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How to Grow Your Email List in 12 Simple Steps

How to Grow Your Email List in 12 Simple Steps

Expanding your email subscriber list can significantly impact your business or brand. With a more extensive list of engaged subscribers, you can drive more traffic, increase sales, and boost customer loyalty. This comprehensive guide will teach you how to grow your email list ethically and effectively.

Why Email Marketing Still Matters

Email is far from dead. With over 4 billion daily email users worldwide, it remains one of the most popular digital communication channels. Consider these email marketing statistics:

  • Email achieves a median return on investment (ROI) of $42 for every $1 spent, the highest of any marketing channel according to DMA's “Marketer Email Tracker.
  • 91% of consumers check their email daily (Statista).
  • Around 306.4 billion emails are sent and received each day globally (Radicati Group).
  • 59% of marketers say email generates the highest ROI compared to other channels (Ascend2).

As you can see, email marketing can generate impressive returns when executed properly. Let’s explore proven strategies to expand your subscriber base.

Set Up Email Collection Points

You can’t grow a list without having email sign-up options in strategic locations. Make it easy for visitors to join your list by placing email collection modules throughout your website and other assets. Proper places to add sign-up forms include:


  • Homepage header/footer
  • Blog Sidebar
  • Landing page pop-ups, Checkout page, Thank you/receipt pages

Beyond Your Website

  • Social media bios/profiles
  • Paid ads
  • YouTube descriptions
  • Webinars/presentations
  • Printed marketing collateral

Test different form placements to determine optimal locations that drive the most sign-ups without being too intrusive. Be sure forms are mobile-friendly, too.

Offer a Lead Magnet

Lead Magnet Landing Page Demo

Lead magnets incentivise visitors to exchange their email addresses for something of value, such as:

  • Ebooks/whitepapers
  • Cheat sheets
  • Checklists
  • Free trial subscriptions
  • Discounts
  • Video training

According to Campaign Monitor, lead magnets can help you:

  • Increase email sign-ups by up to 53%
  • Lower cost per acquisition by up to 55%
  • Generate 2.5x more revenue per email

Ideally, the lead magnet should provide value and relate to your products, services or brand to attract qualified leads. For example, a software company could offer an ebook like “5 Ways to Boost Workplace Productivity.”

Promote Your Forms

Placing sign-up forms everywhere won’t grow your list if no one sees them. You must actively promote your offers so people know where and why to join your list.

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Blog, Social Media & Email

Content published on your blog, social channels and customer emails all provide opportunities to highlight your lead magnet incentive and call-to-actions (CTAs) to subscribe.

  • Blog posts can include a CTA + link to the lead magnet form within the body text or sidebar.
  • Social updates can periodically remind followers of the lead magnet and direct them to the form.
  • Customer emails can feature a section that promotes subscribing to your list for future updates.

Paid Ads

You may need to spend some ad dollars to get your forms in front of fresh audiences beyond your existing traffic sources. Consider:

  • Social media ads to get your CTA + form link seen by more of your target customer personas where they actively spend time online. These platforms have advanced targeting options to hone in on your best-fit audience.
  • Google Ads can help you capture website visitors searching for topics related to your business by serving them a strategically messaged ad with a lead magnet CTA that drives click-throughs. Choose keywords closely aligned to your offer.
  • Retargeting ads enable you to re-engage visitors who have already come to your site but didn’t sign up initially. Dynamic creative and persistent messaging across platforms can nudge them to join your community for the free incentive.

Continually test ad variations, landing pages, and form placements to optimise conversions.

Grow Your Network with Partnerships

Sports Partnerships For Marketing

You likely interact with other companies and influencers in your industry. Leverage these relationships to cross-promote lead magnet offers in front of each other’s audiences.

Potential partners may include:

  • Complementary businesses that serve the same target customers but offer different products/services. For example, an accounting firm could partner with a payroll processing company.
  • Affiliates and influencers who create content for your shared target demographic. An outdoor gear brand could work with hiking bloggers.

Arrange creative ways to co-promote each other’s opt-in incentives and provide affiliate sign-up links:

  • Send dedicated emails
  • Run social ad campaigns
  • Swap blog/newsletter guest posts
  • Add links/modules to partner websites
  • Promote jointly-offered lead magnets like co-branded ebooks
  • Co-host a promotable live stream or webinar

This expands exposure beyond your channels by tapping into your trusted partners’ engaged follower bases.

Convert Customers into Subscribers

If someone buys from your business, collect their email during the transaction so you can continue nurturing them post-purchase.

  • Offer an immediate post-purchase incentive in exchange for their email signup on the checkout confirmation/thank you page. This could be a coupon code usable for future purchases or exclusive content like a unique guide.
  • Feature an on-page/post-purchase email sign-up form they must fill out to access purchase receipts, tracking info, downloads, support docs, or other fulfilments.
  • Email order confirmations and tracking updates should include invite links to join your list for product announcements, coupons, etc. if they aren’t subscribed.

Remind satisfied paying customers of the value of staying subscribed to receive relevant offers and content moving forward.

Make Signing Up Easy

The fewer hurdles to subscribing, the more sign-ups you’ll capture. Boost convenience with innovative form design:

Form ChecklistDescription
⛔ Avoid mandatory fields beyond an email addressExtra requirements like name, company, and phone number can deter sign-ups
✅ Use checkbox opt-ins, not togglesCheckboxes demonstrate all possible permissions upfront
✅ Make privacy policy and unsubscribe links visibleBuilds trust in how you’ll handle data
⛔ Limit emails to one boxMulti-field forms reduce completions
✅ Default to checked opt-in boxesMost users don’t uncheck, so set proper expectations
✅ Place the submit button prominentlySolid coloured button with clear CTA text
⛔ Omit captchaIt adds extra hassle for humans

You’re better off with some incomplete sign-ups than deterring conversions with excessive fields or speed bumps. You can continue collecting subscribers' data over time through gentler list management tactics.

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Offer Confirmation Incentives

To encourage form completion, provide an immediate payoff for signing up.

  • Deliver the promised lead magnet immediately via email download or confirm subscription via a “Thank You” message.
  • Show a coupon code or particular discount offer post sign-up that they can redeem because they’re now a member.
  • For gated content offers, provide instant access to the protected material right after subscribing.

Fulfilling what was promoted delivers value and trains subscribers to expect your incentives are worth pursuing.

Make Registration Mobile-Friendly

An estimated 42% of email opens happen on mobile devices today. If your forms aren’t mobile-optimised, you miss out on potential subscriber growth.

Ensure seamless visibility and usability across devices:

✅ Use responsive design, so form resizes on mobile screens

✅ Increase button sizes for easier tapping

✅ Don’t hide forms behind non-responsive pop-up overlays

✅ Test and confirm functionality on all devices

Prioritising mobile speed and ease of use removes extra barriers subscribers face.

Continually Retarget Site Visitors

How Email Retargeting Works

Don't count them out even if someone doesn’t sign up at first sight. Implement retargeting and remarketing tactics to continually re-present your email subscription offer across channels.

You can target online engagement beyond initial visits with the following:

  • Site behaviour tracking pixels like Google/Facebook pixels
  • Site visitor cookies to track returns
  • Connected browsing data matched via standard IDs

Then, it will serve follow-up emails, social media ads, custom website pop-ups, and more to display comeback offers.

The more impressions an offer gets over time, the more likely conversion becomes for reluctant subscribers open to persuasion.

Make It Beneficial

Promoting your list is easier when you provide ongoing value that makes membership worthwhile. Using emails and content to demonstrate staying subscribed has advantages.

Possible subscriber perks include:

  • Exclusive deals and promo codes
  • Early access to new products/content
  • Select member-only giveaways
  • Behind-the-scenes or “insider” updates
  • Advanced previews, betas
  • Prioritised support
  • Rewards programs

Highlight subscriber advantages in your on-site messaging, too. Show visitors examples of what active list members gain access to.

When crafted thoughtfully, your email list community can feel like an exclusive club with coveted benefits.

Optimise Onboarding Sequences

Mobile Screens For Onboarding Tutorial

automatically welcome and nurture new subscribers by setting up post

-signup onboarding sequences.

Purposefully guide fresh emails through an educational journey, introducing them to your brand, products, and mission via a pre-determined flow of messages over time.

Onboarding series tips:

  • Start immediately so momentum and recall are strong.
  • Spread over multiple emails to allow digesting.
  • Offer choice/preference setting for better targeting.
  • Provide special subscriber freebies, discounts
  • Ask for feedback and suggestions to improve their experience
  • Ultimately, move them closer towards being loyal brand advocates!

This automation allows delivering value at scale while leading subscribers down defined paths and personalising their lifecycle stage.

Review Analytics for Insights

The data doesn’t lie. Regularly monitoring email list reports provides critical details about where, when and how people sign up.

Useful email metrics to track include:

  • Total subscriber counts over time
  • Growth rates month-over-month
  • Top referral sources driving most sign-ups
  • Conversion rates by promotion channel
  • Day/time breakdowns for engagement peaks
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Look for upward or downward trends, campaign/creative performance, and other behavioural patterns.

Let data guide your optimisation priorities to double down on what works and improve underperforming areas. Continual testing and refinement based on insights will grow subscribers.

Igniting Exponential List Growth

Segment Email List

Consistency and creativity are vital to continually expanding your community. Avoid stagnation by trying these advanced tactics:

Research Lookalike Audiences

Marketing platforms allow the creation of custom target audiences modelled after your current high-value subscriber segments.

For example, if women ages 30-40 with young families in the U.S. Southeast sign up the most, platforms can find more similar people for campaigns.

Broaden your reach to fresh, qualified prospects that mirror existing subscribers’ key traits like demographics, interests, and behaviours.

Create Email Spin-Offs

Once your main subscriber list grows considerably, segment off niche branches around unique topics/offers sent less frequently.

For example, an online toy store could segment unique lists for:

  • Educational toy updates
  • Outdoor playground gear deals
  • Board game enthusiasts
  • DIY/crafts projects

This provides subscribers more choice around which emails they receive, giving you more laser-focused groups to cater messaging and incentives by interest.

Allow User Profile Management

The more control subscribers have to customise their preferences, the longer they remain engaged.

Build subscriber loyalty with options like:

  • Email frequency choices
  • List category selections to assign (e.g. listings by product type, use case, special interests)
  • Subscription status pauses/resumes

Giving subscribers control over profile tailoring strengthens your permission levels, too. They select receiving communications at their desired volume on defined topics rather than getting frustrated by irrelevant overload, eventually causing them to opt out or report as spam.

Reward Referrals

Word-of-mouth promotion from existing, satisfied subscribers enables exponentially growing subscribers virally.

Incentivise referrals with perks like:

  • Discount codes
  • Loyalty points
  • Exclusive early access
  • Digital rewards

Make sharing and inviting others low-friction by embedding email tools into confirmation messages, onboarding sequences, or the subscriber preferences centre.

Launch Chatbots

AI-powered chatbots give instant responses to questions and access to resources that move visitors closer to opting in. Bots can capture emails, direct to forms, or automatically enrol users.

Top chatbot abilities:

✅ Available 24/7 to catch late-night browsers

✅ Seamlessly blend opt-in options into conversations

✅ Hyper personalisation with intelligent responses

Site visitors who are not ready to provide emails can still be nurtured through messaging sequences until they convert.

Troubleshooting Slow List Growth

If your subscriber counts plateaus or declines despite efforts, revisit these common issues:

Poor Incentive Quality

Assess whether your lead magnet thoroughly delivers the value sought by your targets. Freshen up outdated offers or pivot ones, producing lacklustre response rates.

Website Barriers

Forms hidden behind too many clicks go overlooked, and inconveniences suppress sign-up motivation for those who find them—Declutter paths to subscribe.

Faulty Onboarding

Deficient sequences fail to convey the benefits of staying active list members, so new additions quickly disappear—review for engagement gaps.

Irrelevant Messaging

Contacts disengage and opt out if emails rarely cover topics relevant to their interests and needs. Confirm your segments and targeting. Also, use a free email verifier to maintain a clean and engaged contact list.

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Restrictive Frequency

Too many emails annoy subscribers, but equally problematic is not emailing consistently enough. Find optimal cycles and stick to them.

Uninspiring Design

Outdated templates with spam-like aesthetics can prevent emails from even being opened where sign-up offers exist—Prioritise design.

Monitor critical metrics diligently to correct subscriber contributions slowing down so you can continually scale up email list growth.

How to Grow Your Email List FAQs

Get answers to the most commonly asked questions around building subscriber lists:

How often should you email subscribers?

Campaign Monitor says the best email frequency is 1 to 4 monthly emails or 2 to 12 yearly. Sending too infrequently risks losing mindshare, while overly emailing annoys contacts.

What is the average email open rate?

Benchmarks typically fall around 15% to 25% open rates on average. Well-designed, relevant emails can achieve above 30%. Open rates below 10% suggest difficulty connecting with subscribers.

How long should you wait before re-engaging inactive subscribers?

Wait 90 days before attempting to reactivate dormant subscribers, according to ReturnPath’s optimisation research. Use incentives and personalised messaging in your re-engagement outreach.

When is the best day and time to send emails?

Emails see higher open rates mid-week between Tuesday and Thursday. Afternoon sending between 1 and 3 pm has also shown optimal delivery success.

How vital are mobile-friendly emails?

With the majority of opens now on mobile, responsive design is extremely important. Fast load times, readable templates on small screens, and clickable buttons help mobile engagement.

In Conclusion

Growing a highly engaged community of email subscribers has a transformative business impact. It drives repeat traffic, increases customer lifetime value, provides direct revenue channels via email promotions, and strengthens brand voices.

This guide covered start-to-finish best practices for capturing emails ethically and expanding subscriber counts sustainably over time using on-site conversion optimisation, promotions, partnerships, automation, personalisation, analytics, and constant testing.

Be obsessive about continually delighting your list with relevant value. Treat your subscribers like VIPs, and they will reward you with loyalty, referrals and sales far surpassing campaign costs.

The digital landscape evolves rapidly, but email continues to excel as a tool to build customer relationships at scale when nurtured diligently. Follow these subscriber-boosting strategies, and dramatic list growth will accelerate your marketing success.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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