Back to the basics: Growing your email list

July 6, 2017 McKenzie Gregory

 

So, you’re new to email marketing. Before you can start experimenting with tools like segmentation, automation, and dynamic content – before you can even send an email – you first need to develop an audience.
 
Building a sizable, quality email list is one of the most intimidating challenges you’ll face as an email marketer. But just because it's intimidating doesn't mean it's impossible; in fact, after implementing a few key tactics, you'll be shocked how quickly you can grow your list with the right people. 
 
To help, here’s a quick walkthrough of some of the most popular list growth methods and how you can use them to gain new subscribers fast. 
 
 

1. Capture website visitors with an email signup form. 

This one is the most common (and obvious) choice: An email signup form on your website.

Consider these things when building your signup form: placement, value proposition, and call to action. Make your form easy to find on your website, encourage signups with a valuable lead magnet, and use an engaging CTA like “Become a VIP” or “Join the movement” over more generic copy like “Sign up” or “Click here.”

Some other tips for a form that performs?

• Set clear expectations for the type and frequency of emails new subscribers will receive; this will help reduce opt-outs in the future.

• On your form, only ask for the information you actually need, like first name and email address. According to our friends at Privy, every field you add will reduce signups by 25%.

 

2. Host a webinar.

I can personally attest to the fact that not every webinar is an hour-long snoozefest. (Don’t believe me? Check out some of ours!)

Whether you plan it alone or with a strategic partner, webinars are a great way for your company’s thought leaders to show off their expertise and generate new leads who are genuinely interested in what your brand has to offer.

 

3. Create (and gate) a piece of valuable content.

Content marketing is a popular method of lead generation for a reason: It works. And though there’s something to be said for giving out your company’s best tips and tricks for free, when you put a ton of time and effort into a piece – like a guide, whitepaper, or in-depth case study – most people will be willing to part with a little bit of info in order to access it.

 

4. Give something away.

Just like people are willing to part with their email for valuable content, they’re VERY willing to part with their email for the opportunity to get some free stuff. Whether it’s a week-long trip to the Caribbean or just a t-shirt with your brand’s logo on it, giveaways are a simple and easy way to quickly attract new people to your audience.

 

5. Take things offline.

If have a brick-and-mortar location or you’re attending an offline event like a trade conference, be sure to use it as an opportunity to expand your online presence, too! Nowadays, you can keep the on-the-go email signup process seamless (and stylish) by using our handy Guestbook app for iPad.

 

6. Promote your email list on social

This one’s super easy to implement: Your social audience has already shown interest in your brand by choosing to follow you. So why not make the simple ask for them to sign up for your email list, too? I particularly loved the email signup experience local Nashville brand Nisolo provides their Instagram followers:

 

 

 

 

7. Encourage sharing

Make sharing your email as easy as possible by including share buttons within the body of the campaign. Providing unique and entertaining content certainly helps increase sharing and rewarding those who do with a special coupon or exclusive opportunity can go a long way. That's a built-in loyalty program!

 


 

And remember... 

While it may be tempting to buy or rent an email list instead of building one organically, we wouldn't recommend it.  Aside from the potential legal complications, the best email marketing builds a relationship between a consumer and a brand, and it’s difficult to do that effectively if the consumer never asked to hear from you in the first place.

A permission-based email list will always get you better results than a large list you purchased. Plus, when you email people who haven’t opted in, you risk damaging your sender reputation and landing in the spam folder for your entire audience – even the people who did sign up.

 


 

Have you had any luck with a list growth strategy we didn't mention? Share away 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.

Follow on Twitter More Content by McKenzie Gregory
Previous Article
How an inspiring nonprofit funds hope with email marketing
How an inspiring nonprofit funds hope with email marketing

To Write Love on Her Arms, a nonprofit organization, raises the majority of their funds with an e-commerce ...

Next Article
What metrics really matter in email marketing?
What metrics really matter in email marketing?

How to hone in on the email metrics that drive success for your business.

2017 Email Marketing Industry Report: What's Driving Today's Marketers?

GET IT NOW