and will make them feel excited about the idea such a good, professional garden centre will send them inspiring newsletters!

7. Subscribing should be as easy as possible

The longer and more complex your subscription form is the more you will learn about your subscribers but conversely the fewer subscribers you will have. Consider making the subscription as easy as possible, meaning as short as possible.

The more you ask, the less people you’ll get on your list.

We often see garden centres ask lots of questions but they rarely use the information in their marketing.

Once a new customer subscribes more in-depth questions could always follow later in an automatic email. But make the first barrier as low as possible or you’ll miss out a lot of potential subscribers.

Fernhill keeps it simple & straight forward and only asks you to enter an e-mail address:


8. Give the reader control over the content

Do you sell a wide variety of products? An interesting option to consider is to give the subscriber the possibility to select certain topics of interest. And to leave out those they are not interested in.

Don’t make the focus too narrow though, stick to main topics.

Do you have a pond is a valid question to ask. Asking subscribers if they have Koi Carps in the colour blue in their pond is too specific.

One of our customers asks you to tell them how they know the garden centre. Good question but it highers the barrier to sign-up:

Adding a few questions, however, enables you to create various audiences with various interests, subscribing for specific tips & tricks or inspiration.

9. Make a multiple-day-offer

Consider for example an offer on a 3-day e-mail course on how to propagate plants. Or, for new subscribers, you could promise a 5-day tutorial guide on creating flower decoration or any of these kinds of attractive offers.

These emails can be triggered automatically after subscribing for your newsletter.

The beauty of such an offer is that your new subscribers will eagerly wait for your e-mails to come in the following days, establishing a connection between your brand and your new subscribers!

10. Encourage people to forward your email

If you create emails that are worth forwarding, for example by sharing certain discounts, inspirations or special occasions in your store, you can get more website subscribers by inviting your newsletter subscribers to forward your emails to friends & relatives.

Some garden centres are a bit reluctant to let their customers share discounts but what could be better than your most loyal fans inviting their peers to go to your centre? You can’t get a better recommendation, can you?

Keep in mind that for the person who receives the forwarded email it should also be easy to subscribe.

11. Organise giveaways via email

A giveaway or contest on your website is a great way to entice your audience to leave their email address and at the same time subscribe to your newsletter.

One of our customers gives away a planted container every month. Small thing to do but the payoff is huge. Some winners are happy to have a photo taken with their new container so you can use that on social and on your next newsletter again.

This will keep your subscribers engaged (perhaps I’ll win next month!) and it’s a small gesture to your subscribers.

12. Subscriber-only benefits

What’s in it for the subscriber? They could be the first to know about discounts, new collections, or have early access to sales. There has got to be something for the subscriber which makes it a privilege to be a subscriber to your newsletter!

Most garden centres overcomplicate this but you can keep it small.

Be the first to register for our event via a secret link sent to our newsletter subscribers only.

You can access our secret page with webshop deals 2 days before the public can find it on our website.

A small gesture can go a long way.

The Garden Pavilion in Ireland explains newsletter readers will get a monthly newsletter called Garden Talk. If you don’t sign up, you’ll miss out:


13. Add subscribe links to your channels

The link to the subscription page should be well visible on your website, but also on other channels you use. For example on your social media accounts, in your garden centre, and maybe even on the receipts.

And yes, if customers register for an event on your website, the checkbox to sign up for your newsletter should be there as well.

This requires an integrated system (which we have at Garden Connect) so you don’t need to export and import Excel files.

Visibility is key!

14. A checkbox with every checkout

A webshop customer trusts you enough to send you money so they should trust you enough to subscribe. A unique moment to ask them to sign up for your newsletter, isn’t it?

This should be a one-click checkbox in the checkout process, to make it as easy as possible. Adding a checkbox to the checkout will seriously help your subscriber numbers.

In most countries, you can’t pre-check the button and even if you can, we wouldn’t recommend it. You should only get people on your list who are voluntarily opting in.

Do you need help with your email newsletter?

As you’ve seen, there are plenty of options to get more subscribers to your email newsletter.

At Garden Connect we have a wide range of tools to implement on your webshop, website and the email newsletter itself to get more subscribers. On top of that, we can provide you with content you can use in your newsletter, website and social media channels.

We would like to help you out by growing your newsletter subscribers and by creating great email newsletters. Feel free to contact us on (+44) 203 475 5541 or email us at info@gardenconnect.com.


14 ways to get more subscribers to your garden centre newsletter list
Julia van Vliet

This article is written by:

Julia van Vliet

Content marketeer

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