15 Proven Strategies to Grow Your Email List

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Learning how to grow your email list isn't as tough as you think. I’ve been publishing an email newsletter since 2000, and I have to admit I wasn’t very attentive to the whole process at the beginning.  Hindsight is 20/20, and I could kick myself for not taking this strategy very seriously, as my email newsletter list is my gold mine because it’s filled with subscribers who already know something about me. 

Each week after I send out my ezine, I receive several emails that begin, "Hi Donna!  My name is <fill in the blank here>, and I know you don’t know me, but I know you, as I’ve been reading your newsletter for a couple of years now."  I love those emails, as I know that my reader has begun to like, trust and respect me — all the characteristics that need to be in place for them to decide to buy something from me. 

Many of you may be asking, "Well, Donna, isn’t the email newsletter dead?  Everyone is doing social media now."  True, social media is quite an effective way to publicize your business. However, I believe in the power of doing both.  Your social media assets are not ones you own - you lease them, so to speak, from the social media company. Consequently, they can disappear at any moment, or you can lose access to your account and not be able to regain it.  Your email list is an asset you own and control, as long as I can, I’ll be doing both..:) How can you grow your own list?  Or, if you’re just starting an email newsletter, how can you get subscribers to the list?

Here are 15 strategies I’ve used over the past 15 years to get subscribers that you can use to grow your email list:

1.  Tell your clients, colleagues, friends, and family.  Just like a birth announcement, tell everyone you know about your new "baby" — your email newsletter.  Because you want a list in which subscribers have opted in, don’t add people directly to the list.  In fact, many ezine distribution services don’t permit you to do that.  Instead, provide them with an email sign-up link, or send them to the form on your website where they can subscribe to your newsletter. 

2.  Have a sign-up box on every page of your website.  You never know on what page someone will land on your website. As I look at my website statistics, I am amazed at some of the search terms that visitors use that make them land on an internal page of my website.  Don’t take a chance that you might lose them — offer them the option to sign up for your newsletter on every single page of your website. 

3.  Make your sign-up box compelling.  Don’t have a simple sign-up box that says, "Join our mailing list."  Yuck–who wants to voluntarily receive more emails?  Not me!  Give your visitor a reason to sign up for your newsletter, i.e. "Join over 2000 other solo business owners who receive weekly advice on how to get more clients online." 

4.  Create one clear call to action.  If you have too many options for action on your website, your visitor will become overwhelmed and leave.  Conversely, if you don’t ask your visitor to take any action, you potentially lose that person forever.  Make your primary call to action on your website a request to subscribe to your email newsletter.  It’s short, simple, and to the point, and it will help you build your contact database gold mine. 

5.  Ask for only 2 pieces of info:  a first name and primary email address.  Many web surfers want to disclose as little personal info as they can, as they fear receiving spam or phishing emails. Make it easy for people to sign up for your list — require them to disclose only a minimal amount of info to be added to your newsletter list to better grow your email list. 

6.  Create a free lead magnet for new subscribers.  If you know your target market well, you know what problems they struggle with daily.  Write a short report/article/ecourse that provides the answer to a very overwhelming problem that they have.  They can receive the answer to this problem (your free lead magnet) by giving you their name and email address. Here are some ideas to create your lead magnet

7.  Create a squeeze page for lead generation.  A squeeze page is just what it sounds like — a website page that "squeezes" contact info out of a visitor.  I have created a landing page for each free lead magnet that I offer on my sites.

 8.  Make an offer in your signature file.  Don’t overlook the power of an effective email signature.  Whether you use it on a discussion list, online forum, online networking site, or just in an email that gets forwarded to someone else, make your signature file works for you.  In it, make an offer for your free lead magnet and let the reader know how they can receive that info. I’ve been hooked more than once by a compelling email signature — they really work to grow your email list! 

9.  Create a visual icon for your newsletter.  Visitors respond better to pictures than words.  If they can see a visual representation of your newsletter or of your lead magnet, they are more likely to see the value in what you’re offering and part with their contact info. 

10.  Use a pop-up or pop-over box on your website. Yes, pop-up boxes are annoying, but they’re quite effective.  Most of these newer varieties are not blocked by pop-up blocker software.  You’ll want to use one that’s eye-catching, contains a very compelling offer to subscribe to, and won’t be blocked by your visitor’s browser.

 11.  Make subscribing to your newsletter your #1 goal at events.  Anytime I attend an in-person networking event or speak at a meeting, my primary goal is to get people to subscribe to my email newsletter.  I simply ask people to indicate they want to receive my newsletter by placing an "X" on the back of their business cards, and then I add them to my list, and they are sent my opt-in message.  At one event, I had to tell the women at my table what I needed in the next 30 days, and I said I wanted subscribers to my newsletter.  Every woman at the table gave me her card and said, "Sign me up!" 

12.  Offer a free sample or your archives for viewing.  Some visitors have to be shown before they bite, so show them where you archive your prior issues and let them experience first-hand all the value you offer in your newsletter.  Once convinced, they’ll sign up! 

13. Ask for referrals from your readers.  In your newsletter or on your website, ask your readers to "tell a friend" about your newsletter. 

14.  Get your articles published in other ezines.  Writing articles and having them published online or in other people’s newsletters or blogs has been a tremendous asset in helping me grow my list.  Make sure that your article resource box (the info that appears about you at the end of your article) includes your compelling offer to get readers to sign up for your newsletter and receive your free gift to grow your email list. 

15.  Advertise on the back of your business card. The back of my business card contains compelling copy of my free lead magnet I offer for subscribing to my newsletter.  Don’t let the back of your business card go to waste and stay blank — make that space work for you by helping you add subscribers to grow your email list. 

Want more list growth ideas? This wonderful article from Optin-Monster, How to Grow Your Email List: 80+ Proven and Simple Ways, offers some unique ways to use that tool to grow your list. 

It takes time to grow your email list.  Better to have well-qualified prospects on your list who are truly interested in what you offer than a large list of people who never read what you write.  Implement 1-2 of these strategies each week to grow your email list. 

We recognize you might need help with this because you are wearing many hats. We would be delighted to provide a hand. If you need some help in creating an email marketing plan that can get you results for your business, we want to help you. Schedule a Brainstorming with Donna session to explore the best options for you.

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About Donna Gunter


Instant Sales Accelerator for Microbusiness Owners

I help seasoned small business owners create marketing ideas and strategies that raise their visibility, broaden their reach, and grow their revenues.

As a business owner with 24 years of experience, I am the cure for you if you have run out of marketing creativity. I have a unique ability to sense or see the underlying scheme of things, whether it's like a blueprint to build something or an x-ray that shows hidden connections, and connect the dots at a deeper level. I make it really Easy. Enjoyable. Effective. Just like your marketing will be.