8 genius email list growth strategies

January 12, 2016 McKenzie Gregory


Finding ways to keep your audience growing can be a little like going to the grocery store, or working out, or showering (…is that one just us?).

It’s something you have to make part of your regular routine if you want to keep yourself – or, in this case, your email list – healthy and thriving. But since you have to deal with it all the time (the average email list churns by 30% every year), it can also become kind of a drag.

So why not change things up every once in a while to reinvigorate your list growth efforts? Trying something new won’t just save you from marketing fatigue; it’ll also help you acquire more subscribers than ever before, which is critical to ensuring your email marketing gets the best results possible. After all, your emails can only do so much if you’re always speaking to the same, limited audience.

Here are 8 examples of brands that used one of our favorite (and most effective) list growth tools, the lightbox form, in new and interesting ways. Check ‘em out and experiment with your own ideas – you’ll be astounded how quickly one small change to your routine can pay off!



1. Shinesty

It’s list growth 101: Always state the value of joining your email list. Potential subscribers want to know, “What’s in it for me?"  Here, Shinesty makes their value proposition crystal clear: “Other people’s emails aren’t great, ours are. Oh, and here’s $10 for your trouble."

Their message is aided by some seriously clever imagery: A man decked out in Shinesty gear chopping up cans of spam and bold, bright copy that’s impossible to ignore make for a funny, on-brand, and super effective list growth tool.




2. Mouth

We’ve never seen a lightbox form look this ooey-gooey and delicious. The unique shape works perfectly for Mouth, a purveyor of indie food products, and sets up an expectation from the get-go that their emails must also be this fun and interesting. It makes you want to get their emails – and bash on some s’mores.




3. Domino

This lightbox from Domino utilizes a couple of smart strategies. First is the “If you liked this content, sign up now to receive more of it” play. The lightbox deploys a few seconds after someone starts reading their content, which they've clearly expressed interest in by clicking on it. By offering to send them more of that type of thing, you save potential email subscribers the effort of having to seek it out themselves.

Domino uses what’s commonly called the “negative opt-out.” Instead of merely allowing people to exit the lightbox by clicking an “x” or a “no thanks,” the copy forces them to either opt in or choose a much more negative option – in this case, “I don’t want great style.” It’s a controversial tactic, but in many cases, it does make individuals think twice before choosing not to subscribe.




4. Chilli Beans

This lightbox from Chilli Beans works similarly to the one from Shinesty, but the brand’s approach is a little different. Rather than contrasting their value against the (lack of) value of other brands’ emails, Chill Beans simply introduces themselves, what they’re about, and what they have to offer. And the brand gets bonus points for a CTA – “Join us” – that promotes a sense of belonging.




5. Combatant Gentleman

Unlike many brands that design their lightbox to starkly contrast with their web page, Combatant Gentlemen chooses one that seamlessly blends into the page. The minimalist style works really well with the overall look and feel of the site and comes across as much more stylish than the typical signup form. 



6. Vanity Fair

Jude Law + cocktails? We're sold already. 

This lightbox from Vanity Fair opts individuals into their daily "Cocktail Hour" mailing, and it effectively promotes the value of the newsletter – politics, celebrity news, fashion, etc. – without relying too heavily on copy. When it comes to signup forms, less is often more; and in this case, Jude's winning grin is enough. 




7. Mario Batali

The Batali brand is often ahead of the curve when it comes to their marketing efforts, and this lightbox form is no different! It’s rare to see a GIF within a lightbox form, which makes this one all the more attention grabbing. It showcases a little bit of that iconic Batali personality and compels people to sign up to see more of what the celebrity chef has to offer.




8. Frye

Though incredibly simple, this lightbox from Frye is especially smart because, by asking for an individual's gender during the signup process, the brand is able to immediately segment new subscribers. For retail brands that offer both men and women’s merchandise, this tactic is a great way to ensure you immediately send each recipient items that directly fit their needs and interests.



Encountered a particularly compelling lightbox form recently? Tell us about it in the comments!


About the Author

McKenzie Gregory

McKenzie Gregory is a content writer on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.

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