How To Grow Your Email List: 55 Most Recommended Tips

Written by Sarah on 1st May 2017

If you’re a neatly user, you might have seen that we recently released a brand new ‘Increase my Email List’ goal to help you keep track of your progress when growing your subscriber lists.

To help you hit that target, I’ve gathered all the tips on how to grow your email list into one place and so you can pick out the best options for you.

I started by looking at the top 10 organic results on Google for How to Grow Your Email List (as of 24 April 2017).

From that, I managed to put together a huge list of 307 tips for growing your email list, though many of them were duplicates. To make sense of it all, we painstakingly categorized each tip to narrow it down into 40 areas that you could focus on.

Of course, 40 areas is a lot to cover, so we thought we’d break out some of the bigger areas in this first part, and we’ll look at the smaller topics later.

We’ll start by looking at the areas mentioned the most times to give you a sense of what you should be focusing on.

Social Media Networks

Utilizing your social media network in some way shape or form was our biggest category, with 33 tips in total for this one.

After removing the duplicates, we broke down the tips related to social media into two areas: Call to Actions and Distribution.

Let’s start with that first one. You need to make sure your using the different opportunities you have on your social media profiles to add a CTA. Every social media profile is different, but whether it’s using the call to action button on Facebook’s cover photos or including the URL of your email list signup in your bio, make sure you’re utilizing it.

Next, make sure every time you create a piece of content that you’re using social media to distribute it. From engaging with Google+ communities (if there are any that are still active that is) to putting exclusive content on Pinterest, you should have a clear distribution strategy that involves social.

The Tips

  • Pin your opt-in landing page on Pinterest.
  • Take part in LinkedIn groups
  • Use Twitter lead generation cards.
  • Use YouTube call-to-action cards
  • Use SlideShare lead forms
  • Add a signup button to your Facebook Page.
  • Add a call-to-action to your Google+ Page
  • Add social proof
  • Add a call to action to your Facebook cover photo
  • Add a call to action to your YouTube Channel
  • Use Foursquare
  • Use Google+ communities
  • Share your email archives on social media
  • Add a link to your landing page from the bio sections of your social media profiles.
  • Add a sign-up form to your Facebook Page.
  • Add calls to action for your opt-in offers in your YouTube videos.
  • Add social sharing buttons to your newsletter.
  • Engage people on social media and promote your opt-in offer.
  • If you use Wistia for video you can use their turnstile feature to capture emails directly in the video.
  • Ask your social media followers to sign up.
  • Mention Relevant Influencers on Twitter
  • Pin a tweet on your twitter page that promotes your landing page and opt-in offer.
  • Post in Facebook groups and make sure people there know you have a free ebook or opt-in offer. (Note: this could annoy people, be careful.)
  • Preview New Offers on Social Media
  • Promote Exclusive Content on Pinterest
  • Promote the “subscribers only” discount on social media.
  • Promote your landing page or offer in a relevant LinkedIn group.
  • Promote your opt-in offer and landing page on your LinkedIn page.
  • Publish Offers on LinkedIn
  • Schedule a social media call to action promoting your opt-in landing page to tweet out every couple weeks.
  • Put your link in your Instagram bio

Epic Content

This next tip may seem like an obvious one but I was incredibly pleased to see this in the top 2. No matter what the format of the content, it needs to be great.

Here’s the different ways it was described in our list:

  • Great
  • Amazing
  • Remarkable
  • Helpful
  • Sexy
  • High Converting
  • Consistent
  • Killer
  • Epic

So what makes epic, killer, consistent, high converting, sexy, remarkable, amazing and just pure great content?

Well, that’s another blog post entirely, but really it comes down to the people you’re targeting. Ask them what kind of content they’re looking for and start providing it.

Don’t just think it has to be all text either, there are so much more ways you can deliver epic content. A few mentioned in our list:

  • Email Course
  • Quiz
  • Actionable Book
  • Video

Having epic content isn’t just about using the content to bring subscribers in, but also having epic content to continually provide to them once they’ve signed up.

It’s no use trying to grow your email list if they’re all unsubscribing as quickly as they sign up.

So you’re gonna need to continue producing epic content for your subscribers. You might then take the approach of producing exclusive content for your subscribers only.

The key thing is to identify what content your audience would like to see and which format they respond to.

Lead Generation

This category is all about techniques on how to capture those email addresses.

Content Upgrades are all about offering something as an upsell to a particular piece of content. As an example, a real estate blog might write about how to value properties. A content upgrade could then be a spreadsheet that allows a potential customer to input variables and have the property value generated for them. This is a great way of earning subscribers as you’re offering them a valuable tool in return for their address.

Gating content is another way of doing this. Create an amazing resources for your customers, but only allow them to see part of it, the key part they’ll have to sign up for. This is also sometimes called the Cliffhanger technique.

Throughout this remember our previous point – your content needs to be epic at all times.

The Tips

  • Add content upgrades to your blog posts.
  • Make some of your content gated.
  • Create a Free Download
  • Create an opt-in offer
  • Create some “subscribers only” specials, giving discounts to people on the email list.
  • Give Away Regular Downloads
  • Have a Password Protected Part of Your Website
  • Offer an .mp3 audio file of you explaining deeper something from a blog post or page on your website as an opt-in offer.
  • use lead boxes in the author byline
  • Write an eBook

Popups

So after you’ve created your epic content, how do you get those emails?

The next tip on our list helps you with that! Popups are perhaps the most paradoxical strategy out there. People seem to actively hate them, but they’re still one of the most recommended techniques out there. Hey, if it works it works right?

The Tips:

  • Install an exit popup
  • Install a scroll box
  • Install a timed lightbox popup
  • Trigger a floating bar by user behavior
  • Place a prominent opt-in box on your homepage
  • Use a feature box to present lead magnets
  • Show an opt-in message at the top (or bottom) of every page of your site.
  • Use one of those “slide the whole page down and show you a big message” plugins.

The tools recommended include Optimonk, Sumo, and WP-Topbar.

Of course, there’s no right or wrong answer about whether you should or shouldn’t use pop-ups. The best recommendation? Test it!

Upsell your email from traditional marketing methods

For all the talk about digital marketing methods, not all businesses exist purely online. In 2015 retail sales value was over $3.9 trillion compared to online sales $294 billion. Retail isn’t going anywhere.

That’s just one example of the offline world vs online, so when your goal is to grow your email list, don’t think that online is your only option. You have a ton of offline space to sell your email list.

Surprisingly a lot of the options we covered included QR codes. When Snapchat allowed users to follow each other using QR Snapcodes it may have restarted the intrigue around QR. Could your business also benefit from QR codes?

Whether you use QR codes or just a good old call to action, there are plenty of places for you to do so outside of the digital world. Some of the suggestions include your brochure, business card, direct mail, signage or even asking your salespeople to add an email to a client’s account.

The Tips

  • Add a sign-up link or QR code to your brochure.
  • Add a sign-up link or QR code to your business card.
  • Add a QR code to print marketing collateral
  • Ask for Sign-ups from Direct Mail
  • Have a Sign-up Sheet
  • Have QR Codes on Signage
  • Reward people who check in to your store on Facebook by offering them a discount and asking for their email address.
  • If you have a direct mail (snail mail) list, send them a postcard and ask them to signup for your email list instead.
  • If you have brick and mortar store have a place for customers to signup in the store.
  • If you ship products to customers, include a card or note enticing customers to signup for the email list.
  • Request Emails on Sales Calls

A key thing to remember is to find a way to track the users who signed up to your list from an offline channel. There are many ways you could do this, from using a QR code to using a link shortening service such as Bitly.

Another way could be to direct potential subscribers to a landing page built specifically for these subscribers.

Offline events

Another popular category also focused on tactics outside of the online world, specifically at offline events.

Again, the online world is not the only place that you can garner new subscribers, you can also start engaging the people you meet to sign up (within reason of course).

The most obvious tip is to host your own event. When people sign up to attend your event you can capture email address’ and ask them to opt-in to your list.

But there are also options when you’re attending events organized by others. I will however give the sternest warning that this should be approached with the utmost respect both for the organizer of the event and to those who you’d like to sign up.

If you’ve got a stand at the event, there’s no harm in having an iPad or form for people to enter their email address. You could even, as one tip suggested, add a fishbowl to your counter for business cards. Just make sure people know that they’re signing up to your email list.

The Tips

  • Host a local meetup
  • Add a fishbowl to your counter
  • Book a speaking engagement
  • Collect email addresses at offline events
  • Find local events like street fairs and meetups and engage people to signup for your email list.
  • host your own offline, in-person events
  • Invite People to an Event
  • Speak at an Event
  • Start a Club
  • Visit Trade Shows

And that’s the first 6 areas from our list! Phew! To recap, growing your email list should involve:

  • Epic content both before and after signup
  • Distributing that content effectively on social media
  • Using effective lead generation techniques
  • Including Call to Actions on your social networks
  • Utilizing pop ups
  • Running or engaging with offline events
  • Encouraging customers to sign up within your traditional marketing efforts.

As with all marketing strategies, you don’t need to implement all these. Look at the resources you have and the audience you’re targeting to identify which ones would be the most effective.

Stay tuned for part 2!


Also published on Medium.