How to Build And Grow An Email List


Using email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to keep in touch with customers in a way they’ll accept. While sending out printed product brochures or plastering locations with flyers is hugely expensive for companies to maintain, creating a single email and sending it to as many as 10,000 valuable recipients is relatively easy and extremely inexpensive to do. Email marketing has been proven time and again over the last decade(s) to be the advertising technique with high and consistent return on investment.

Let’s look at how to grow your email list and help it prosper over time for your startup or small business. 

Upgrade Your Content 

Use Google Analytics to check which pages are getting the most traffic. To do so, open your Google Analytics and access the left-side navigation. Look up ‘Behavior’, then ‘Site Content’ and select ‘All Pages’ to view every page that’s been logged for traffic. 

The pages are shown in the first column with their URL and the very next column is the number of page views. The ‘Page Views’ column shows both the number of views in the period and whether it’s up or down on a percentage basis. 

Now look at what you can do to offer something extra to encourage signups. This could be a spreadsheet that helps readers implement the suggestions in the article, a checklist to work from to improve efficiency, a downloadable sheet filled with suggestions or something else. Because the bonus is highly related to the article they’ve just read, the opt-in rate is going to be considerably higher; usually a 2-3X increase overall. 

Don’t Forget Physical Sign-ups 

You’d be amazed how when companies move over to email newsletters, they forget that not everyone is connected at all times. Opting in from a smartphone on-the-move isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Just accessing the opt-in email box and tapping in the correct email address without typos isn’t always a huge success! For this reason, sometimes when with the (prospective) customer, go old school and your analytics will thank you

Use a sign-up sheet to have the person opt-in and sign their name to receiving a digital newsletter from your business. Make it clear what they are signing up for and the rough delivery frequency that they’ll receive the email. Showing off some bullet points of the types of topics or items covered in a typical email from your company is also a good idea to convince them of its worth. 

Once signed up with good old pen and paper, have someone responsible for adding them into the system manually and have the customer confirm the subscription with their double opt-in to confirm it. This can be done via their smartphone when the manual opt-in triggers a message from the mailing list provider to their inbox. 

Make Your Newsletter Recommendable 

Create a situation not only where an existing newsletter subscriber enjoys your email but also feels it’s worth passing on to business colleagues or friends. When an email is directionless or lacks sufficient information to make people question why it was sent in the first place, this isn’t a great use of their time. Ensure every email is packed with useful information that reinforces their original decision to subscribe and actively encourage them to share it freely. 

Sometimes you need help to create emails that will have some design flair and readable content that’s enjoyable to take digest. Finding a good email marketing partner to help get emails out to everyone who wants one without messing up delivery is important too. Don’t skimp on paying for a quality, reputable mailing list provider by trying to save a few dollars. That mailing list they store on your behalf is marketing gold. 

Using Email Conversations To Silently Promote 

Employees regularly have contact with potential customers, current ones, suppliers, industry contacts, and more over email. It’s a good idea to have the email signatures of the company’s staff amended to add a link to the email newsletter to allow contacts to opt-in. They’re already using email to stay in touch with at least one employee in the company, so they’re quite likely to find it of interest. 

Consider creating a separate landing page for people who arrive on the site through employee email. Highlight that they already are in touch with the company over email, so it’s logical to let the company keep in touch through their newsletter to provide all the latest news and articles. 

About Us+ 

When visitors are interested enough in the website or business to look up the About Us page, it’s a good bet that they’d be receptive to receiving the company email newsletter too. Including some historical information about the business gets the visitor inside the mind of the founder and if they like what they read, this encourages them to want more. This is where the necessary email opt-in function is a safe, secure, and useful way to make that extra connection that they’re looking for. 

After Completing A Purchase 

While you do not want to interrupt the shopping process to get someone to subscribe, it’s certainly a great idea to suggest a newsletter opt-in from someone who just became a buyer. At that point, they’ve already given their email address to receive a confirmation of their order with the business, so it’s a natural to extend that to providing a regular newsletter too. 

Shopping carts are usually more limited with navigational elements to reduce the instance of visitors quitting the cart before the purchase is complete. This presents an opportunity to capture their interest before they reach a page that opens navigation back up again. 

Request Opt-in With Digital Purchase Receipts 

When an email is sent out with confirmation of a purchase, consider adding a section in the email to request an opt-in to the mailing list. Even if they missed that section on the final checkout order page, they’re less likely to not see it in the email they were expecting to receive. Because the buyer wants to confirm that the order was successfully received, they’ll be reading this email more thoroughly and perhaps it may trigger a response. 

Use Trigger Subscription Boxes 

Rather than using opt-in boxes that pop up when the visitor first arrives, let them get used to the site first. You can set popup subscription boxes to appear when they’ve scrolled down to the bottom of the page, after they’ve been on the site for several minutes, or created by another trigger instead. If you don’t know how to navigate popups, look into tools like OptinMonster which are designed to help grow your email list. 

The trick here is that you’re trying to tempt visitors when they’ve already got a reasonable idea about the topics that the site covers, and they can readily answer what’s in it for them. Doing so gets them over the hump of not feeling that they know the site well enough yet to consider that a newsletter has any value to them. 

Browser Notification Bar 

A notification bar that appears at the top of the page can prompt the visitor about a special sale, flash notification, an alert, or even an email subscription offer. Using a WordPress plugin like the Hello Bar allows sites to create a different kind of notification that works across all devices sizes unlike an opt-in in a sidebar that disappears to the bottom of the page for most mobile users. 

Some of the browser notification plugins are free to use whereas others work on a subscription fee. So, building your email list this way doesn’t have to add to the company’s marketing expenses. 

Building an email list takes time. It’s not an overnight or even a one-month process to reach 10,000 subscribers who will be interested in your products or services. However, when promoting the business in the right way, a newsletter can be invaluable in providing a different method to engage with customers, increase brand awareness, and boosts sales as the subscriber numbers grow. And you'll love the high ROI!


I hope you enjoyed this article about how to build and grow an effective email marketing list.

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