Email marketing success: How to grow your email list

Harlan Dave Tantog

In the bustling digital marketplace, your email list is a gold mine. It’s personal, direct, and powerful, pivotal for small business owners, eCommerce gurus, website maestros, and fresh-faced entrepreneurs alike.

Here, we’ll unpack practical, straightforward strategies to not only grow your email list but to turn it into a lever of business growth. Get ready for actionable insights that will help you connect, engage, and convert your audience right where it counts: their inbox. Let’s jump in!

Tips to help you build a strong email marketing list

Knowing who you’re talking to is the first step to a successful marketing strategy. Your email list isn’t just a list; it’s a community comprised of unique individuals with different needs and wants. To really connect with your website visitors and boost conversions, you need to know them like how your favorite barista knows your order. Here’s how to craft personas that hit the mark:

  • Gather data: Dive into your sales data, social media insights, and customer feedback to start sketching out who your audience is.
  • Segment and personify: Break down your audience into segments. Create detailed personas for each, from ‘Budgeting Brenda’ to ‘Enterprise Eric’, making them as real as possible.
  • Refine continuously: People evolve, and so should your personas. Use surveys, interviews, and engagement metrics to keep your understanding sharp.

Choose the right email marketing platform

Your email marketing platform is your best friend in this journey. It should fit like a glove to your business’s needs and preferences, so let’s compare notes:

  • Features vs flair: Don’t get dazzled by features you won’t use. Keep your business size and needs front and center. Do you need advanced automation, or is a simple drag-and-drop builder more your speed?
  • Ease of integration: Does the platform play nice with your current tools and systems? Seamless integration can mean the difference between smooth sailing and tech headaches.
  • Scalability: Pick a platform that grows with you. Starting small? Look for providers that scale up with you, whether that’s in terms of the number of email subscribers or the complexity of your needs, without breaking the bank.

By understanding your audience and selecting an email marketing platform that’s a perfect fit, you’re setting the stage for a list that doesn’t just grow but flourishes.

Create an opt-in strategy that converts website visitors

A compelling opt-in form is the secret on how to grow your email list. Keep it simple and straightforward for your potential customers. Ask only for a name and email and make your call to action irresistible—think “Join our community” over a plain “Subscribe.”

Placement is key, too. Position website forms where visitors naturally focus: the top of your homepage, at the blog post’s end, or during peak engagement moments like well-timed pop-up forms. High-converting forms often include a teaser of newsletter content or an immediate reward, like a discount code, to sweeten the deal.

Start with an enticing sign up form

A sign-up form is a digital way to collect email addresses from your website visitors. By submitting their email addresses, website visitors subscribe to your mailing list and get your messages. You can also collect other info about them, like their name, location, or interests on the form. Let’s first look at what this sign up form can look like.

Types of sign-up forms

You want your sign up form to appear on a high-traffic website page. After all, the more people that see it, the more chances you have that people will subscribe.

There are several types you can choose from:

  1. Static sign up form. These are stationary blocks that you can put on your website’s homepage, in your sidebar, in a blog post, or on a dedicated page for subscribing.
  2. Pop up formA pop-up form will appear over your web page and give you a bit more real estate to convey your value. Most tools will let you set the time before the form pops up as well. We recommend 45 seconds, but be sure to test this to see what works best for your audience.
  3. Notification bar formA notification bar form sits at the very top of your site or blog.
  4. Slide-in form. A slide-in form appears on screen as a user scrolls down a page. It usually moves in from the lower right corner.

What to write on your sign-up form

The first thing you should do on your sign up form is set expectations. Doing so creates a foundation of trust with your subscribers. They know exactly what they’ll get from you. Meanwhile, you attract quality subscribers who want to hear from you.

If someone doesn’t like what you promise on the form, they won’t sign up. And that’s okay! You don’t want them on your list because it’s likely they never would have opened your emails anyway.

Answer these three questions to set clear expectations on your sign up form:

  1. What content will you send?
    (Your recent blog posts, curated industry news, product promotions, advertisements, data, research.)
  2. How often will they hear from you?
    (Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly?)
  3. Why should they sign up?
    (Benefits of their subscription like education, insider knowledge, coupons, early-bird access.)

Create a lead magnet 

The right lead magnet turns a casual browser into a committed subscriber. The goal isn’t just to collect email addresses. It’s also to provide value by solving a problem or offering a great resource.

For instance, if you’re catering to small business owners, a free invoice template can be just the ticket.

Do you like free stuff? Of course you do.

You know who else likes free stuff? Everyone.

A lead magnet is a freebie piece of content you create in exchange for subscribers to sign up to your email list (example below!). Think of it as an incentive to get them to hand over their email address. It can convince the right people to subscribe to your list (those who are likely to buy), establish trust, and assist in converting your leads into customers.

Email marketing conversion copywriter, Val Geisler, gives away a free guide to writing high-converting email campaigns on her sign up form:

Provide value

Your lead magnet doesn’t have to be a free 100-page eBook or a 14-episode video series to get your subscribers to sign up. But it does have to be valuable.

The content should be high-quality, fresh, creative, and useful. If it’s just something your subscribers can find on Google or full of content that your competitors also provide, your readers are less likely to sign up.

A lead magnet can be:

  • A selection of your best blog posts.
  • An infographic.
  • A video or podcast episode.
  • Tools, templates or checklists.
  • Answers to a list of FAQs on a specific topic.
  • A list of must-read content you curated from other industry thought leaders.
  • A humorous GIF or video that will make your reader laugh.

The point: Create content you love!

Craft content that converts

Quality content doesn’t just attract visitors; it turns them into loyal subscribers. It’s the hook that draws people in and the reason they stay. If you want to boost those email sign-ups, provide content that solves problems, entertains, and informs your target audience.

Think along the lines of comprehensive guides, engaging videos, and infographics packed with data. When your content answers a question or brightens someone’s day, potential customers are more likely to trust you with their email.

Your blog isn’t just a collection of articles; it’s a tool for growing your email list. Use every post as an opportunity to encourage newsletter sign-ups by embedding opt-in forms and offering content previews that leave readers wanting more. And don’t forget about SEO — smart keyword research, on-page optimizations, and quality backlinks can dramatically increase your blog’s visibility, drawing more traffic and potential subscribers.

Focus on creating content that ranks for the problems your target audience is trying to solve. This does not only help your email list flourish but as well as your search engine rankings.

Connect to customers through social media

Harnessing social media’s vast reach can significantly grow your email list. Integrate clear call-to-action (CTA) buttons for email sign-ups on your profiles, posts, and stories. Make it easy and tempting for followers to join your list with sneak peeks of exclusive content they’ll get once they subscribe — whether that’s a blog post, free ebook, or any other type of valuable content.

Launch social media campaigns that could include contests or giveaways, where entering an email to a landing page is a ticket to win. It’s a win-win: your target audience gets value, and you get to grow your email list.

Two heads are better than one, especially when it comes to collecting email addresses. Collaborate with influencers and brands that align with your values to tap into their audiences. Look for partnership opportunities that allow for content exchange or feature mutual promotions.

Cross-promotion isn’t just about sharing each other’s content; it’s about creating unique offers or content that’s irresistible to both audiences. Effective partnerships extend your reach and can introduce your brand to a whole new pool of potential customers, all eager to hit that subscribe button.

Collect email addresses: Engage and retain them

You can get 1,000+ people to sign up for your email list, but if you’re not sending them valuable, creative content, they won’t stick around. And if everyone unsubscribes after all the work you did to get them to sign up, your long-term growth strategy will be stunted.

The number of emails flooding inboxes these days is staggering. According to Radicati, the average person will get 121 emails per day (which is roughly 44,000 emails per year). That’s a lot to read. So how do you ensure your emails are the brightest in the inbox?

Send Emails With Great Copy and Design

So what are the best emails made of? Captivating copy, engaging visuals, and a clear call-to-action, right? Good job! However there’s still more you can do to improve.

Provide actionable, helpful emails that’s free of errors and make sure they’re easy to read! I’m not suggesting that bad design mutes stellar copy, but striking a balance between the two is key when creating a quality email newsletter.

Give readers the exact content they want Segmentation is an excellent way to make your email newsletters more effective and to grow your customer base. According to the DMA, segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue.

Segmentation gives you the ability to break down your list into subsets of subscribers who show interest in specific topics, without annoying subscribers who have no interest in them. When you show people content they want to read, you’ll see email engagement soar.

Here are 3 ways to do it:

  1. When subscribers sign up for your mailing list. Subscribers can receive different emails based off the selections they make on your sign up form. For example, a personal trainer could ask their subscriber to choose their level of strength training: beginner, intermediate, or advanced. Once the subscriber makes a selection, they’ll be segmented into emails that align with their training experience and preferences. The language, workouts, and tips in each message should be tailored to the subscriber’s personal training level.
  2. When subscribers click a link in your email. Send targeted content to subscribers who click on a link within a message. For example, let’s say your primary source of revenue from your food blog is digital meal plans. You can ask your subscriber in your Welcome email if they want gluten-free recipes or not. If the subscriber clicks “gluten-free,” your email marketing provider can automatically deliver an email series just about gluten-free foods to only that tagged segment.
  3. When subscribers open (or don’t open) your email. Tracking who opens your emails can help you optimize your email campaign. You can send your subscribers reminders to check certain messages if they still haven’t opened it. Or you can remind them that they should take advantage of specific offers within a message.

Advanced techniques for email list growth

Aside from collecting email addresses, another method to grow your email list is optimizing your pay-per-click (PPC) strategy. Paid ads are like putting up billboards online to show off your sign-up deals. Use these ads on social media or in search results to grab attention. But always keep track of your spending versus how many new people sign up. This way, you’ll know if your ads are worth the money or if it’s time to try something new.

CRO, or conversion rate optimization, is about getting more visitors to sign up when they visit your site. Test out different sign-up buttons or pages to see which ones people like more. There’s plenty of easy-to-use software that helps you switch things up and track which version is doing better. Small tweaks can make a big difference in getting more subscribers.

Be strategic: Analyze and scale

To really know if your email friend group is growing, just remember to do a quick headcount now and then. How many new subscribers are showing up? Are they just glancing at your emails or actually sitting down to read them? And are they following your friendly advice, hitting the shop button, or checking out your latest story?

If you see more engagement, you’re doing great. But if it feels a little quiet, maybe it’s time to shake things up and find fun new ways to get everyone talking.

Once you start getting the vibe that your email subscribers are really digging what you send them, why not encourage them to get more people into it? Maybe throw in a ‘bring a friend’ deal where they get a treat for inviting someone new. Before you know it, you’ve got a whole crowd enjoying your emails.

Ready, set, and grow your email list!

Remember, your email list is your business’s lifeline and is crucial to your email marketing strategy. We’ve covered knowing your audience, making sign-up a snap, and creating content that draws your target audience in.

Now it’s your turn to put these tips into action and watch your list grow. Got questions or want to share a win? Reach out! Let’s keep the conversation going and your email list growing.

  • Harlan Dave Tantog

    As a Technical Writer at, Harlan creates content that any reader can understand. With his background in technical and customer support, he incorporates his technical knowledge and deconstructs complex ideas and concepts into easy to digest texts. Outside work, you'll see him playing volleyball, jumping off cliffs, and drinking coffee at cafes.

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