80+ Simple Ways to Grow Your Email List (Most are Free!)

Are you looking for simple, proven strategies that will teach you how to grow your email list FAST?

When most people talk about email marketing, they jump into email copy, catchy subject lines, open rates, and tracking unsubscribes.

But before you can get to any of that, you’re missing one crucial component: to send out email marketing campaigns, you first need a robust list of people to send them to!

That’s why, in today’s post, we’ll share 80 proven and trusted email list growth strategies.

Here’s a table of contents to help you find your way around:

Why Email List Growth Matters

So, why should you always be looking for new ways to grow your list?

The more subscribers you have, the more opportunities you have to book services, sell products, and earn money through affiliate links and display ads. Your email subscription list is one of the most valuable assets your business has. The audience on your email list already wants to hear from you, and are usually the most prepared to buy. Unlike social media or SEO marketing where you have to fight unknown algorithms to be seen, your email list can send your message straight to your customers’ inboxes.

Your email list naturally degrades by about 25% every year. People unsubscribe or get new email addresses. You should also be scrubbing your email list regularly to remove unengaged subscribers and preserve your deliverability. To make up for these lost subscribers, you need to continuously grow your email list.

How to Build an Email List Fast (for Free!)

To start, you might want to check out his video with 11 ways to grow your email list for free!

But that’s not all! Here are 80 more email list building ideas that are proven to work and super simple to do.

How to Grow Your Email Subscription List By Increasing Traffic

You can’t grow your email list without web traffic. So our first set of ideas is all about getting more visitors to your website.

1. Start blogging. If you don’t already blog, you should! No matter your industry, blogging creates content that’s going to make it easier for your site to rank higher in search engine results.

2. Host webinars. You can host a webinar for free using tools like YouTube Live or Zoom, and they convert really well because live events have a high perceived value.

3. Host a giveaway. Require participants to use the signup form with their email address, and give them additional entries when they share the giveaway on social media.

This is easy to do with the RafflePress plugin for WordPress:

rafflepress is the best wordpress giveaway plugin

This is one of the BEST solutions if you’re trying to figure out how to build an email list FAST.

4. Create a quiz and require users to enter their email address before they can download their results. You can use tools like Interact or Qzzr to do this.

grow your email list with a fun quiz


5. Offer a free tool or free software that requires an email address to sign up.

6. Use Facebook ads to drive traffic to your optin landing page. Just make sure you optimize your Facebook ads to increase conversion rates.

7. Pin your optin landing page on Pinterest. Then, you can boost your pin with Pinterest ads to drive even more traffic.

how to grow your email list on pinterest

8. Promote content on Pinterest. Create Pinterest boards by topic and pin beautiful visuals with links to your site.

9. Answer Quora questions that are related to the topic of your lead magnet. Then include a link to your optin landing page for further reference.

10. Search forums for questions related to the topic of your lead magnet. Then answer the question with a link to your optin landing page.

how to grow your email list using forums

11. Answer questions in Facebook groups. Just don’t post the link to your email optin unless it is allowed by the group admin. Instead, you can ask members to private message you for the link if they want it.

12. Ask for feedback. Create an online survey to find out what your visitors want to know about your business and products. You can even ask for feedback about the type of content visitors want.

kennedyblue exit survey example to grow your email list

13. Participate in LinkedIn groups to become known as an expert, and then post the link to your optin landing page when the time is right.

14. Submit guest posts to popular blogs serving your target market and include a call to action (CTA) in your author byline with a link to your optin landing page. Just make sure to avoid these 6 mistakes when writing your guest posts.

15. Add a call to action to your About page with an inline optin form.

16. Partner up with an influencer or set up a cross-promotion and do an exchange: they send an email to their list about your optin offer, and you send an email to your list about theirs. You both grow your email lists (FAST) in the process! Learn all about influencer marketing strategy and cross-promotions before giving it a try.

17. Use paid search ads to drive qualified traffic to your optin landing page. Just make sure your lead magnet offers the answer to the question they were searching for.

18. Add a QR code to all your printed materials and link them to your optin landing page. Here’s how to do it.

qr code example

19. Use native ads to capture leads from other websites and apps that have a similar target audience as yours.


20. Use online communities to grow an audience of people interested in your topic and then promote your optin form. Some users are leaving social media platforms in favor of private community platforms like Mighty Networks, Circle, and MemberPress.

21. Comment on blog posts, and when you fill out the “website” field, use the URL to your optin landing page.

22. Host a free challenge for a specific number of days, and require that participants enter their email address to register.

grow your email list fast with a smoothie challenge example

23. Publish a landing page with a ton of free content related to your lead magnet so that you can rank in search engines for relevant keywords. Then include a prominent optin box for your lead magnet.


How to Grow Your Email List With Subscribers From Your Other Channels

Chances are, you’re already on social media and creating content for your business. Use that content to point potential customers to your email subscription list!

24. Add a call to action to your podcasts, telling listeners how to sign up for your lead magnet.

25. Share your email archives on social media to show people what they could get by being on your list.

26. Ask your existing subscribers to share or forward your marketing emails to a friend by including a “Forward to a Friend” button at the bottom of your newsletters.

how to grow your email fast example from lenny

27. Add a signup button to your Facebook Page. Here’s how to do it.


28. Add a call-to-action to your Instagram bio with a link to your optin landing page. Here’s how to do it.

29. Add a call to action to your email signature linking to your optin landing page.

30. Ask people to join your email list by text (useful for podcasts or television interviews).

31. Add a newsletter optin checkbox next to the submit comment button.

32. Add email signup to your event, so when people register they can opt into your subscriber list too.

33. Reward subscribers or employees for referring their friends to join.

ask customers to refer friends

34. Add email signup to your mobile app, with an incentive to get people to sign up.

Another way to grow signups is to make sure your popups work across all devices. More people are using their phones to browse the web, so it makes sense to invest in mobile optin forms.

35. Host a Twitter chat to get people talking about your lead magnet. Here’s how to get started.

36. Create snaps on Snapchat with a call to action to sign up for your list.

37. Add a call to action to all of your bios on your various social media profiles with a link to your optin landing page.

38. Film lead-generating Instagram Stories. Learn more about them here.

instagram stories example

39. Make your YouTube videos interactive with call-to-action cards. Then, link the cards to your optin landing pages. Here’s how to do it.youtube cards to grow your list

40. Add a call to action to your Facebook cover photo, encouraging visitors to sign up with their email.


41. Add a call to action button to your YouTube Channel with a link to your optin landing page.


42. Use SlideShare lead forms to capture potential customers with your PowerPoint and slide presentations. Check out our tutorial here.

slideshare lead form

43. Add sharing buttons to your email signature, your thank you page, and to your lead magnets themselves so that your existing subscribers can spread the word for you.

How to Grow Your Email List In Person

Don’t forget about people you meet out in the real world! There are plenty of ways to use your physical storefront or personal presence for email list building.

44. Book a speaking engagement and use that opportunity to pitch your lead magnet.

45. Host a local meetup and pitch your free optin offer to collect email addresses.

46. Add a signup link or QR code to your brochure.

47. Add a signup link or QR code to your business card.


48. Add a fishbowl to your counter (for brick-and-mortar businesses) and ask shoppers to leave their best email addresses in the bowl for a chance to win a prize.

49. Include a call to action on a sandwich board outside your store, encouraging shoppers to sign up for your email list.


50. Use Foursquare to post an alert to people in your area with a link to your optin form.

51. Add a call to action to your local business listings, such as your Yelp page, with a link to your optin landing page.

yelp-example for how to grow your email list fast

How to Grow Your Mailing List With Better Forms

Once visitors reach your site, they need to know about your email list before they can join it. Here are some ideas for creating better-converting email optin forms.

52. Install an exit-intent popup on every post and page on your website to convert abandoning visitors. Here are 40 exit popup hacks you can use.

Exit Intent GIF from OptinMonster

53. Install a timed lightbox popup on content-heavy pages to convert readers who have been reading and enjoying what you have to say.

digital marketer guide as a lead magnet

54. Add location-specific embedded signup forms above and below your blog post content that feature that content’s specific content upgrade.

embedded campaign

55. Collect data from your sidebar form to discover what variations work better.

OptinMonster sidebar form

56. Trigger a floating bar by user behavior so that it is perfectly targeted based on the referral source, the page the user is visiting, and the time they’ve spent on your site.


57. Include a prominent header with your call to action on your homepage.

michael hyatt email optin form

58. Display page-specific optin forms. In other words, don’t just show the same optin on every page or blog post, use a lead magnet or content upgrade that is specific to the content the visitor is currently viewing.

Rich Page used this page-level targeting popup to increase its optins by 316%:


This is a surefire answer to the problem of how to grow a mailing list fast.

To get more email subscribers from your website, you need to use a tool like OptinMonster to build your specialized optin forms.

optinmonster new homepage

OptinMonster is the best email list building tool on the market and the easiest way to add new subscribers. It comes with a drag and drop builder that lets you easily build eye-catching popups to collect email addresses on your website.

With OptinMonster’s templates for growing your list, you can quickly and easily create popups such as:

  • Offering your readers a content upgrade, like a free eBook, in exchange for their email address
  • Timed optin forms that appear only after they’ve spent some time engaged with your content
  • Targeted popups that are only shown on specific pages, like your posts with the most traffic

Most of the popup examples on this list were made with OptinMonster. It’s the perfect solution for bloggers, small businesses, large enterprises, and everything in between.

There’s a reason why OptinMonster is known as the best lead generation software in the world. Whether you drive traffic to your site with paid ads, SEO, or word-of-mouth, this tool can SKYROCKET your email list building efforts.

Ready to see for yourself? Just click below to start your 100% risk-free OptinMonster account today:

Get Started With OptinMonster Today!

BONUS: Done-For-You Campaign Setup ($297 value)Our conversion experts will design 1 free campaign for you to get maximum results – absolutely FREE! Click here to get started →

59. Add social proof by showing off how many other people are subscribing (or have subscribed) to your list. TrustPulse is an awesome way to quickly and easily add social proof to your site using real-time activity!

trustpulse social proof notifications software

Here are more ways you can use social proof.

60. Add reviews and testimonials below your optin forms to convince visitors to sign up. Here’s a fun example from Marie Forleo’s B-School:

b-school testimonials to show social proof for growing your email list

61. Install a scroll box on your blog posts (works especially great for long-form content) and use your content upgrade as the lead magnet.

Scroll Box

62. Publish case studies. Everyone loves stories, and your case studies show visitors how other folks are using your product to accomplish great things.

63. Add credibility by explaining what qualifies you to give them this information.

64. Make your optin copy relatable by avoiding corporate-speak and jargon. Instead, use the same language that your subscribers use when they talk normally.

65. Keep your optin form simple: you should only ask for first name and email maximum, at least at first. Embrace progressive profiling. It will reduce friction for your visitors and boost your leads. That means your new leads are more likely to become new customers.

Lilach Bullock converted 57% of website visitors with this simple popup.

pop up design inspiration -Lilach-Bullock-Fullscreen-Campaign

66. Add your anti-spam policy right below the submit button on your optin form to increase conversions. For example, “Your email address is 100% secure, and we will never sell your information to a 3rd party.”

67. A/B test your call to action to figure out which offer or wording converts the best.

How to Grow Your Email List With Better Incentives

Sometimes it’s not the optin form that turns subscribers away. Rather, the incentive may not be compelling enough. Let’s look at some ideas for how to grow your newsletter list with better lead magnets.

68. One-up the competition with your lead magnet by making it bigger and better. For example, if your competition is offering a 30-point cheatsheet checklist, make yours a 50-point cheatsheet checklist.

69. Add content upgrades to your blog posts. These could be as simple as a PDF, condensed version of the post with additional, “bonus” information. Here are 30 content upgrade ideas you can use.

scarf lead magnet example to grow an email list

70. Make some of your content gated. Gated content is content on your website that can’t be accessed until the visitor enters their contact information. Use OptinMonster’s Content Lock feature to gate your content and grow your email subscription list FAST.

content locking example to show how to grow your email list

71. Offer different lead magnets for different segments of your audience. Here’s an example of a popup that offers a choice of multiple lead magnets based on the user’s needs:

multiple choice popup example

72. Give a preview of your newsletter to show visitors what they’re missing out on if they don’t sign up.

How to Grow Your Mailing List for eCommerce

73. Offer a coupon in exchange for an email address instead of a traditional lead magnet if you have an eCommerce site.

OptinMonster comes with prebuilt templates that allow you to offer coupons on your site.

coupon popup final example

74. Start a loyalty program to encourage shoppers to sign up for your email list.

75. Start a birthday club to reward those who signup for your email list with special discounts and bonuses on their birthday.

76. Add email-only offers to your boxes, packages, and mailings.

77. Add a newsletter optin checkbox to your e-commerce checkout page. If you use WooCommerce, you can use the Newsletter Subscription addon to do this.

How to Grow Your Email List by Reducing Unsubscribes

Once subscribers join your email list, it’s important to do whatever you can to keep them on there. Otherwise you’ll spend so much energy growing your email list only for subscribers to leave as fast as they join. High-quality content is key to keeping subscribers on your email list.

78. Create amazing email content. Learn how to write email marketing copy that converts.

79. Segment your email list to create targeted content that your subscribers will love. Audience segmentation is a key component to increase your email campaign’s success. Here are 50 ways to segment your mailing list!

80. Keep your email list clean. Here’s how to scrub your email list.

That’s it! Now you know 80 tips for email list building!

The Best Way to Grow Email Lists in 2022

Want to kick your efforts into overdrive? Click below to start your 100% risk-free OptinMonster subscription to start growing your email list FASTER right now:

Get Started With OptinMonster Today!

BONUS: Done-For-You Campaign Setup ($297 value)Our conversion experts will design 1 free campaign for you to get maximum results – absolutely FREE! Click here to get started →

Looking for even more tips on how to grow your email list fast? Then you’ll love these resources:

These will teach you even more ways to grow your email list FAST with OptinMonster.

Jacinda Santora
Jacinda Santora is a writer specializing in eCommerce and growth marketing. She prides herself on her ability to make complicated things easier. When she isn't writing you can find her daydreaming about campervans, drinking coffee, and listening to podcasts.


  1. Thomas Griffin July 7, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Thanks for reading this article – I hope you found it helpful.

    I wanted to let you know about our powerful Exit Intent® technology that converts abandoning website visitors into email subscribers and customers. Typically 70% of the people who visit your website will leave and never return, meaning all those marketing efforts to reach them have gone to waste.

    OptinMonster’s Exit Intent® technology detects user behavior and prompts them with a targeted campaign at the precise moment they are about to leave.

    You can unlock this powerful technology 100% free when you purchase our OptinMonster Pro plan.

    Get started with OptinMonster today and see why 1,000,000+ choose OptinMonster to get more subscribers and customers.

    Thomas Griffin
    President of OptinMonster

  2. Jenny Sheridan April 27, 2017 at 3:47 am

    Some great tips thanks

    1. Sharon Hurley Hall April 27, 2017 at 5:52 am

      Happy you found the article useful, Jenny. 🙂 You might also enjoy this piece on welcome emails, which has examples and best practices. And please follow us on Facebook to keep up with our guides as we publish them.

  3. This is the best email packed with insane amount of info I have ever gotten about blogging. TY!

    1. Sharon Hurley Hall April 11, 2018 at 5:46 am

      Happy you found it useful, Kay. 🙂 Next, try our list of content upgrade ideas for even more email list growth.

  4. It’s no longer a buzzword that email marketing has the highest ROI of all marketing channels. Amazing tips! Keep doing good work.


  5. Excellent content. Full of useful tips & ideas. Will be using some of the ideas for a new website and campaigns being run in Brisbane, Australia. Thanks so much for sharing & keep up the great work. – I am now officially a fan!!!

  6. Very helpful! I will definitely use this to grow my business


    1. Deana Weinheimer December 15, 2021 at 5:16 pm

      We’re happy to help, Ria! Thank you for the comment.

Add a Comment

We're glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated according to our privacy policy, and all links are nofollow. Do NOT use keywords in the name field. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.