Are you looking for simple, proven strategies that will teach you how to grow your email list fast?
You can spend lots of time optimizing your email copy, subject lines, and design. But if you don’t actually have an active list to send to, all of that effort will be wasted!
That’s why in this post we’re going to share how to grow your email list. Most of these tips are completely free and easy to do. But they’re still incredibly powerful, so don’t overlook them.
Let’s get started!
What is an Email List?
An email list is a collection of email addresses that businesses can send email marketing messages to.
Think of it like a mailing list, but instead of sending physical letters, you send messages through email.
Large companies and small businesses alike often use email lists to send newsletters, promotional offers, or updates to their customers or members.
People can choose to join an email list by providing their email address and giving permission to receive messages from the sender. This process is called opting in or subscribing.
Why You Need to Grow Your Email List
Your email list slowly loses subscribers over time. People unsubscribe from your list, change their email addresses, or move on to other companies and leave their emails behind. A subscriber who doesn’t open your emails is just as bad as not having that subscriber at all. To keep your email marketing ROI high, you need to keep adding new subscribers to make up for the ones who leave.
It’s important to continue growing your list of email subscribers. 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.
Your email list is a bit like a garden. It takes time for seeds to grow, just as it takes time for new subscribers to become paying customers. Just like a real garden has seeds that don’t take root, not every new lead will convert. Some will unsubscribe over time. To make up for these lost subscribers, you need to continuously grow your email list.
With that in mind, here’s some ideas for how to increase your email list.
23 Ways To Grow Your Email List Fast (and for Free!)
1. Use Popup Optin Forms
Popup forms are a great way to collect email addresses on your website. With the right messaging and targeting, you can offer exclusive content and other offers to encourage email newsletter signups. The easiest way to create these popup forms is with OptinMonster.
OptinMonster is the best list-building software for collecting email addresses from website visitors. Here are just a few of the many ways you can use OptinMonster to grow your email list:
1. Display exit-intent popups just as a visitor is about to leave your website, and they can be a highly effective way to capture email addresses. It’s easy to build these popups with OptinMonster’s drag and drop visual builder.
2. Offer incentives, such as discounts, free trials, or exclusive content, to encourage visitors to sign up for your email list. There are plenty of templates in OptinMonster to choose from or you can create your own from scratch.
3. Use OptinMonster’s targeting and personalization features to show different popups to different visitors based on their behavior or location.
4. A/B test different designs and incentives to find out what works best for your audience.
5. Connect OptinMonster with your email marketing platform, like Mailchimp or Aweber, to automatically add new subscribers to your email list.
By using OptinMonster’s popups, you can collect email addresses from visitors in a non-intrusive way, and turn them into subscribers for your email list.
2. Add a Call-to-Action to Your Social Media Platforms
If you’re already using social media for your business, it’s super easy to invite your social media followers to join your email subscriber list.
All you need to do is create a landing page with an email signup form. You can use a plugin like SeedProd to build a landing page in WordPress, or see if your email service provider comes with landing page signup forms.
Once you have your email signup page ready, just add the link to your social media profiles. Most platforms have a place for you to share a website. Insert your landing page URL in that field and you’re good to go.
You can pin this page on Pinterest, pin a Tweet with the link to the top of your Twitter account, add the link to your Instagram profile, put a signup link on your Facebook page, and more.
If you have some budget to spend, you can also optimize Facebook Ads to drive traffic to your signup page.
3. Link to Your Signup Form in Your Email Signature
How many emails do you send in a day? Probably dozens, if not hundreds, right?
At the bottom of every email is your signature. This is a perfect opportunity to share your email list signup form. If you’ve created a landing page for your social media accounts already, just use that same link here. If not, you can use one of these landing page plugins to build one.
Your signup page doesn’t need to have a lot on it. All you need is a bit of information about who you are and what your emails are about, an email optin form, and maybe a few testimonials about the quality of your content.
4. Place a Signup Button on Your Email Marketing Campaigns
Your email marketing campaigns can help promote themselves. Your subscribers may forward one of your awesome emails to a friend, which is basically a referral that you didn’t even need to ask for.
But even if that friend reads your email, that doesn’t mean they’re signed up to your email list themselves. So make sure to include a call to action button on each email inviting new readers to join your email subscription list. You can also include some language asking your subscribers to forward your emails to someone who might find it helpful. You’d be surprised at how effective this can be for email list building!
5. Host a Giveaway
People love to enter and win contests, so a giveaway is a great way to grow your email list of potential customers. There are a few ways to run a giveaway for your email list:
The easiest way is to randomly choose a winner from your email list. This means that people need to subscribe and stay subscribed for a chance to win.
You can also use a contest plugin like RafflePress to give out entries for email signups, social media follows, blog comments, and other actions that boost engagement.
Another giveaway option is to use a spin wheel optin form. New customers can enter the email address to spin the wheel for a chance to win a discount, bonus gift, or other incentive. This gamification marketing strategy can significantly boost conversion rates.
6. Offer a Lead Magnet
While some subscribers will be interested enough in your existing content to give you their contact information, others will need more persuasion. That’s when you can offer a lead magnet.
A lead magnet is a valuable piece of content that attracts email subscribers. This is a great way to grow your email list because it provides value to your audience and encourages them to sign up.
To use a lead magnet effectively, start by identifying what your target audience wants or needs. This could be anything from a free eBook, discounts, template or cheat sheets, or an educational video. Here are some optin ideas for inspiration.
Once you have a lead magnet, create a landing page on your website that explains the benefits of your lead magnet and provides a signup form for visitors to enter their email address.
You can promote your lead magnet on your website, social media profiles, and in your email marketing campaigns. By using a lead magnet, you can grow your email list with new subscribers who are interested in what you have to offer.
7. Build a Lead Generation Quiz
A lead generation quiz is a type of online quiz that is designed to generate leads for a business. The goal of a lead generation quiz is to collect contact information from visitors in exchange for access to the quiz results.
Lead generation quizzes are typically created using a tool like Thrive Quiz Builder. You can integrate your quiz into a website, social media profile, or email marketing campaign. The quiz builder lets you create a series of questions that are related to your product or service. Then there’s a signup form where visitors can enter their contact information.
Lead generation quizzes can be a very effective way to engage with potential customers and grow your email list. By providing valuable content or insights in exchange for contact information, you can build a relationship with your audience and increase the likelihood of converting them into paying customers. Additionally, the results of the quiz can be used to segment your email list. This allows you to send targeted and personalized content to specific groups of subscribers.
8. Run Informative Webinars
Webinars are a powerful tool that can help you build your email list and engage with your target audience. They provide an excellent opportunity to engage with potential customers, provide valuable content, and collect contact information.
To create a successful webinar, make sure you have a clear objective, choose a relevant topic, promote the webinar to your target audience, and provide valuable content during the presentation. Additionally, you need to follow up with attendees after the webinar, as this can help build a relationship with them and increase the likelihood of converting them into paying customers.
9. Include CTAs Throughout Your Website
Many business owners think that if they ask once, that will be enough. In fact, most people need to see an offer several times before they consider acting on it. That’s why you need to include many ways to join your email list throughout your website.
Here are some places you can include signup forms and other list-building CTAs:
- floating bar at the top or bottom of a page
- high-traffic blog posts
10. Present at a Conference
Speaking at an online conference or summit is a fantastic way to grow your email list. If you choose a conference that your target audience is likely to attend, you can easily meet lots of people who will be interested in what you have to say.
Depending on how the conference is organized, you can include a signup link in your presentation or the conference program. You may also be allowed to offer a special discount, exclusive products, or other incentive just for conference attendees. This can motivate people to join your email list after hearing you speak.
For those of you attending conferences in person, you can include a link to your email signup page on your business card. Make sure the link is easy to type. You can also use a QR code for the link, or offer the option to join by text.
11. Send a Welcome Email
Imagine you invited some new friends to your home. But when they got there, the lights were off, there was no food or drink, and you were nowhere to be found. Do you think any of them would ever accept your invitation again? Probably not!
Email marketing is the same way. When someone first subscribes to your email list, that’s the best opportunity to make a good impression.
Welcome emails have some of the highest open rates out of all marketing emails. So make sure you send one that introduces your brand to the subscriber, explains what they can expect from your emails, and gives them an easy action to take, like following you on social media or reading a blog post.
Your email service provider should have a way to automate a welcome email, or even a series of emails, when a new subscriber signs up.
12. Host a Challenge
Online challenges are similar to giveaways and are great for driving engagement and new subscribers.
An online challenge, or challenge funnel, is a contest where participants perform specified actions to gain a certain result. Some examples include workout challenges, social media posting challenges, or habit tracking challenges.
The results of the challenge are often rewarding enough, but you can also offer a prize for people who complete the challenge.
An online challenge is a chance for new leads to work with you for free. This builds trust, and can also show people just how hard it is to do the task without the service or product that you offer. Often, that can be motivation for people to buy your product or book a service package.
13. Publish Guest Blogs or Guest Newsletters
Another way to grow your email list for free is to collaborate with other businesses on content marketing that benefits both of you.
You could write a guest blog post for their website and add a link to your email list signup. That post can then be shared on social media, email marketing, and other channels for both of your businesses.
Creating content is hard work, so why not share the labor with another business? You may want to choose someone who works with a similar target audience but isn’t a direct competitor. For example, copywriters can collaborate with designers, while business coaches could team up with business software companies.
14. Add a QR Code to Print Materials
Even in the digital marketing age, don’t underestimate the power of printed marketing materials. People still read print publications about their industry and receive physical mail. In fact, it may be a good way for you to stand out!
A QR code is a graphic that can be scanned with a smartphone to reveal a URL. Include a QR code leading to your email signup page to encourage people to join your email list.
15. Show Social Proof
Our inboxes are crowded, so sometimes even the most exciting lead magnet isn’t enough to convince people to sign up for yet another marketing newsletter. That’s where social proof can help.
Social proof is the tendency to look to what others are doing as an indicator of what the best or correct behavior is. If a visitor sees that lots of people are subscribed to an email list, they’re more likely to believe that they could benefit from subscribing too.
Social proof can be as simple as including the number of subscribers on your list, though this can be a pain to update manually.
You can also include real-time notifications whenever someone subscribes. A social proof notification tool like TrustPulse can automatically update so you don’t have to worry about it.
16. Publish Case Studies
Case studies are more detailed than testimonials and show not just what the end result was but how your product or service helped get them there. Case studies can be extremely convincing social proof for growing your email list. But how?
Case studies can be used as a lead magnet. People are curious to see how others like them solved similar problems, so they’ll be motivated to sign up.
When you publish a case study, both you and the subject have something interesting to share on social media. Make sure you include a call-to-action (CTA) to encourage visitors to sign up for your email list.
You can also use case studies in your email marketing campaigns to educate your audience and provide valuable information.
17. Use a 2-Step Optin
It may seem counterintuitive to add steps to a process, but doing so can actually improve your conversion rates.
That’s because of something called the Zeigarnik effect. This means that once someone starts a process, they’re more likely to want to complete it. The Zeigarnik effect is what makes 2-step optins so effective.
A 2-step opt-in form is a type of lead generation form that can be highly effective in growing your email list. The first step involves asking visitors a question that is relevant to your brand or the content you are offering. That question is usually a Yes/No question, but it doesn’t have to be.
The second step involves asking for their email address. Visitors who complete the first step are already primed to continue saying yes and complete the signup process.
You can even add another step by sending a confirmation email that new subscribers need to click on to confirm their subscription. By asking visitors to confirm their subscription, you ensure that only people who are genuinely interested in your content will be added to your email list. This can lead to increased engagement with your audience and a higher return on investment for your email marketing efforts.
18. Turn Blog Posts into Content Upgrades
If you already have lots of blog content that’s driving plenty of search engine traffic, use that to your advantage. A content locking form can turn any blog post into a lead magnet.
The content locker form can hide or blur content beyond a certain point. Readers can unlock the rest of the content by entering their email address. This is one of the best ways to grow your email list with engaged subscribers who are already interested in your content.
By using blog posts as content upgrades, you can also segment your email list very effectively based on topic or page visited.
19. Offer Coupons and Free Gifts
If you’re looking for ways to grow your email list of eCommerce customers, here are some incentives you can use:
- Discount codes
- Free shipping
- Bonus gift
- First access to new products
- Waitlist for restocked products
- Referral and VIP program bonuses
Email marketing for eCommerce can be highly effective at boosting sales so it’s worth it to grow your email list for your online store.
20. Start a Referral Program
Existing customers and clients can be a wonderful source of leads. They already have experience with your brand and many don’t even need an incentive to refer you to their friends.
But a formal referral marketing strategy can make the process more efficient and rewarding for everyone. You can set up a simple referral form popup with OptinMonster that can collect both the name of the new referral and the existing customer.
21. Send Engaging Email Content
This often gets overlooked, but the best way to grow your email list may be to hang onto existing subscribers. After all, you’ve already done the hardest work of convincing them to sign up. Don’t let that effort go to waste by sending boring emails, or worse, nothing at all.
Here are some ideas for what to send in your email marketing campaigns:
- Helpful content like how-to guides, blog posts, podcast episodes, and YouTube videos
- Promotional content like new product announcements, coupons, and case studies
- Timely content like event invitations and webinars
- Informational content about your business story, job postings, and behind-the-scenes sneak peaks
You don’t have to email every day, but you should try to send emails regularly so that subscribers know when they can expect to hear from you.
22. Segment Your Email List
Email segmentation is the practice of dividing your subscriber list into groups based on demographics, purchase behavior, and other characteristics. You send different content to different segments. Segmentation can significantly increase conversions and grow your email list because you’re sending relevant content that subscribers actually want.
Some segments you can create in your email list include:
- Purchase history
- Website activity
- Content interest
- Stage of the sales funnel
- Device and email client
23. Maintain High Deliverability
There’s little point to growing your email list if none of your subscribers open or even see your emails. That’s why you need to manage your email deliverability carefully.
Never try to take a shortcut by buying an email list. This is illegal in many places and will definitely get you lots of unsubscribes and spam reports. This will severely hurt your email deliverability even to legitimate subscribers.
Make it easy for subscribers to manage their preferences or even unsubscribe. While it hurts to lose subscribers, it’s better for them to unsubscribe than to report your email as spam.
If you’re switching from one email service provider to another, you may need to “warm up” your list by sending from the new ESP in batches. A large number of emails from a new account may trigger spam warnings.
Email deliverability tends to be a self-reinforcing cycle. Once your deliverability starts to drop, it can trigger deliverability issues elsewhere. So stay ahead of these problems with email verification tools to ensure high list quality and deliverability.
Conclusion: Growing Your Email List Can Be Easy!
We hope this list gave you some ideas for how to grow your email list. As you can see, the best ways to grow your email list don’t have to be expensive or difficult. You just need to be strategic about:
- Inviting new subscribers to join your list
- Offering compelling reasons to subscribe
- Keeping existing subscribers engaged with your emails
Next, check out the best email marketing automation tools and some more proven tips on getting more email subscribers. Best wishes as you grow your email list!