20 Ways to Get More Subscribers & Grow Your Email List

20 Ways to Grow Your Email List

You’ve decided that you need an email list, chosen your email marketing provider, put an awesome opt-in form on your website, and now you’re waiting for people to sign up for your email list. You could be waiting a long time…

Growing your email list usually needs only a few small tweaks to your website, or including a link to your opt-in form wherever people find you (for example, your email signature, social media pages, blog).

But here’s the thing – gathering emails needs to be a priority. It can’t be a “we’ll get to it when we have time” sort of thing.

You have to ask for that email at every opportunity. Not in a pushy or obnoxious way. But you do have to be clear and direct about the fact that you want that email address – and that it will be worth the subscriber’s while to give it to you.

You need a well-planned strategy to get your opt-in form or sign-up list in front of as many people as possible. Don’t just focus on your website – consider every point of contact you have with customers and prospects as an opportunity to grow your email list.

The one critical point to keep in mind as you gather emails is this: Never send email to someone who has not explicitly given you permission to do so. Don’t even add them to your email list.

Obviously, your opt-in form should be prominently displayed in multiple locations on your website. Beyond that, here are 20 ways to grow your email list.

1. Offer benefits especially for subscribers – Simply asking someone to join your email list will get you nowhere – they want to know what’s in it for them. So make subscribing worthwhile. Offer benefits such as these and display these benefits prominently on your website or sign-up form:

  • Tips and how-to’s
  • Access to private sales
  • Advance notice of special events
  • Entry into a prize drawing
  • Discounts only available to subscribers
  • A free gift
  • White paper, special report, or e-book

2. Let subscribers know what to expect – Tell them how often they’ll hear from you and what you’ll be sending them (for example, newsletter, special offers, discounts).

3. Make your sign-up link easy to remember – Keep it simple and memorable. Direct subscribers to www.YourCompany.com/subscribe and they’ll be able to easily find your online opt-in page.

4. Include a link in your email signature – Add a message such as “Subscribe to our email newsletter” in every employee’s email signature with a link to your opt-in page.

5. Add a sign-up invitation on all print materials– For example, add an opt-in offer and the landing page URL to:

  • Invoices
  • Receipts
  • Catalogs
  • Product literature / brochures / flyers
  • Bags
  • Product packaging and packing slips
  • Estimates
  • Print ads
  • Point-of-purchase displays
  • Customer surveys and/or feedback forms

6. Use a paper sign-up sheet at all events– If you’ll be at an event where you’ll have access to a large number of people, create a special sign-up form and put it somewhere highly visible. Be sure to make it clear that signing up is optional and spell out exactly what they’re signing up for. For example, you could collect names and emails at:

  • Trade show booths
  • Speaking engagements
  • Workshops
  • Networking events
  • Store sales

7. Gather emails when customers make a purchase - Put a sign-up form by the cash register or front desk. Add a ‘subscribe to our newsletter’ checkbox on your online purchase form.

8. Use a take-away card – Print up cards (postcard size works well) describing your list, the benefits, and how to sign up. Pass them out at every opportunity, such as when visiting customers or at a public event.

9. Include your sign-up URL on your business card – Most business cards are blank on the back. Use the space to show links to important social media accounts and your email list.

10. Promote your list at all public speaking events – Mention it during your presentation and list the URL in handouts.

11. Include a “Send to a Friend” option on your website and in all of your emails – This is especially effective if you offer an incentive to the referrer (for example, they’ll be entered in a special prize drawing).

12. Add a sign-up offer to account transaction pages and emails– When a customer buys a product or service, they may not sign up for your email list. Take the opportunity to remind them about it when you contact them about their account or purchase. For example:

  • Confirmation emails
  • Shipping notices
  • Payment reminders
  • Account registration and/or renewal reminders

13. Use social media– Include information about the benefits of joining your email list (and a link to the sign-up page) on all of your social media profiles. In addition, you can try these approaches:

  • Build a custom Facebook tab with a sign-up box
  • Place links to your opt-in page on your Facebook wall, LinkedIn account, or Twitter profile
  • Announce new email subscriber-only content on social media when you publish it – and include a link to let people sign up
  • Put social sharing links on your website and in every email

14. Ask customers if they’d like to sign up – Make it part of every employee’s job (including yours!) to routinely invite customers to receive your newsletter, get special promotions, or be notified of private sales and events. Whether dealing with inbound calls from customers or prospects, face-to-face interactions with customers in your store, or email conversations, ask for that email address.

15. Sponsor a contest or prize drawing

16. Invite subscriptions in your voicemail – Mention your newsletter and sign-up URL (briefly) on your voicemail. People may not sign up after hearing it, but it will increase awareness.

17. Send postcards to customers and/or a mailing list – You may have a street address for some of your customers, but not an email address. Send them a postcard highlighting the benefits of subscribing to your list and encouraging them to sign up. Be sure to include the URL. You could also buy a mailing list (for example, homeowners within a specific area) and send postcards to them.

18. Promote your newsletter/email list in all publications – If you write for a trade or consumer publication, a blog, or another newsletter, be sure to include a link to your newsletter or email sign-up form in the article (if you can), byline, and/or author bio. A reader who likes your writing will often want to hear more from you.

19. Investigate reciprocal relationships – Are there other businesses that target a similar market segment, perhaps with a different product or service? Suggest to them that they promote your newsletter to their audience, and you do the same with your subscribers. But first, be sure that the other company’s newsletter or email promotions will be of value to your subscribers.

20. Use online classified ads – This can be especially effective if you offer a give-away of some sort with each subscription. Try listing your give-away and newsletter subscription of free sites like Craigslist.

These are just some of the ways you can get in front of potential subscribers and encourage them to sign up for your email list.

What approaches have you tried? What’s worked best for you? Let me know in the comment below!

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  1. Morris May on February 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Hi Monica
    Perhaps making it easier to get to sign up through QR or MS tags might be an idea, and perhaps having the link on a V card. Another idea, if following up after an event, that a less obtrusive email that touches base and invites you to either read a bit more/keep abreast of things (through a blog/newsletter) is likely to get people to sign up. It does mean that when they are contacted, it is not so much as sales drive.

    For the landscape industry, where your vehicles are parked up, then it is not the worst idea in the world to also use this free advert billboard. For retailers… why not try it on staff uniforms.

    Final point, though. In a world where everyone is bombarded with information and requests to contact, the “selling” message must be a good one. Are you using the newsletter/blog to sell to someone, or (like yours) using it to build up trust and provide helpful advice so that they turn to that brand when they next want that service or talk to someone else.

    • Monica Hemingway on February 29, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      Hi Morris,
      Thanks for the suggestions. I can see that I’m going to have to extend the list well beyond 20!! I hadn’t thought about QR codes, but that’s a perfect use for them. And I also realized that the Comment Redirect plug-in that I use on this site (which automatically asks you if you want to subscribe the first time you leave a comment) is a nice way to build a list.
      Keep the suggestions coming!

  2. Sara Johnson on October 8, 2022 at 10:39 am

    Email marketing was still working on this year and it is still a great way to drive sales and conversions if you know how to use it properly. 🙂

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