How to Grow Your Email List | 15 Ways

May 14, 2021

Email is a central part of modern digital marketing. Done correctly, it has the potential for immense ROI, generating up to $38 for every dollar spent on an initiative.

You have to get it right, though. Even the best email strategy will matter little if you aren’t able to send it to a wide audience. Unlike other forms of digital marketing efforts, like SEO and social media, this tactic only works if you have the contacts in your database already.

So let’s talk about how you can grow your audience. In this guide, we’ll focus on 15 unique and proven ways to grow your email list and, in turn, make every message you send more successful.

Ways to Grow Your Email List

1. Create Lead Capture Forms.

It starts with a simple lead capture form on your website. Your site should include plenty of opportunities for your audience to provide their email address. These lead capture forms could be incentivized with gated content or coupons (more on that below). But still, even simple forms to contact your business or receive a price quote can help capture prospective customers’ email addresses.

2. Engage Niche Groups.

On outlets like LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as listservs and other common industry groups for your target audience, look to engage prospective customers. Actions as simple as being an active part of the discussion can lead to new connections, ultimately resulting in more leads for follow-up email communication.

3. Create a Buyer’s Guide.

A buyer’s guide for your audience is an inherently valuable tool with which, when they’re ready to make a purchase, they can decide what product works best for them. Create your own and offer it to your audience for free, but ‘gate’ it behind a sign-up form to receive their contact information in return.

4. Build Immersive Content.

In addition to straightforward gated content like the above buyer’s guide, more immersive content can also prompt your audience to provide their contact information for access. That might include anything from webinars to a virtual tour, which has recently gained steam in some industries.

5. Cross-Promote With a Strategic Partner.

Do you know of any other businesses that target the same audience as you, but not for the same pain points? They could be a great strategic partner. Create cross-promotional opportunities, from webinars to social media promotions, to help grow each other’s email lists.

6. Host a Contest.

Depending on your industry, a contest can be a great and simple way to gather contact information. Host a simple giveaway on social media, with the only entry requirement being your audience’s contact information. It requires some investment for the giveaway items but typically pays off tenfold through the leads you can generate.

7. Ask for Feedback.

No matter your industry, audiences love nothing more than providing their opinions. Make it easy for them by creating feedback forms on your website and other channels. As long as you’re clear that providing feedback can lead to follow-up promotional communication, you can use these forms to generate more email addresses in your system.

8. Create Frequent Content.

Through your blog or newsletter, frequent content can keep your audience interested and build your thought leadership over time. In addition, you can use the regular posts to incentivize your audience to subscribe for updates, leaving their email address in the process.

9. Leverage Social Media Lead Ads.

Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter all offer the opportunity to run ad campaigns that place the lead capture form right on the ad. Because it pulls in information from your audience’s profile automatically, these lead forms tend to have high conversion rates and can play a major role in growing your email list.

10. Build Better Email Content.

Sometimes, the best tactics are the simple ones. If you send great emails to everyone on your email list, they’ll be more likely to share it. Once they do, others are more likely to sign up to receive them on their own. Simply creating better email content, in other words, can help grow your list.

11. A/B Test Your Email Promotions.

One of the best ways to improve both your emails and the way you promote lead subscriptions? A/B testing. Studies repeatedly show that split testing is one of the single most important pieces of any growth marketing campaign. By showing slightly different variations to random segments of your audience, you can learn the type of language and layout that converts best.

12. Add YouTube Calls to Action.

If you’re active on YouTube (and research suggests that you should be), take advantage of the ability to place strategic messages and calls to action throughout your videos. Especially at the end, prompting your audience to subscribe to your newsletter, blog, or download gated content can be immensely effective.

13. Build Out Your Funnel.

Successful inbound marketing goes far beyond simple promotional pushes via email list. Instead, it pays to build a comprehensive lead nurturing strategy that guides your audience through the entire funnel, providing additional value while gently nudging them towards the sale. The better built-out your funnel is, the more likely your audience will be to follow it through—and encourage others to do the same.

14. Collect Emails In-Store.

If you are operating with any type of in-person interactions, whether it be a brick-and-mortar store or through physical events, use them as an opportunity to collect prospect email addresses. Any of the incentives mentioned in this guide can help, but even the simple promise of a follow-up can be an effective tool.

15. Use Coupons and Sales Promotions

Finally, don’t be afraid to use your sales promotions and coupons as a way for your audience to provide their contact information. A simple 15% off coupon, or buy one get one promotion, is usually enough for prospective customers to leave you their contact info.

Ready to Build Your Email Marketing Strategy?

Email marketing’s immense potential for success is undeniable, but so is the complexity in achieving it. Using the above tips, you can grow your email list sustainably and for more long-term success—but you might need help getting it right. Work with us to create and execute a reliable strategy, integrated into your larger growth marketing efforts.

About the Author: David Bell

Founder of Diving Bell Creative a growth marketing agency for startups. David's a growth marketer, advisor, and investor.