How to Grow Your Email List – 27 List Building Strategies
There are infinite ways you can grow your email list. New ideas can pop up from one place to another. However, not all ideas for email list building will generate substantial gains for your list or benefit your marketing strategy.
In order to have success with your email marketing program, you need to test various list-building strategies, eliminate those that don’t appear to be effective, and fine-tune those that do.
How Do You Create an Email List?
The first step to growing your email list is to create an email list! Use your favorite email marketing platform to create a segmented list for each list-building strategy that you attempt.
This will help you differentiate which trial worked for your company and which didn’t work. It also helps you send specific email marketing campaigns about whatever appeals to that target audience. For example, if you gained those email signups from Instagram, you would send that segmented audience something visually appealing or an Instagram promotion.
But before you start building your email list, you should try to create flows if your email marketing software allows it. These flows can include a welcome email, abandon cart, and abandon checkout emails in order to improve your website’s sales.
Can I Buy an Email List?
We highly recommend that you should NOT purchase an email list on the internet.
Purchasing email lists will initially appear as if you’ve gained a substantial amount of email subscribers. However, these people did not explicitly opt-in to your list or give you permission to send them marketing emails.
This form of “lead generation” can lead to:
- Immediate Unsubscribes
- Spam Complaints
- Email Bounces
- Falling into Spam Traps
In total, these will ultimately land your emails in the spam folder which negatively impacts your sender reputation and email deliverability without the guarantee of new customers. Quality will always be more important than quantity in email marketing.
Why is List Building so Important?
According to various studies, every $1 spent on email marketing has an average return of $44. Therefore, email is the best, most cost-effective means of marketing for anyone, especially small businesses.
Before you can send out any email campaigns, you need to grow your email list and start collecting email addresses. You need an audience to receive your messages.
27 Ways to Grow Your Email List
We’ve thought of 27 ideas that you can implement to start growing your email list quickly.
1) Social Media Ads: Social media platforms have been proven time after time to be powerful lead magnets. Utilize Facebook Ads, along with Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube Ads to drive traffic to email sign-up forms with a special offer. Cut off streams that don’t perform well and perfect the platforms that do.
2) Product Purchase Opt-Ins: Your company’s current customers are already interested in your products. Therefore, you should add a check box during checkout to give them the option to sign up for your newsletter and stay updated on any new products.
3) Contests & Giveaways: Another way of getting people to sign up to your newsletter and grow your email list is to run a contest or a giveaway to win a free prize or a substantial discount on your product or service. Ensure contestants are required to sign up with their emails and invite people to your contest or giveaway for additional entries. This will increase virality and the success of your marketing efforts. You can also set up custom email flows for your contestants to keep them engaged and updated as the contest progresses.
4) Blog CTA: In order to gain more newsletter sign-ups, insert an email signup form in all your blog post articles. Play around with the signup forms’ positioning: whether the sign-up form should be at the top of the blog post, in the middle, in the end, or in the sidebar of the blog post. You can also offer a downloadable version of your content with optin forms in order to grow your email list.
5) Website Embedded Sign-Up Forms: Another way to grow your email list is by inviting your website visitors to join your newsletter to stay updated on new products, promotions, or other news. You can offer a discount on their next purchase by embedding email signup forms throughout your website to collect email addresses.
6) Website Pop-Ups: Pop-ups are a great way to catch your website visitors’ attention and interest them in an offer. Allow them to fill an opt-in form with their email address and insert the offer as the call-to-action button. A pop-up can be triggered depending on the time spent scrolling through the page or by the percentage of the page scrolled. There are also exit-intent pop-ups that are triggered when someone is about to click out of your website in order to convert abandoning visitors into new subscribers.
7) Youtube Videos: Insert a call-to-action in your Youtube video descriptions that lead your viewers to a sign-up form where they can provide their contact information outside of Youtube for a content upgrade.
8) Free Offer: Create a landing page to offer potential customers a free product or service if they complete a newsletter sign-up form. The most cost-effective offers are virtual, such as a free ebook or PDF guides, because they don’t require shipping costs.
9) Word-of-Mouth: Another way to collect email addresses is to create some sort of referral loyalty program where your existing subscribers can be rewarded for referring others to your newsletter. Referral programs are a great lead magnet that also builds social proof. Social proof is key to virality because people are more likely to listen to their friends than a stranger.
10) Guest Posts: You can also perform lead generation through guest posts. Reach out to an influencer or a prominent company with high traffic within your industry or niche and offer them your blog post for free. Their readers will see you as a leader in the industry and will more like follow your blog post’s call-to-action to a newsletter opt-in page.
11) Events: Throw events to teach professionals in your industry. Create landing pages with signup forms that opt-in event attendees to your newsletter. Live events give you the opportunity to speak with your customers face-to-face. Provide check-in tablets that direct visitors to email signup forms or you can post flyers with a QR code that checks attendees in while also giving them the option to sign up for your newsletter.
12) Provide Discounts: List building strategies also include growing the list you already have! Over time, you may notice your list of email subscribers diminishing. It’s normal for people’s lives to change along with their interests. That’s why maintaining good list hygiene with re-engagement campaigns is important.
Utilize marketing automation to re-engage inactive subscribers into paying customers with a huge discount or promotion. You can also try writing about something new, exciting, or relevant to current events in order to re-engage your current audience.
Learn More about re-engaging your email list: List Hygiene: How to Maintain an Engaged List
13) Direct Mail: Email was not the end of regular mail. In order to stand out in today’s crowded inbox, you may want to consider sending your prospect direct mail instead. Send them a flyer or a small gift with a note. On the flyer or note, write a personalized message with a QR code to your newsletter landing page. Those opt-in landing pages should be relevant to whatever was in the mail or your prospect will be confused and you will not get more sign-ups.
14) Cold Email: Another way to grow your email list is through cold email. Cold email requires lead generation software to help you find the right person at your prospective companies. First, create an ICP (Ideal Client Profile) of your past clients’ positions, company size, and industry. Then, you’ll have an idea of who is most likely interested in your offer.
The best lead generation software will allow you to start a personal and meaningful conversation with your ideal client. Do not cold email someone to pitch your product or talk about your company. They don’t care about any of that and may mark you as spam. Likewise, if you keep messaging the wrong people at a company, they may also mark you as spam. Instead, you should try to provide value and try to solve their problems. Don’t forget to include a call-to-action link to a newsletter signup form in your email signature.
But Most Importantly! Be sure you’re following CAN-SPAM Act guidelines before you send out any cold email campaigns.
15) Social Media Posts: If you keep in constant contact with your audience through social media post something interesting and offer a content upgrade to view the full post. You will grow your email list while boosting user engagement on the platform.
16) Free Tool: A free tool is a lead magnet itself. If requires a user to fill out a signup form with an email log-in, you’ll automatically receive an opt-in. Your tool’s users are already warm leads, interested in your work, therefore, newsletter updates about the tool and related products should be expected.
17) Host Webinars: As an industry leader, you can grow your email list by hosting webinars. Create a sign-up page to give attendees exclusive access to the event.
18) Social Media Groups: Another lead magnet is social media groups. As with cold emails, focus on providing value rather than promoting yourself. People will begin seeing you as an authoritative figure amongst them and will more like reach out to you in a direct message. Then, you will have the social proof to direct them to a newsletter sign-up landing page.
19) Surveys: Publish a survey to receive feedback from your audience. You can post this survey on social media, create a landing page for it, or embed it on pop-ups on your website. Require survey participants to sign up with their email addresses prior to filling out your survey. Within the survey, you could also include opt-in forms to ask the participant if they’d like to specifically opt-in to receive future surveys.
20) Content Upgrades: Gated content is a lead magnet that limits the visibility of certain content. In order to unlock that content upgrade, you require your readers to sign up for your newsletter and grow your email list. Content upgrades are a great way to maximize the return on content like blog posts where the reader didn’t have to opt-in previously.
21) Add a Share button to your Emails: Have you ever tried adding Social Media Share buttons to your email? Do you want to have your readers share your kick-ass content on social media rather than using a call-to-action in your emails telling them to forward your email to friends?
1. Make a web version of your email.
2. Insert a “view in browser” link in your email.
3. Add your social share buttons to your web version for sharing.
4. Ensure your web version of your email requires any new reader to sign up for your newsletter prior to viewing.
22) Search Engine Ads: Grow your email list with ads on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Be sure to optimize your title to match search intent. You can also use a compelling description to encourage users to click.
23) Podcasts: Podcasts are a great way to build your brand awareness and credibility. Insert an Intro and Outro in every one of your videos to remind your watchers to like and comment on your video and sign up to your email list for exclusive content.
24) Hire Influencers: Working with influencers can help you broaden your reach. Grow your email list by paying an influencer for posts that will lead fans to your landing page to collect email opt-ins.
25) QR Codes: The 25th way to grow your email list is by inserting a QR code in your business cards, promotional flyers, and email signature. However, do not forget to write a compelling call-to-action above it so people know what they are scanning and what they’ll receive by scanning it. The better your offer or incentive the more opt-ins you can expect.
26) Social Media Bios: Add call-to-action to sign up for your newsletter in all your social media accounts including your Facebook page, Instagram bio, Twitter profile, etc. On your Facebook page, you could even add a Sign-Up button that directs visitors to newsletter opt-in forms on your website.
27) Question Forums: Go out of your way to answer questions related to your niche topic on question forums like Quora and Reddit. By providing a complete, comprehensive answer, you are more likely to be able to send readers to a landing page to sign up for your newsletter at no cost to you.