6 Ways to Grow Your Database Without Being Annoying

6 Ways to Grow Your Database Without Being Annoying

by Tracy Johnson

Your most effective and most valuable promotion and marketing asset is your listener database. That’s especially true if you have gathered information each individual. But how do you grow your database without being annoying or intrusive to an audience that just wants to interact?

Radio stations have a tremendous advantage over virtually all other businesses. We have loudspeakers that reach tens of thousands of listeners, air personalities that inspire action and brands that consumers want to interact with. Digital businesses would kill to have those tools. Yet most stations are reluctant to ask their audience to be part of their community.

You can grow your database just by asking the right way, and by providing a content-based incentive in exchange for an email address. Here’s how.

6 Ways To Grow Your Database

You’ve probably heard about Content Marketing strategies. You can turn your existing website into a content marketing machine if you organize your approach around your community hub: your website.

When users visit your website, entice them to give you their email address by filling out a form. Where should these forms appear? Here are 6 suggestions:

Grow Your Database Idea #1: Invite Them!

There’s a large number of listeners that would love to be in touch with you and get your newsletters if they knew how to get on your list. Usually, the opt-in link is hidden in the footer of a page, or a complicated menu.

Get that invitation in front of them with pop-up windows. This can be very effective if used properly. It can also be annoying if you don’t. The only pop-ups you should be using are offers that actually have brand value for things the audience cares about. Like your morning show. Or the music. Or the entertaining content (that should be) in your email communication.

Keep the message simple and direct. A quick headline that says, “Get More of THIS in your inbox”. Then include a form asks only for an email address and first name.

Once this is in place, you can really trick it out with specific offers based on the content on that page. For instance, if you have a Taylor Swift video on your site, you could invite users to enter to win tickets to her upcoming concert in the pop up form! That requires a little more sophistication and thought, not to mention hands-on management, but it’s powerful.

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Start with the basics and build the pop-up strategy as you grow.

Idea #2: Online Listening

For most, the top reason visitors come to your site is to listen to your station. That’s great! Put your streaming content behind a login that captures their name and email address. It’s a common practice. You can’t listen to Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Radio or iTunes without registering. Why should your station be any different?

If you make the login process fast and simple, it won’t run anyone off. If possible, allow them to register with one click, using social media accounts. You may have to do some research to make sure your system accommodates this, but it’s pretty easy, and you’ll grab their email address in your database.

Idea #3: Contests and Promotions

Are you still running Call in to Win contests? I hope not. They don’t work, and you get no useful information for future promotion and marketing.

Instead, attract more participation with online promotions and contests. On contest pages, you’re offering a bigger incentive, so you can get a little more information, but you still want to keep it simple. One option is to offer additional entries in the contest for each question answered. This makes your database smart quickly.

It’s tempting to ask for a phone number in contest forms. Try not to. Really, truly, please don’t. The promotions department will want that because it’s easier to contact the winner and deliver a prize, but it’s a huge barrier to entry. If you absolutely have to ask for a phone number, explain in the form that you’re only asking for it so you can call them when they win and you won’t share it with any other parties.

Grow Your Database Idea #4: In Front of  Great Content

While the content on your site is usually free, it has value. And sometimes you have highly desirable content. That’s a great place to get database information.

For example, you may have live or acoustic artist performances that command attention. Or a popular feature on your morning show. It’s still free, but get that database information! And, if possible, track where the form was completed so you can communicate based on preferences and past behavior.

Idea #5: The Advertiser Page

More sales departments are starting to build assets to market advertising opportunities on the station websites. Of all the sections of your site, this is where you want to get user data most! It could turn into revenue!

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This is where a free offer comes in handy. Maybe you can create an advertiser guide to radio ratings or a primer of creating a successful radio ad. It’s easy to design a white paper or e-book. Offer the premium as a free download, but require a form to access it. This is where you can get a little more information. You should get their name, business, email address and their position at the company. Also include a field for phone number, but make this optional.

Then, be sure you have a plan to follow up to harvest those leads that come in.

Idea #6: Your Error Page

Every website has that dreaded error page, where a broken link takes the user on a trip to nowhere. Turn that into an opportunity to get some information. Add a line that invites them to get on your email list by signing up with their name and email address.

You may not gather a lot of names from this page, but every little bit helps!


Collecting user information is one of the most important and cost-effective things you can do, and your website is the best way to grow your database. It has significant, and long-lasting benefits.

Now, once they’re in the database, engage them frequently with relevant content. But that’s an article for another day.

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