Growing your email list is not an easy feat.
We all know the pains of trying to grow an email list from scratch. Frankly, it can be an ultimate buzzkill.
Typically everyone starts off with a newsletter signup form:
Sign up for my newsletter.
Or a popup that intrusively comes across the reader’s screen basically telling you that you’re lower than life if you don’t want access to the secret tips:
Receive ninja tips & tricks in your inbox! Options: Yes! Sign me up. No! I’m a loser
Not to say that these methods are the wrong ways to collect emails. They’re not at all, and trust me even the best of us do it. There are just better ways of building your email list with more qualified prospects.
If you have been trying to build your list for some time and have found yourself stuck, this list of 52 strategies will help you along the way. Building your email list shouldn’t have to be a chore. It should be a core part of your marketing strategy.
Here are 52 unstressful ways to grow your email list.
1. Create a super valuable resource tool to supplement a blog post
And I don’t mean just any resource tool. Build a meaningful resource guide that can help your prospect get closer to solving their problem. The resource guide should act as a mini version of your product or a service that you offer. It should be as if you’re giving away one of your most valuable resources for free. Don’t just scrap something together, put some meaning into it. It also doesn’t have to be a PDF, it can simply be an email containing a guide of some sort. If you’re an e-commerce store selling calm scented candles, it might simply be a list of resources giving your prospects 10 ways to relax and calm their nerves. If you’re a professional services business, it might be a case study showing how you solved a specific problem for a past client.
2. Host a webinar series to grow a quality email list
A webinar is a great way to bring in new leads for your business. Focus on making your webinar super valuable, rather than focusing on grabbing a ton of emails simply to make a sale later. Provide valuable information with clear takeaways and actionable steps for your audience. They will come back to you if the information is great.
3. Offer unique opt-in incentives
Rather than giving away a PDF or a coupon, try giving away something unique. You’ll have to think outside of the box for this one. Think of something that supplements your business. Don’t just do a random contest or iPad giveaway that’s not related to your business. Think about something that ties back to your biz.
4. Add an email opt-in to your Instagram profile
Don’t forget that you can use Instagram to drive traffic back to your sign up page. Simply place the link in the bio of your page of your Instagram channel. Get creative, let people know to go to your profile page to click the link. Give them a reason to break the cycle of just scrolling past the feed of pictures and click on your link.
5. Add an email opt-in to your Instagram stories
Just like you would call out your signup link in your Instagram profile page, utilize Instagram Stories to do the same thing. You can get creative as you’d like here, but just remember to direct people to the link.
6. Offer a free case study in exchange for email
This is especially effective if you’re a B2B or professional services business. Show your prospects the results that you are able to provide by showing them a real example of your work. Offer a snippet of the results, but then have them provide their email address in order to receive the full case study in their inbox.
7. Add a signup form to your Facebook Page
This is often overlooked, but you can add signup call to action on the main page of your Facebook page.
8. Use LeadDigits by LeadPages (Text to receive my slides)
Using text messaging as a tool to grow your list is an excellent way to capture email leads when you are doing speaking events, are at conferences or are a guest speaker on a Podcast even. Leaddigits by Leadpages is a great tool that allows you to capture emails via text message. All your prospects have to do is text their email to your unique number and code.
9. Use LeadDigits by LeadPages at a conference
Continuing on the text messaging idea. Using text messaging to capture email leads at a conference is an excellent and fast way to grow your email list when there are hundred’s of people that you are potentially meeting in one day. If you have a booth at the conference, put up a sign with your text-to-email digits. You can also utilize Twitter to publicize your text number.
10. Include an Upscri.be option feature on Medium.com
Upscribe is a lead generation tool that is mainly used for sites like Medium where you embed a simple code that will allow your readers and followers to subscribe to your blog or email list. It’s simple to use and doesn’t interrupt the user experience at all.
11. Use automated calendar booking tools
Tools such as Calendly can be used to grow your list organically when prospects and leads book meetings with you. My advice is not to add these people that book meetings to your list automatically, but rather to bring them through a mini-series of emails from you. Three to four emails that introduce them to what you talk about in your email newsletters and that ask them if they’d like to opt-in to be added to your list more permanently.
12. Use a chat tool
I personally like Drift’s chat tool, especially since it’s more recently added on a bot too its chat tool. With chat tools, when people come to your site, they can chat with you or your team (or your bot through the chat window). This allows for faster communication between you and your prospects. What’s more importantly, with most chat sessions, an email is captured in order to provide the person with a record of the chat after the session is done. Once again, you can follow up with prospects from here with a drip email sequence encouraging them to opt-in to your email list.
13. Don’t ask for too much information with signup
You usually don’t need a person’s full bio and background information in order to effectively communicate with them via your newsletter, so why ask for it. Ask for email only at first, and they will be more likely to give you just that.
14. Create a “things to avoid” list as a lead magnet
Going back to resources for a second, one very effective attention grabber resource list that you can build is a “things to avoid” list. Depending on your industry, you can provide a top “X” things to avoid list. If you’re a sneaker store, why not create a list “Top 10 things to avoid if you want to extend the shelf life of your sneakers.”
15. Use Interact quizzes
16. Offer a 5-day mini-series email course
Email mini-courses can help get your audience warmed up to you and your email content. Offer out an email course that demonstrates your expertise, or that provides a series of tips and tricks based on your product or service. Use a widget on your website to have visitors to your website subscribe or you can put a link in your email signature for people to subscribe. Instead of saying “Sign up for my newsletter”, use “Subscribe to this 5-day email course.”
17. Add LeadDigits by Leadpages to your Business Cards
We’ve gone over Leaddigits earlier, but just to take it a step further, you can and should use text-to-email tools as a way to gain new email subscribers while you’re out and about meeting new prospects. Keep it simple. For instance, I use it to have someone signup to my email course. On the back of my card, I have a simple line that states: Text DONE4U to 44222 to learn about marketing & email automation.
18. Add to list after Eventbrite sign up
Do you host events? Do you use Eventbrite to host those events? Well did you know that you can connect your Eventbrite account with many email marketing providers so that every email signup collected through Eventbrite can be sent through to your email list? While you should already be running an event autoresponder to registrants and attendees of your event, you should also have a sequence that streams these people into your follow-up newsletter.
19. Offer opt-in after a purchase
If you’re an e-commerce store or are simply selling products online, then without a doubt you should be asking your customers if they’d like to be a part of your email list. A simple checkbox option asking if it’s okay to send marketing emails will do. If you’d like to give them options on what type of email they’d like to receive from you, then you can create an email preferences page. Just beware, the more options that you give, the likelihood of people taking action will decrease. So keep it simple.
20. Use tools like Zapier
If you haven’t heard of Zapier, it’s a tool that helps you connect your platforms and keep them “talking” to each other. In other words, it passes data from one tool to another. So let’s say you’re sending out a survey, you can have any emails collected from that survey passed over to your email list. That’s just one example, but essentially, Zapier will make it easier to send emails over to your email marketing tool.
21. Create a survey
There’s a lot that you can survey your customers and prospects on — including, what are their biggest challenges right now? What new products would they like to see? How would you rate your product? Offer something in exchange for those that fill out the survey in order to collect email addresses.
22. Designate certain days per month where your page leads with an opt-in form
I really love Melyssa Griffin’s homepage. At the very top, front and center, she calls for her audience to “sign up” for her list. It’s front and center, and no matter where you land, this main section will appear for you to signup for her email list.
23. Use Facebook and Instagram LeadAds
If you haven’t been using Facebook Lead Ads to gain more emails, then you’re missing out on yet another one of Facebook’s finer assets. Lead Ads work on Facebook as well as Instagram. The sole purpose is for the lead ads to do exactly that, collect leads. Similar to a regular Facebook Ad, you will start off with an intriguing ad that addresses a core problem of your target audience, then ask them for their email address in exchange for something valuable from you.
24. Run a survey that and capture interesting results; share results only with subscribers
Remember when I mentioned surveys, well typically surveys are administered to current customers, as they are the ones more likely to take the time out to fill in answers to your survey. But what about prospects and new leads. Well, one smart way to capture emails from your prospects is to provide them with the results of a customer survey via email. A great example could be – survey on the amount of ROI that your customers receive from you, and the success of the campaigns. You can share results with your prospects via emails.
25. Create amazing content that people will talk to their friends about
Hands down, the way people will willingly give up their email address is if you provide quality content that is so good it’s shareable. When you’re creating freebies in exchange for an email address, make these your finest work. The perception that you will leave behind is “if this company is giving me all of this for free, then I can’t imagine what the paid product must be like.” Now, of course, you don’t want to give away the kitchen sink and your finest product, but definitely, represent yourself as a quality content creator.
26. Include a subscribe link in your signature
This one is simple, but include a link to your subscribe page in your email signature. Make it easy, make it visible, make it enticing. Use a tool such as WiseStamp to enhance your signature and let it stand out.
27. Add a subscribe option to your YouTube Channel
If you’re a vlogger or just simply a publisher of videos on YouTube, don’t forget to capture the audience that finds you through YouTube. Include a subscribe call to action overlayed across the video itself, but also include a subscribe link in the description area of your video.
28. Run a paid search ads campaign to capture leads
The way you are going to do this is by creating a landing page, using a landing page creator such as LeadPages. Your page is going to have only one goal, which would be to get people to opt-in. Ideally, you’re offering something with a ton of value, that people are searching for, hence why they would land on your page through a paid search ad. This is a scalable way to grow your list, but remember, because you are reaching a mass audience, there is a large chance that you will collect a lot of unwanted leads, so you will have to make sure you are are creating a funnel that works effectively enough to weed the unqualified out.
29. Create content upgrades on your most popular posts
Without a doubt, you should be creating blog posts that have supplemental “content upgrades.” Content upgrades are content pieces that serve to upgrade that blog post. So for instance, I have included a content upgrade to this blog post: Step by Step Guide to Creating Your First Facebook Lead Ad. The goal is to offer your readers something additional in exchange for their email address.
30. Ask your LinkedIn contacts if they’d like to be added to your list (Use a tool like GMass to email in bulk)
There’s nothing like the traditional warm outreach strategy. LinkedIn makes it incredibly easy to reach out to people in our network. Find people within your network that would find value in receiving your email. You can export the email addresses of the contacts within your LinkedIn network and conduct a series of outreach emails asking individuals if they’d like to be a part of your email list. Now you shouldn’t cc everyone on the same email and send out a mass email blast. No, and that already shows them what poor email etiquette you have. Instead, use a tool such as GMass which schedules and sends emails and follow up emails, allowing you to personalize before you send.
31. Get featured in an industry newsletter (or pitch a blog post to editor)
When it comes to growing your email list, you’re not going to get there if you don’t focus on traffic. One fairly easy way to start to gain reach is to get featured in front of other people’s audience. That can be through guest posting on other blogs or even co-partnering with someone else’s email list.
32. Share helpful posts on forums like Quora or Reddit
Both Quora and Reddit serve as great platforms for helping others out with their questions or joining in a popular topic. This is a great place to show off your expertise. While you shouldn’t go on these channels solely to promote your email newsletter, you should continue an ongoing conversation with the people in the group. As you begin to establish your expertise amongst the members in the group or discussions, this will open up opportunities for people to join your email list.
33. Pass around a paper signup sheet (Create a paper signup form)
While I’m giving you all of these digital ideas, believe it or not, one technique that is highly effective and that is not even digital at all, is to pass around a piece of paper for people, at your event or at a conference, to sign up for your list. You wouldn’t believe how effective it is for people to see that others have put their name down on a sheet of paper. Whether it’s due to guilt or FOMO (fear of missing out), people have a high tendency to enter that email on your sheet of paper.
34. Join a Facebook Group and share (within rules)
Similar to participating in Quora or Reddit, joining a Facebook Group can be an effective place to share your expertise and eventually drive people to sign up to your email lists.
35. Create Pinterest Pins for your blog post that includes content upgrades
If you don’t know this already, Pinterest is not a social media engine, it’s a search engine. It’s a great way to drive traffic back to those blog posts that contain those content upgrades that I mentioned above. Use Pinterest pins to promote your blog post, and watch the traffic, and in turn signups to receive your content upgrade come rolling in.
36. Create a signup reminder to accompany your podcast series
If you have a podcast series, you should have a landing page that encourages people to sign up for reminders when your new podcasts are published.
37. Sponsor an event in which you can email attendees after
If you have a budget for sponsorship, find organizations that throw events or conferences that attract your target audience. Usually, with an event sponsorship comes the ability to email the attendees after the conference.
38. Book a speaking engagement
Speaking is not only a great way to demonstrate your expertise, but it’s also a great way to collect email addresses afterward. Provide something, even if just slides, that you can give to the audience afterward. Use Leaddigits or the good old “pass the signup sheet around” method to collect emails.
39. Create a loyalty program, through your email signups
No matter what it is you are selling, you can create a loyalty program for your customers. Instead of just asking your customers if they’d like to receive marketing emails from you, give them a reason to say yes to a loyalty or rewards program. Having their email will allow you to keep them up to date on their loyalty point status, and also gives you a way to stay in their inbox.
40. Start a birthday club
Ask your customers and targets for their email by offering out a “birthday gift” on the month of their birthday. You’ll, of course, need their birthday and email address, and ideally name to provide this “gift,” so people will have no problem extending this information to you if they like what you do.
41. Write a long-form post or “epic” post – usually over
Ugh yeah, so like long-form posts, well this is one. “Epic” posts are usually posts that go over the 2,000-word count mark. Why are these so beneficial? Well for one, SEO. Secondly, epic posts demonstrate your credibility and further engage your audience. Remember people are more likely to give you their email if you already demonstrate good quality.
42. Start a monthly meet up
Intimate group meetings are an excellent way to grow your email list. As you begin to develop relationships amongst the small intimate group, you also begin to demonstrate leadership and authority. Collect email addresses of the people that show up to your meetings as a way to keep in touch with them over time in regards to the group.
43. Create a membership community
Taking the group meetings even further, by making the group meetings exclusive to membership, you get to heighten the deemed quality of the group. Have people “apply” to join before they are granted membership. You may want to have a member cap and keep those that are qualified on a waitlist, still providing them with useful content over email until they are eligible to become a member.
44. Follow and engage with people interested in your topic on Twitter
I once signed up for someone’s list simply because she engaged with me on Twitter. When I went to her page, her company totally aligned with my values, so in turn, I followed her, and then went to her website, and then signed up for her list.
45. Give away free samples of your book
If you have a book coming out, or any product for that matter, provide a free sample of that book, cutting it off at a cliff-hanger preferably. Let people know that all they have to do to receive the full copy is to enter or send over their email address.
46. Use a signup process in order for client to receive a free demo or free consult
Same as above, if you’re a software company, it makes perfect sense to offer free trials and demo access. Just make sure you collect email addresses before you offer out the demo.
47. Create a private Facebook group, require email address before joining
Facebook groups are created with the purpose of bringing together a group of like-minded individuals. But they also serve as a way to further represent your brand. You want to keep Facebook groups private and selected. You can screen people who request to join your group with a series of quick questions. You can also optionally or mandatorily ask for requestors email addresses. Remember though, you should let them know what you will be doing with that email. One of the better examples that I’ve seen is the moderator offered out a free resource guide in exchange for the person’s email.
48. After a customer has purchased, send out a survey or testimonial request (with opt-into email)
Another simple strategy to asking your customers to opt-in to your email list is to send a follow-up email asking them for their feedback or testimonial. In that email, you can also ask if they’d like to opt-in to your list.
49. Join local groups or associations (do not add people to this list, but ask them if they’d like to be a part)
If you’re a part of any local groups or communities, such as the Chamber of Commerce, ask people that you meet if they’d like to be on your email list. A simple follow up email saying “It was nice to meet you, I also have an email list that you’d probably enjoy” will do.
50. Use Facebook Messenger bot gain opt-ins
Facebook is heavily (but secretly) promoting the benefits of utilizing Facebook Messenger for your marketing engagement. Use a tool like ManyChat to integrate your communication and marketing funnel with Facebook Messenger. A great strategy to have is to move the people that comment on your Facebook posts over to your direct messenger platform. A tool like ManyChat will be able to streamline that conversation and gain opt-in to your list.
51. Create a referral email campaign with your “ambassador list”
Everyone has a tribe of people that will speak up on their behalf. If you don’t have those people, build those people. Tribes, or ambassadors, are great ways to get the word of mouth referral system working for you. Keep your ask simple. Give your ambassadors a quick line, along with a link so they can share with their network. Keep your ambassadors in the loop, via email, on what’s new so they can continuously share, and potentially get opt-ins, on your behalf.
52. Appear on podcast as a guest
Explained in further detail above, you can use podcasting as a vehicle for collecting emails. Rather than creating a podcast of your own, you can just be a guest on other people’s podcast. Let the host know that you have a number that people can use to opt-in to your email list, or your mini email course. Remember, this is where Leaddigits come in handy again!
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