How to get your subscribers to help you grow your email list

McKenzie Gregory


When the average email list churns 25-30% year-over-year, finding ways to keep yours on the uptick can feel like an impossible task.

You don’t want to be too intrusive or annoy your casual website visitors by asking them to sign up over and over again. At the same time, you know that someone inviting you into their inbox propels them way further down the path to conversion – plus, it gives you a fantastic opportunity to nurture them into repeat customers. So what do you do?

Leverage the audience you already have! One of the great things about your current subscribers is that they’re already connected with other, like-minded individuals who might be interested in your brand. So by involving your audience in your list growth efforts, you won’t just attract new subscribers – you’ll attract the right kind of subscribers.

Not sure where to start? Here are four simple ways to leverage your current audience and grow your email list like never before.



1. Take advantage of referral programs

You may have noticed this trend in your inbox recently: Refer a friend, and if they sign up, a brand will give you both something in exchange (e.g. a discount, a monetary credit, a free eBook).



Providing an incentive for the current and the new user is a smart and simple way to make current subscribers do the heavy-lifting for you.

If you want to keep your efforts focused on list growth and not just gaining new customers (although I can’t see the downside there!), the path goes something like this:

• Subscriber receives an email containing a personalized sign-up referral link
• Subscriber sends the link to a friend
• The friend signs up using the subscriber’s link
• Both the subscriber and the friend receive a reward

Simple enough, yeah? If you want to set up your own email referral program, Zapier has an excellent step-by-step guide you can check out here.



2. Make sharing (and opting in) effortless

This one’s quick and easy to implement, but it makes a world of difference:

• Add share buttons to your email template – both for social channels and for forwarding in the inbox. That way, your recipients can effortlessly pass along your fantastic content to their friends, colleagues, family, whatever.
• Put a link like this in the header of your email so recipients of the forwarded email can easily sign up for your list.




3. Host a contest

I don’t know about you, but I will share, like, or retweet pretty much anything if it means a chance to win some sort of fantastic prize. Encourage your audience to share your emails, signup form, or simply post about you on their own network for some sort of incentive.





Sure, not every brand can give away a guitar autographed by Flea. But you’d be shocked how crazy people go for free stuff, even if it's something simple like a t-shirt or swag with your brand’s logo on it.



4. Harness the power of social proof

You aren’t limited to your audience’s activities in the inbox to grow your list – outside the inbox works just as well, too! In this example, Revolve nestled their signup form in a sea of user-generated content showing off their real customers wearing their products. That kind of social proof is powerful stuff, and it helps draw in subscribers who may not have otherwise paid attention to their signup form at all.




Any other ideas for leveraging current subscribers to grow your list? Share away in the comments!


About the Author

McKenzie Gregory

McKenzie Gregory is a senior content manager 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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