How to Grow Your Email List – 38 Ways

How to grow your email list
Table of Contents

    Tackling how to grow your email list can seem daunting at first. Unfortunately there isn’t a short cut but there are multiple things you can implement right now to get it started. Below we’ve rounded up 38 creative ways to grow your email list.

    Why You Should Grow Your List

    Stands on soapbox” Email allows you to own your audience. We are continually talking about first-party data and owning your audience because it is the only way to future-proof your access to your audience. You do not own your social media audience – it can disappear overnight. If your audience resides on someone else’s platform, you don’t own it, and they can either deny you access or charge you to access it. 

    The only way to insure you can access your own audience forever is to collect the data yourself. Ask your audience for their email addresses. Ask them for their phone numbers. And build a relationship with them through those channels. 

    If you need a little more convincing, here are a few stats:

    Email marketing statistics
    • 79% of marketers state that email marketing is their top channel for generating revenue
    • 50% of consumers prefer email to other forms of communication
    • The average person checks their email 15X a day
    • $36 the average amount of revenue generated per $1 spent on email marketing

    The DOs and DON’Ts of Growing Your Email List


    Make it ridiculously easy to sign up

    It should be obvious to everyone that you have an email list. People find your content in many ways. Make sure you have a subscribe button on every page and profile you have, so they have the option to stay in touch and learn more about you. 

    Segment your email list

    Depending on your business and what you offer, you may have people signed up for your newsletter who are interested in different things. Segmenting subscribers into groups based on interests will keep them engaged and lead to higher levels of conversions. It also makes them more likely to share your emails with others.

    Clean your email list regularly

    Some people don’t like to clean their list because they don’t want their subscriber number to drop. But having a list of unengaged subscribers doesn’t do you any good. Sending emails costs money, don’t waste it by sending it to people who don’t have any intention of opening your emails. An unengaged list with a lot of bounces or emails being sent to spam can also hurt deliverability. 

    You can clean your list by:

    • Removing emails that bounce frequently
    • Identify people who haven’t opened emails for 6+ months and send them a re-engagement campaign. Remove those who don’t respond or show interest.
    • Use an email list cleaning service.


    Don’t buy a list

    It can be tempting to skip the work of building your list and just buy one. But there are multiple issues with purchased list.

    1. It’s unlikely that the list is full of your target customer
    2. Bought lists are usually full of inactive email addresses and high bounce rates
    3. They usually have spam traps – ie email addresses created to catch people who are not following good list building practices. If you hit a pristine spam trap your sending IP could be blocklisted.

    All of these things will hurt your deliverability and your ability to communicate with people who actually want to hear from your brand. Don’t do it. Yes, it takes time to build a list the right way, but buying a list isn’t a shortcut.

    Wait too long to say hello

    Recency is one of the most important parts of email marketing. We bounce from website to website on the internet and consume large quantities of content on a daily basis. If you wait too long to send someone an email after they subscribe to your list, they probably won’t remember you. Say hello and introduce yourself right away. 

    Don’t worry about people unsubscribing

    This goes along with keeping your list clean. Unsubscribes are really just unengaged people removing themselves from their list. A typical unsubscribe rate is 0.5% or below, if you’re above that you might want to take a look at how valuable your content is and the frequency you send emails at. 

    38 Creative Ways to Grow Your Email List

    How to grow your email list

    How to Grow Your Email List with Your Website

    1. Embedded Forms

    Place embedded email forms in the header and/or footer of your website. These are the first places people look when searching for a signup form. Other places on your website where you can embed forms are within and at the bottom of blog posts. You should also make sure there is an embedded form on your about page. People buy from people. 

    2. Popups

    Popups are a great way to gain more subscribers. You can offer a discount, free shipping, or simply a way to keep in touch. Popups can be set based on the amount of the page scrolled, the time spent on the website, when viewing certain pages, or shown to people preparing to exit your website. 

    3. RAEK

    RAEK builds first party data contact profiles on your website visitors. Most of the profiles include an email address which can added to your email list. RAEK customers grow their email lists at a faster rate.

    4. Quizzes

    Quizzes not only point your customers to the right products for them, but they often require an email address for results, allowing you to supercharge your list growth.  While they can take some time to set up the ROI is worth the investment.

    5. Gamification

    Gamification is a hot topic in the marketing world right now because it works! We’ve all seen the discount wheel spin sign up forms. Quizzes and tests also fall into this category. People love to play games. Some email marketers say the metrics around wheel spins are not good, so like everything else in marketing, test it and pivot to something else if needed. 

    6. Opt-in at checkout

    Include a checkbox or radio button during the checkout process asking customers if they would like to receive email updates from you. Customers are usually excited about their purchase and all in on learning more about your brand. 

    7. Include social proof wherever you ask for a sign-up

    Social proof sells. It also gets people to give you their email address, if it’s visible when they’re shown the sign-up form or the form is right after a few good reviews. If you’re selling D2C, include product reviews. If B2b, you can include product reviews, reviews of a free resource you offer, or reviews about how valuable your newsletter is. 

    8. Start a loyalty/rewards program

    Some of the most opened emails and text messages are reward updates messages from loyalty programs. Loyalty programs are a way to reward your customers, increase brand loyalty, and gamify the shopping experience. Offer a set number of points for those that subscribe to your newsletter. This gives you their email address but also a great reason to come back to your website – to spend those points1

    How To Grow Your Email List through Email

    9. Write good content

    We always tell people to send emails at the rate they can provide value. If you focus on value, your list will grow. People will tell their friends, colleagues, and maybe even their neighbor about your newsletter and brand. Word of mouth is the best kind of marketing. Provide value — get more subscribers

    10. Encourage people to share

    Sometimes all you have to do is ask people to share. Put a line in your email saying, “if you found this valuable, share it with a friend”. Or have a forward to a friend button right in the body of your email.

    11. Create a rewards program

    If you think your subscribers need a bit more motivation to share, offer a rewards program for sharing. Offer progressive rewards such as free downloads, free product, and swag that subscribers can earn by referring others. 

    12. Wake up an old list with an opt-in campaign

    An old list might still ave people on it interested in your brand. Send an optin campaign to a stale list and see if there are people on there who would like to be added to your email list. You may not get a ton of subscribers, but you may be pleasantly surprised. 

    13. Add opt in links in your employees email signatures

    Your employees exchange emails with a ton of people each week. People they likely have built a relationship with already and who trust them.  This makes their email signature valuable real estate for a newsletter subscription link.

    14. Tease bonus content for people who share your newsletter

    Another popular way to get people to share is to tease high value newsletter content sections that can only be viewed by people who have referred subscribers. FOMO drives people to share your newsletter, no one wants to be left out. 

    How to Grow Your Email List with Content

    15. Create a blog people can subscribe to

    Blogs with killer content not only bring people to your site, but it keeps them coming back again and again. Embed sign up forms right into your blog posts and don’t forget to put one at the bottom. 

    16. Gated content (case study, e-book, resources) on landing pages

    This is one of the best ways to build your list. Whether you are D2C or B2B you can offer a free resource to people f they subscribe to your newsletter. It works because the value exchange is high. An e-book for an email? Sign me up! 

    17. Tease bonus content you must sign up to read.

    Publishers are doing this more and more, but you can too! If you have high value articles or blog posts on your website, give readers a small teaser and then ask them to login or subscribe to read the rest of the article. 

    18. Create a free tool you must sign up to use (calculator, etc…)

    Do you have a handy, free industry related calculator, name generator, or spreadsheet on your website? Ask people to leave their email address to use it. Before you gate your tool, test the value by sending it out to current subscribers and asking for feedback. 

    19. Link to other gated content across your website (within blogs, pillar content, etc…).

    Link to gated content all over your website. If you have a resource performing well, link to it in blog posts, have a slider that slides out at the bottom of your home page, post about it on social media, run paid ads, drive as much traffic as you can to the resource. 

    20. Guest blog for other websites and include a call to action in your bio

    Guest blogging gives you access to new audiences. If allowed, include a link to your newsletter signup form or a gated resource in your bio. 

    21. Social share buttons at bottom of content

    Optimize your blog posts for sharing and subsequently reaching new audiences by including social share buttons at the bottom of all posts. The easier you make it for people to share your content, the more they will. 

    How to Grow your Email List with Social Media

    22. Add a call to action sign up button

    Social Media is the home of many brands audiences, which as stated above is dangerous because you don’t actually own your audience. You don’t own your audience until they’re on your email list. Most social platforms have the ability to change the call-to-action button to say sign up or offer a one click newsletter subscription. 

    23. Share newsletter previews on your feed

    If you share the entire newsletter on your social feeds, people likely won’t sign up to receive it in their inbox. Instead, share a small teaser of content with a call to action and link to subscribe. 

    24. Promote content that requires an email to access

    Gated content is a great way to grow your list. Consistently share free gated resources on your social channels to drive traffic and email sign-ups. 

    25. Add a call to action in your bio

    Your social media bios are prime real estate for calls to action. If you’re trying to grow your list, ask people to sign up in your bio or tell them about a free gated resource. 

    26. Post your gated content to Pinterest

    Pinterest is a great place to post content and free resources. Make sure pages you are driving people to are either gated and require an email to view, or have a highly visible sign up form. 

    27. Promote your newsletter on your social cover photos

    If your newsletter is your main product, use your social media covers like a billboard and tell people about it! If people follow you on social media, they likely will want to hear from you in their inbox as well. 

    28. Add an end screen to your YouTube videos

    Someone watched an entire video you posted on YouTube, ask them if they want to stay in touch by sign up for your newsletter on the end screen. Unfamiliar with end screens and how to set them up? Here are directions straight from the source.

    29. Include a link to your email sign up form in your video descriptions

    Mention your newsletter in your YouTube videos and place the sign-up link in the video description. 

    30. Use the swipe up feature on Instagram and Facebook stories 

    If you have 10K followers on Instagram, you have access to the swipe up link in stories. Use it to promote your newsletter every so often. Tease people with a big announcement going out to subscribers, exclusive discounts, or early access to products. 

    How to Grow Your Email List with Others

    31. Host a jointly promoted giveaway requiring sign up as an entry

    Hosting joint giveaways with brands who have similar audiences is a great way to get in front of new people and grow your email list. Require an email address for entry. Word to the wise here, get in touch with people right away. If you wait until the end of the giveaway, you risk people not remembering who you are and unsubscribing right away. 

    32. Promote your newsletter in other people’s newsletters

    If you find a newsletter with a similar audience to yours, you can usually pay to promote your newsletter in theirs. Or better yet, trade and cross promote each other’s newsletters!

    33. Be a guest on a podcast and mention your newsletter there. 

    The great thing about podcasts is they live on forever. If you’re a guest, mention your newsletter and people will hear about it each time someone listens to the episode. 

    How to Grow Your Email List in Person

    34. Ask for an email at checkout

    If you have a brick and mortar store, ask people if they would like to be added to your email list at checkout.

    35. Gather emails for events

    Ask event attendees if they would like to be added to your email list and have a sign-up form. 

    36. Collect emails at trade shows and conventions

    While we wouldn’t recommend adding everyone who gives you their card to your email list, you can ask if they would like to be added and have a separate place to keep the cards for people who would like to subscribe. 

    37. QR codes on your business cards

    The RAEK team has QR codes on our business cards. It’s an easy way to drive traffic to your sign-up form.

    38. QR codes on your trade show displays

    You can also add QR codes to your trade show displays. You no longer need a separate app to scan QR codes. Your phone camera functions as one.

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    The RAEK Team

    RAEK was built by a group of digital marketers on a mission to help small businesses grow and easily utilize their first-party customer data.